One doubts that a critical opinion will move the commercial needle too much with regards to a movie like Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, but it’s always worth checking in on the tweens every once in a while, lest they start getting too uppity, and planning their Logan’s Run-type takeover of society more out in the open, in encoded entertainment.
Starring Sonny With a Chance‘s Demi Lovato and the Jonas brothers, this movie returns to the same-named summer music camp where little Mitchie (Lovato) previously came into her own. There, she meets up with friends she made the previous summer. At the same time, music stars Shane, Nate and Jason (Joe, Nick and Kevin Jonas, respectively) are excited to get off the road. Shane, who previously worked at Camp Rock, reconnects with Mitchie. Things are nice. What the campers don’t expect is the opening of a slick, new musical camp across the lake, Camp Star. Led by heady up-and-comers Luke (Matthew Finley) and Dana (Chloe Bridges), these rivals threaten the future of Camp Rock’s existence. Naturally, the only way to solve the differences between the two camps is with a
knife fight to the death live musical competition where fans vote for the best camp.
Like all of Disney’s tween-targeted titles, Camp Rock 2 offers up an explosion of layered, color fashion, and lots of cheery noise; director Paul Hoen may not know of subtlety, but he and director of photography David Makin pack the movie’s frames with all sorts of peppiness. What’s kind of dispiriting about Camp Rock 2 is how pat talk of “following one’s dreams” is dragged out and wanly attached to music, without much of a deeper exploration of how songs truly can take the trite and make it soar — infusing hearts with joy and love, and thus actually opening and changing minds. That’s why music will always matter more — that is, deepest — to folks of a younger generation: because it so matches the intensity of feeling of adolescence, which feels like an inescapable sentence rather than merely a phase.
That Camp Rock 2 doesn’t treat this all that honestly isn’t a big sin of commission, really, but it does feel like something of a missed opportunity. The script, credited to Dan Berendsen, Karin Gist and Regina Hicks, doesn’t have a lot of punch in the dialogue, either. Still, the choreography, editing and production value of the musical numbers generally exceeds the quality of the original film. And in a movie like this, isn’t that what matters most, or at least most to the target demographic?
Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam comes to home video with a coupon that allows purchasers to save $6 when they buy the DVD or Blu-ray in tandem with another Disney kiddie-themed title, like any of the various DVD iterations of the High School Musical series. In addition to single-disc Blu-ray and DVD versions, the movie also comes in a three-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, including a digital copy of the movie. On Blu-ray, the movie is presented in 1080p high definition, in 1.78:1 widescreen transfer, with English 5.1 DTS-HD master audio (48 kHz/24-bit) and optional French (5.1 DTS digital surround sound) and Spanish language (Dolby digital 5.1) audio tracks. A selection of music videos (including “Different Summers” and “Walking In My Shoes”) and a behind-the-scenes featurette on the movie’s newest stars is also included, along with a rock-along function which lets viewers track the music in the film. For the younger Guitar Hero aficionado in your home, this title is a solid bet. To purchase the Blu-ray/DVD combo via Amazon, click here. C+ (Movie) B- (Disc)