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HANNAH MONTANA/MILEY CYRUS
BEST OF BOTH WORLDS CONCERT
Blu-ray Edition

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars:  Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers, Billy Ray Cyrus
Director:  Bruce Hendricks
Audio:  DTS HD 7.1, PCM 2.0
Video:  Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio:  Walt Disney
Features:  See Review
Length:  82 Minutes
Release Date:  August 19, 2008

“I’m a lucky girl whose dreams came true,

But underneath it all, I’m just like you.”

Film ***1/2

It was really no surprise considering the mega-hit status of Hannah Montana on The Disney Channel and the best-selling status of two CDs (and a third recently gone to number one) that the good folks at Disney would find a way to take young Miley Cyrus on the road in a tour that seemed like a love letter to her millions of fans.

What might be surprising is how well the young star handled it all.  Miley isn’t old enough to drive, but that doesn’t mean she can’t command a stage and have her legions of followers eating out of her hand.  Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert showcases her talent as a live performer.  No comedy, no supporting cast, just her in the role she made famous as well as on her own without the glitz and blonde hair.

The movie was a 3D event, and I’m happy to say, with this Blu-ray release, you can experience it in the comfort of your own home.  You can opt for a two dimensional presentation, but the disc includes four pairs of glasses, and believe me when I say, high definition plus 3D is almost unfair.

I’m a fan.  I’ve never been ashamed to admit it.  I watch the show on cable, and I own her first two discs.  Miley’s fresh face and pop chops are charming, and seeing her live on stage just goes to prove that she’s more than just some fabricated offering.

All the Hannah Montana hits are here, and after a brief interlude with The Jonas Brothers, Miley returns as Miley to offer a few of her own songs, many of which she wrote or co-wrote.  The most intimate moment is her at the foot of the stage with her guitar playing “I Miss You”, a tune she penned for her late grandfather.

But most of the show is full-on spectacle, complete with a great band, backing singers, and a troupe of dancers.  In fact, when Miley sings “I Got Nerve”, she means it…the number includes a stunt that actually had her dropping to the stage in a previous concert, but danged if she didn’t get right back up and do it again without missing a beat.

In concert mode, the film is at it’s best.  There are breaks in the music to show Miley behind the scenes, rehearsing, sharing time with her family, and even practicing a number with her dad Billy Ray.  These aren’t in 3D, and for my taste, I don’t tend to enjoy backstage footage intermingled with a live show.  It kind of takes a bit of the magic away.

That’s a small complaint.  Many of my favorite Hannah songs are here, from “We Got the Party” with The Jonas Brothers to “Nobody’s Perfect”, to the Miley tunes I like the most, including “Girls’ Night Out” and “See You Again”.  The show climaxes the only way it could, with the rabid audience singing along to the Hannah theme song, “Best of Both Worlds”.  Thanks to the magic of video screens, it seems as though Miley and Hannah are playing it as a duet!

Miley is extremely engaging as a performer, working the crowd like a seasoned pro and smiling like she’s having the time of her life.  Her voice may not be the equal of a handful of other pop sensations, but she’s fearless with it, and reciprocates the love her fans have for her.

She always struck me as grounded and able to handle the tidal wave of fame and adulation aimed at her, while keeping her head above the waters.  I only hope a few of her recent “controversies” aren’t a sign that I’m wrong; it would be a shame to lose this fresh, funny gem to the trash heap of child stars gone bad.

Still, the Best of Both Worlds concert may serve as a landmark of a young star at the peak of her power.  There will probably be a lot more to come from Miley, but with this movie, we’ll always remember her when she was young, hungry, and boldly at the top of her game.

Video ****

Did I mention how cool 3D and hi-def are together?  This Blu-ray disc makes you feel like you have all access seating!  Sure, they couldn’t resist a cheap effect here and there, like a guitar pick or a drumstick being thrown at you, but come on…when Miley reaches out a hand, you feel like you could high-five her.  That’s pretty cool.  The colors are popping, and the detail level on both the stage and in the audience is remarkable.  How could you not have fun with this?

Audio ****

With 8 channels of uncompressed audio, your home theatre will become a stage.  The bass is booming, and the roar of the crowd makes it feel like a real event.  The music offers plenty of dynamic range, and the mix is handled well throughout.

Features **

There is a short backstage documentary with Miley and company, a couple of additional songs, and the ability to sing along with the movie.

Summary:

Miley Cyrus actually came here on her grand tour, but her show sold out faster than the Dixie Chicks had to cancel theirs.  I didn’t get to experience her first hand, but this Blu-ray offering with its 3D capabilities has to be the next best thing.  Seeing a fun live show while in your sleeper pants munching popcorn is the best of both worlds indeed!

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