Skip to main content

Review: Hannah Montana: The Movie and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

By August 5, 2009September 9th, 2010No Comments

I dis­covered a lovely Hollywood stu­dio phrase the oth­er day: exe­cu­tion depend­ent. It means a script that won’t make money unless good people are involved. This week’s films are the oppos­ite: films that sell regard­less of whichever tal­ent­less hack is in charge; two films that will con­tin­ue to make money for the machine for months, if not years, after this review is decom­pos­ing in some aban­doned corner of the Internet.

Hannah Montana: The Movie posterFirst up, the phe­nomen­on that is Hannah Montana. For an etern­ity (or three years depend­ing on your point of view) Miley Cyrus has been chew­ing up the tv screen as the pop sing­er lead­ing a double-life on the Disney Channel. After the suc­cess of High School Musical on the big screen (and a digit­al 3D con­cert of her own that screened in Wellington last year), Miley and Hannah have hit the big time and, even though it took me a while to come around, I can sort of see the appeal.

For those com­ing to this par­tic­u­lar party late the premise is this: Miley Cyrus plays a kid called Miley who dreams of being a pop star but her dad (Achy Breaky Heart’s Billy Ray Cyrus) won’t let her unless she pre­tends to be someone else and keeps her home life as nor­mal as pos­sible. As the film begins, Miley has let her Hannah char­ac­ter go to her head – to the extent that she would prefer the New York Music Awards to her grandmother’s birth­day in Tennessee – so Billy Ray diverts the private jet to sleepy little Crowley Corners to try and bring her to her senses. Meanwhile, a dast­ardly tabloid hack (Peter Gunn) is sniff­ing out the truth and a developer (Barry Bostwick) wants to turn Crowley Corners into a giant shop­ping mall.

Of course, this isn’t a very good film. It was nev­er going to be. And I wish that kids today were being giv­en bet­ter child­hood movie memor­ies than this. But – and this is a fair-minded “but” – Tennessee looks lovely and, while Hannah Montana (the per­former) is insuf­fer­able, Miley Cyrus has some charm and (when she goes coun­try) can actu­ally sell a song. I won­der what it does for her self-esteem to know that Disney digit­ally straight­ens her teeth for the movie posters.

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs posterIce Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is ostens­ibly anoth­er licence to print money but this third vis­it to the well might prove one too many. All the usu­al char­ac­ters are back and they are facing the prob­lems of middle-age. Denis Leary’s sabre-tooth tiger Diego’s legs have gone, Ray Romano’s mam­moth Manny is con­cerned by impend­ing fath­er­hood and John Leguizamo’s sloth Sid feels left out. In the spir­it of Twitter, I’m temp­ted to try a one word review: laboured.

Printed in Wellington’s Capital Times on Wednesday 8 July, 2009.

Notes on screen­ing con­di­tions: I can say this here (but would­n’t dream of sub­mit­ting it to the paper) but not only did I shed a little tear at a couple of points dur­ing the Hannah Montana movie but I went home and bought Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb” single on iTunes. Yes, Walt Disney is $1.79 rich­er and I have been indoc­trin­ated. Ice Age was at Readings in the digit­al Cinema 5. As always, the digit­al looked great but the use of 3D was only OK.