Han­nah Mon­ta­narama

Pre­teen girls will love this clean and en­joy­able 3-D con­cert film, writes Michael Dwyer

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Reviews -

HAN­NAH MON­TANA & MI­LEY CYRUS: BEST OF BOTH WORLDS CON­CERT TOUR IN 3-D Di­rected by Bruce Hen­dricks. Star­ring Mi­ley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers, Kenny Ortega, Billy Ray Cyrus Gen cert, lim re­lease, 73 min

IF YOU are over 12 and don’t have a pre­teen daugh­ter, then you’re prob­a­bly un­aware of the phe­nom­e­non that is Mi­ley Cyrus and her trin­ity of per­sonae. On the Dis­ney chan­nel show Han­nah Mon­tana, Cyrus plays high school stu­dent Mi­ley Ste­wart, who leads a se­cret dou­ble life as in­ter­na­tional pop star Han­nah Mon­tana. The real Mi­ley is 15 and the daugh­ter of Billy Ray Cyrus, whose hit sin­gle Achy Breaky Heart was the an­them of the line danc­ing era.

Fol­low­ing in a long line of Dis­ney­pack­aged teen singers, from Hay­ley Mills to Brit­ney Spears, Mi­ley has sold more records than her fa­ther ever did, and her con­cert film has sur­passed all ex­pec­ta­tions, tak­ing more than $63 mil­lion in its first month on US re­lease, play­ing only at venues equipped for 3D pre­sen­ta­tion.

At a St Louis au­di­to­rium, Mi­ley comes on stage in her Han­nah Mon­tana role, which seems to in­volve lit­tle more than wear­ing a long blonde wig, and belts out pop-rock lite, ac­com­pa­nied by two back­ing singers, a four-piece band and eight pre­cisely chore­ographed dancers. “I’m just an or­di­nary girl in an ex­tra­or­di­nary world,” she trills to an adu­la­tory au­di­ence com­posed al­most en­tirely of tween girls, with hardly a boy in sight.

Af­ter an­other dis­play of mod­esty, in which she sings No­body’s Per­fect, the guest artistes come on. The Jonas brothers are a hy­per­ac­tive boy­band trio who raise the en­ergy lev­els when they join Han­nah for a duet. They per­form two more songs, one of them Busted’s Year 3000, while the star is de-wigged back­stage. She re­turns as Mi­ley to sing her own com­po­si­tions, cul­mi­nat­ing in Best of Both Worlds, af­ter which her con­cert tour is named. Cyrus and the Jonas brothers ex­ude the joy of per­for­mance when on stage, and this proves in­fec­tious for her fans, who re­spond with ear-pierc­ing screams.

The movie point­lessly in­ter­rupts the con­cert footage, cut­ting away to ir­rel­e­vant ma­te­rial of the show in re­hearsal, Mi­ley in self-con­scious con­ver­sa­tions with her par­ents and crew, and a mildly amus­ing con­test wherein dads don stilet­tos in a run­ning race to win con­cert tick­ets.

The other draw­back is the fre­netic edit­ing of the song-and­dance num­bers, which ren­ders the chore­og­ra­phy re­dun­dant when it is chopped up like this. MTV has a lot to an­swer for. And, un­like U2 3D, which was ad­mirably re­strained in its use of 3D gim­mickry, Mi­ley’s movie piles it on. Han­nah shoves her mic out so far that it’s al­most in your mouth. A gui­tarist flicks a plec­trum in your eye. The most in­ven­tive use of the for­mat comes when an over­head cam­era cap­tures the drum­mer aiming one of his sticks in the air, catch­ing it when it lands and car­ry­ing on play­ing.

Go­ing through more cos­tume changes than Diana Ross, Mi­ley throws her­self into her act and knows ex­actly how to en­gage her young ad­mir­ers through­out. As she showed when she was an Os­car pre­sen­ter last month, she oozes con­fi­dence, and clearly en­joys her­self in a con­cert that is good­na­tured, in­no­cent fun. As tween role mod­els go, she’s much closer to Hay­ley than to Brit­ney.

Dou­ble act: Han­nah Mon­tana, al­ter-ego of Mily Cyrus

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