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A view on Blu-ray and DVD video by Leonard Norwitz

Jonas Brothers The 3D Concert Experience (Deluxe Extended Movie in 3D) [Blu-ray]

 

(Bruce Hendricks, 2009)

 

 

 

 

 

Review by Leonard Norwitz

 

Studio:

Theatrical: Jonas Brothers

Blu-ray: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

 

Disc:

Region: A

Runtime: 89 min.

Chapters: 11

Size: 50 GB

Case: Expanded Blu-ray case w/ slipcover

Release date: June 30, 2009

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: AVC

 

Audio:

English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

 

Subtitles:

English SDH, French & Spanish

 

Extras:

• Up Close & Personal – in HD (15:05)

• 2 Bonus Songs – in HD (7:55)

• 3D glasses

• DVD of the extended feature film

• Digital Copy

• B-Disney Live

 

 

The Film: 3
With three High School Musicals, Camp Rock, and the strangely awesome Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana Best of Both Worlds Concert under my belt, I’m feeling, probably foolishly, that I have the creds to make pronouncements about the new Jonas Brothers Concert Experience – at least to an audience of fellow Beavers. I imagine that Disney must have been thinking along similar lines when they decided to package the Jonas boys from mere sideshow to something akin to The Beatles.

Indeed the opening of the movie, as we see the brothers being aroused from sugarplum sleep by their mountainman handler and bodyguard, Rob Feggans, thence to be swarmed over by a flood of teenage girls as their limo is stuck in traffic, we who know better can’t help but be reminded of A Hard Day’s Night – and it’s a sorry recollection let me tell you – for there is nothing about Kevin, Joe and Nick that remotely suggests the mopheads from Liverpool, and the mere suggestion is so cowardly as to make one doubt anything about the rest of the movie. I would ask myself: Are those girls really screaming; are these guys really singing, or is this all dubbed? Perhaps the entire concert is staged for the movie? It’s not their fault. I’m sure the girls in the audience are just going out of their minds with delight and the Jonases are playing and singing - something. But comparing the Jonas Brothers to the Beatles or even the phenomenon the Beatles engendered in their audiences should be considered as fraud – maybe even a violation of copyright.

So who are these guys? The brothers are: Kevin (21), he’s the one with serious sideburns; Joe (19), the lead singer, who thinks he’s Mick Jagger on stage (another revolting bit of marketing); and Nick (16) the most talented of the trio, but who might not have gotten anywhere on his own if someone on high didn’t get the bright idea of using the three of them. They’re all moderately talented, if limited and harmless. They radiate a peculiar Mousketeerian cheeriness and godly cleanliness that makes their lyrics and their music agreeable to the point of meaninglessness. They have nothing to say, and they it say it with conviction. It must be reassuring to know who you are at that age. I didn’t.

There are brief guest appearances by Demi Lovato (a Miley Cyrus clone) and Taylor Swift (who just might have more talent than the other four combined). Nicky has a drum solo. There are breaks backstage and in the hotel, where – and I kid you not about this - two of the boys are shown watching The Beatles as they appeared on Ed Sullivan. I shall say no more. Say no more.

 


 

Image: 8/9
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale. The second number places this image along the full range of DVDs, including SD 480i.

The 2-D Picture: Having reviewed Disney's Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana Best of Both Worlds Concert on Blu-ray last year, and noting that the producer was the same here, I expected, and was not surprised to see that the technical values are not dissimilar, though the BOBWC wins on points. And while the backstage and other docufootage was variable (from fair to pretty good), the concert material was always of high caliber. The transfer appeared not to enhance or alter the original photography, permitting color changes and pyrotechnic explosions as they must have appeared to the audience. Flesh tones looked natural when they were not recast by the lighting director. I found no glaring artifactual disturbances, though The Force had experienced a jolt by way of Liverpool not unlike the destruction of Alderaan.

The 3-D Picture: The Blu-ray box includes four pair of nasty 3D glasses that eventually take their toll on the ears – but then they weren't designed for my ears. They have to be taken off anyhow for the non-concert segments of the movie, which made for a needed respite. Without getting deeply into the technicals here, what we respond to is the not inconsiderable falloff in light (I'll admit I've seen much worse) and color values, even reducing the picture to shades of blue and purple. That said, I found the experience to be clever and mildly engaging. Should be a kick in the pants for the younger set.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music: 7/4
Even though the product of the same production team as for the Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana Best of Both Worlds Concert video, the audio is not very similar, especially as concerns the voices. In Miley’s BOBWC, the voices were always huge and unfocused, as they would in a live and amplified concert. But here the voices are smaller and more focused. You might think that this is a good thing, but there is something – I can’t quite put my finger on it – that makes for a peculiar disconnect. At times the sync isn’t precise, but even when it seems to be correct, the voices seem disembodied – not all the time, but now and then. As for the music, I really don't hear what all the fuss is about. The Jonas Brothers are cute and differentiated, but utterly sexless, so I’m guessing this makes them ideal for tweeny girls to project their conscious and unconscious libidinous fantasies on. It all seems very clean and safe, and boring. As does their music.

 

 

 

Operations: 7
Walt Disney Studios Blu-rays continue their chapter-skipable previews and promos before the loading of the feature film begins (or you can get right to the menu via the TOP MENU). The menu is laid out so that even the dullest of us can use them without assistance. Not very pretty, though. Chapter stops are coincident with the intros for the various songs, which can only be a good thing.

 

Extras: 3
"The 3D Concert Experience" Blu-ray disc comes with four pairs of 3-D glasses to enhance opportunities for squeals and giggles. The Extra Features per se include a 15-minute casual segment that means to give the impression of being unscripted as the camera follows the Jonas boys backstage and in rehearsal. There are also two bonus songs ("Love Bug" & "Shelf"), one from the concert, one more like a music video, both in HD-video, but neither, for reasons passing understanding, in uncompressed audio – and the difference isn’t kind to them, let me tell you.

 

 

Bottom line: 5/2
For its intended audience, and especially on Blu-ray video, the JB3DCE movie is an optional purchase. For the rest of us, the Jonas Brothers, while an amiable enough trio of fellows, do not rise to the stuff of interest sufficient to spend an hour or so with, much less purchase the disc. If you've seen Miley's Concert disc on Blu-ray, you've seen the Jonases at their best.

 

Leonard Norwitz
June 30, 2009

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

About the Reviewer: I first noticed that some movies were actually "films" back around 1960 when I saw Seven Samurai (in the then popular truncated version), La Strada and The Third Man for the first time. American classics were a later and happy discovery.

My earliest teacher in Aesthetics was Alexander Sesonske, who encouraged the comparison of unlike objects. He opened my mind to the study of art in a broader sense, rather than of technique or the gratification of instantaneous events. My take on video, or audio for that matter – about which I feel more competent – is not particularly technical. Rather it is aesthetic, perceptual, psychological and strongly influenced by temporal considerations in much the same way as music. I hope you will find my musings entertaining and informative, fun, interactive and very much a work in progress.


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