Hannah Montana review
review by Steven Neish
Hannah Montana: The Movie is a cheap cash-in on a terminally ill TV show; it's in an existential crisis. Yet it's this very thing that gives the movie a pleasing added depth.
It is easy to dismiss Hannah Montana: The Movie. The film is, after all, just a cheap cash-in on a terminally ill TV show before its star starts making too-sexy-for-Disney music videos and deeming herself above the series that first shot her to super-stardom. Incredibly, however, it is this harsh truth that gives the movie added depth. Hannah Montana: The Movie, you see, is an existential crisis.
Hannah Montana, for those of you that have been quite at home under your rocks, is an alias, an alias for Miley Stewart which is in turn an alias for Miley Cyrus. Still with me? Having been brainwashed by the spoils of fame, Stewart is whisked off to Crowley Corners, Tennessee by her father in a last ditch attempt to teach his offspring to appreciate the finer things in life. Namely, family. While she resists at first, Miley soon comes to realise the error of her ways and contemplates giving up her secret identity for good after falling for her own resident cowboy, Travis (Lukas Till). Before she can move back in with her redneck relatives, Stewart must first deal with a roving reporter out for answers while throwing an improbable number or fundraising concerts.
Oozing Disney's warped perception of reality, Hannah Montana: The Movie presents an over-simplified view of life; where villains are always British and wigs are sufficient to hide secret identities. However, while this bubble-gum universe is instinctively derided, it is no less absurd than those filled with radioactive spiders or Keith Lemon. You see, after Montana is done tussling with Tyra Banks over a shoe and ruining her best friendís birthday by arriving as the not-so-reluctant superstar, director Peter Chelsom successfully brings some serendipity to proceedings as the characters threaten to break out of their two dimensional, Disney-stencilled blueprints.
While Miley and real-life father Billy Ray Cyrus concern themselves with bringing hip-hop to Hicksvilleís hoedown, the supporting cast busy themselves with bringing some real credence to Crowley Corners. Yes, they ham it up a notch but nobody is expecting Shakespeare from a movie featuring the bumper-sticker philosophy: "Life's a climb, but the view's great". What Hannah Montana: The Movie is, however, is a well-made slice of children's entertainment that champions the so-bad-it's-good phenomenon to greatness.
Hannah Montana: The Movie is an earnest, heartfelt coming-of-age tale that balances its inherent, and rampant, stupidity with just enough pathos to keep faces from cringing beyond recognition. Clearly designed to let fans down gently with a thinly veiled forewarning that Miley Cyrus has better things to do than pretend to be a singer, the movie is such an incestuous and confused amalgam of illusionary depth that Chelsome might have tapped greatness and you would never even know.
Itís cheesy, itís ludicrous and itís mercilessly manufactured, but Hannah Montana: The Movie has its heart in the right place, a winning sense of humour and one of the most bop-inducing soundtracks of 2009. An average offering that can be championed to greatness, all it takes it an open mind, a happy disposition and an affinity for good old fashioned American cheese.