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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam

September 10th, 2010

Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

It has been a couple years since Camp Rock came out. When I reviewed the original Blu-ray, I felt it was a little weak compared to High School Musical, but should still be acceptable for its target audience. Will the sequel live up to its predecessor? Will it improve? Or is it better just to re-watch the original and pretend there never was a sequel?

The Movie

First a recap of the first film. Demi Lovato stars as Mitchie Torres, an aspiring singer who gets a chance to go to Camp Rock to help achieve her dream. While there, she has to compete with the queen bees, led by Meaghan Jette Martin, and meets and falls in love with pop star, Shane Grey. There's lots of Teenage Drama, but in the end, they all come out friends.

A year has past, and while Mitchie and Shane have remained in close contact, they have not seen each other since camp ended. But that's about to change, as they will both be returning to Camp Rock this year. Also returning is pretty much everyone from last year. Mitchie's friend Caitlyn, Queen Bee Tess, etc. Since the girls all became friends at the end of the first movie, the drama here comes from a rival camp called Camp Star, which sets up shop right by Camp Rock. While Camp Rock is struggling to survive and doesn't have a whole lot of resources, Camp Star is run by Axel Turner, a successful record producer who is willing to spend whatever it takes to put Camp Rock out of business. This doesn't make a whole lot of fiscal sense, but this is personal. Brown Cesario, who runs Camp Rock, and Axel Turner were in The Wet Crows, but Axel was thrown out of the band, now he's back for revenge.

After stealing away Camp Rock's staff with offers to double their salaries, and a lot of the campers with promises of air conditioned cabins, Camp Rock looks like it will go under. However, Mitchie, Caitlyn, Shane, and some of the other older campers take over as the counselors. At first, they are overwhelmed by the responsibilities, but eventually with a little pluck and determination, they get the hang of it and things seems to be turning around.

Meanwhile at Camp Star, Queen Bee Tess was lured away with a promise of stardom and she is paired with Luke Williams, the camp's star performer. The two are great on stage, but with nearly identical personalities, they clash offstage constantly. The only other Camp Star camper we seem much of is Dana Turner, the daughter of Axel Turner, who is an accomplished pianist. She doesn't like the rivalry her father is engaged in, and complicates matters when she and Nate begin a romance.

Off course, there's a final confrontation between the two camps with the fate of Camp Rock hanging in the balance. Can the Camp Rockers win the day, or will Axel Turner and his big bucks buy victory?

So how well does Camp Rock 2 compare to Camp Rock? It is better, for the most part. There is a lot more music this time around; in fact, I would say about half the running time is people singing. More songs mean more energy. The inclusion of the Nate / Dana romance means the Mitchie / Shane romance doesn't have to carry the show as much. On the other hand, the bad guy is a little cartoony and could have been twirling a Snidely Whiplash mustache throughout most of his scenes and it wouldn't have felt out of place.

Simply put, if you liked Camp Rock, you will likely enjoy this film as well. If you were on the fence last time around, give it a try, it might win you over.

The Extras

Extras on the DVD are rather limited with just the "Rock-Along" version of the movie.

The Blu-ray also has a 6-minute featurette with Alyson Stoner interviewing the two new cast members, Chloe Bridges and Matthew 'Mdot' Finley. There are also five music videos from songs used to promote the TV movie around the world, including a place called Benelux.

Benelux? Yeah, I had to look that up on Wiki. It's short for Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg. When I saw that, I thought to myself, "Oh, the Low Countries." Because apparenly I grew up during World War II, as Benelux has been used since 1946.

Moving onto the technical aspects of the Blu-ray, the film looks good, especially for a TV movie, with strong, sharp image quality, good colors, etc. The sound is great during the musical numbers, and there's a huge amount of those, but uncomplicated the rest of the time.

Finally, the list price for the Blu-ray is 50% more than the DVD, but is also includes the DVD and a digital copy of the movie, so it is like buying the DVD and getting the Blu-ray for half price. Additionally, right now on Amazon.com, the two formats are exactly the same price, so it is like buying the DVD and getting the Blu-ray for free. It's hard to argue with free.

The Verdict

Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam should please its target audience, especially those who enjoyed the music the most the first time around. There are not a lot of extras on either the DVD or the Blu-ray, but those wanting to pick it up should definitely grab the movie in High Definition.


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