After Disney’s impressive success with the “High School Musical” films, and “Camp Rock,” it’s no wonder that they decided to release “Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam”. Having now watched “Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam,” I can say that the second film is certainly an improvement in a number of regards. The film feels more developed than the previous effort, and the Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato, and the remaining cast come together in what is a heartfelt, song-filled, occasionally rather emotional and often fun family film.
In “Camp Rock” we met Mitchie Torres (Demi Lovato), a girl who works every day at her dream of being a musician. She wants nothing more than to go to the ultra-exclusive Camp Rock, a Summer camp for wealthy kids who share her dreams. The camp is run by Brown Cesario (Daniel Fathers), a former rock star. While Mitchie’s hopes of attending the camp appear dim, she catches a break when her mom, Connie (Maria Canals-Barrera) gets a job as the camp cook and - as a result - she gets into the camp with discounted tuition.
Meanwhile, snotty pop singer Shane Grey (Joe Jonas) is being dropped off at the camp by band mates Jason (Kevin Jonas) and Nate (Nick Jonas) because everyone involved thinks it'll be a good PR move. However, it's news to Shane that he'll have to do a recording with the winner of the camp's Final Jam at the end of the Summer - which he's informed about as the limo's about to drive off.
As “Camp Rock” progresses It's no surprise that Mitchie tries to hide the fact that she works in the kitchen and has to choose between being one of the popular crowd - lead by Tess Tyler (Meaghan Jette Martin) - and trying to shine on her own terms. And, of course, there’s also the love interest between Mitchie and Shane that develops throughout the film. While the performances were good and the story was decent, it felt like something was missing. That’s where “Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam” really differs.
“Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam” picks up nearly a year later. It’s summer and Mitchie is on her way back to Camp Rock, hopeful that Shane (they’ve been emailing this whole time) will be there too. On her way, Mitchie notices a sign for another music camp called Camp Star that’s located across the lake from Camp Rock. Camp Star is run by Axel, Brown Cesario’s former band mates who went on to make a lot of money as record producer and who’s main goal is to bring down Brown and Camp Rock for kicking him out of the band. It’s this rivalry between Camp Rock and Camp Star that fuels the film.
Camp Star is high-tech, air conditioned, fast-paced and lacking in fun. On the other hand, "Camp Rock" operates on heart and soul. So, when Camp Rock is embarrassed by Camp Star, they take it upon themselves to invite their rivals to a kind of battle of the camps in a musical face-off during final jam. Once Axel hears about the competition, he takes it one step further and puts the performances on television, having the world decide who’s better. The plot isn't anything original, but it's energetically delivered and will likely entertain the target audience.
The majority of the film sees Mitchie spending most of her time trying to perfect Camp Rock performances so that the camp isn’t shut down. On the other hand, this leads to her relationship with Shane feeling a bit strained since they don’t get much time to spend together. Thankfully, throughout the film we’re reminded that sometimes you just have to stop for fun and not work too hard. The film comes together really nicely in the end and the songs throughout (of which there are many) doing a great job telling the story further.
The songs in “Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam” are lively and will likely and may prove more memorable for fans. Levato once again offers an appealing presence and can sing reasonably well. The Jonas brothers all give enjoyable performances, and this time Nick Jonas has a love interest as well - Axel’s daughter Dana (Chloe Bridges, who reminded me a lot of Anne Hathaway). “Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam” offers a fine ensemble cast and lessons that aren't heavy-handed. Recommended if you’re looking for a sweet, family film.
This set includes a digital copy edition, Blu-Ray edition and DVD edition.
VIDEO: "Camp Rock" is presented by Disney in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen on DVD and 1.78:1 (1080p/AVC) on the Blu-Ray edition. Picture quality was about broadcast quality, with acceptable sharpness and detail. While the picture maintained respectable clarity and definition during many scenes, some moments could look noticeably softer.
Some slight edge enhancement was spotted in a few scenes and a couple of minor specks on the print were noticed, but the film otherwise looked clean and clear. Colors remained bright and well-saturated, with no smearing. Flesh tones looked accurate, while black level remained satisfactory. The Blu-Ray edition boasted crisper, cleaner detail and slightly perkier colors.
SOUND: The film's DTS-HD 5.1 soundtrack largely comes from the front speakers, with the surrounds only providing light reinforcement of the music on occasion. Audio quality is perfectly average, with a bassy score and clear dialogue.
EXTRAS: “Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, Extended Edition” is a 3 disc combo pack including Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital copy.
Blu-ray includes: “Rock-Along” which features the lyrics during the musical numbers (karaoke style) as the film plays. Fun for fans., “Getting To Know Camp Star’s Newest Stars”, and “Music Videos by Camp Rockers From Around the World.”
DVD includes: “Rock-Along” Also included are: “Dylan & Cole Sprouse: Blu-ray is Suite”, “Learn How to Take Your Favorite Movies on the Go,” and Sneak Peeks.
Final Thoughts: While not the target audience, I found “Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam” to be an enjoyable family film with fun performances (especially Lovato) and songs that the target audience should enjoy. Recommended for fans.
The Film B