Disney has achieved impressive success taking different projects and growing them into major franchises. This has been true for everything from the studio's A-list properties like "Hannah Montana" and "High School Musical" to some of the titles further down the line, including "Cheetah Girls". While I've found myself watching many of these titles (see also "Wizards at Waverly Place" and "Suite Life", for example), "One World" is the first time I've sat down to see the "Cheetah Girls" series.
For those unfamiliar (like myself, for example), the "Cheetah Girls" are a group made up of 3 pop singers - Dorinda (Sabrina Bryan), Chanel (Adrienne Bailon) and Aqua (Kiely Williams). There used to be a fourth (played by Raven), but it's explained away that she's no longer with the group because she went off to college.
The film starts off with the girls depressed, as Dorinda has just dumped her boyfriend because she didn't want a long-distance relationship and the group has run into tough times as it searches for a recording deal. However, everything changes when they get a call at an Indian restaurant (the call is followed by one of the cheesiest scenes in recent memory, as the girls break into song) from a film director who wants the girls to start in his latest movie.
They think it's a Hollywood musical, but after they go through the audition process, they find out that it's a Bollywood movie and the flight isn't to California but India. While the girls initially have a problem with going to the other side of the world, Chanel convinces the others to go along with it in order to try for international stardom.
However, problems occur when they arrive in India and the director's uncle - who's financing the film - wanted only one girl, not three. While the director tries to alter the screenplay for three, the girls become competitive over getting the role co-starring with a famous Indian actor. The second half of the film primarily focuses on the tryouts, as well as a couple of additional subplots, such as Aqua finding unexpected love (or, unexpectedly finding the guy she'd fallen for.)
While it's neat that the film ventures overseas to India, the film doesn't explore Indian culture too far beyond the surface level. Otherwise, the film does suffer from some rather generic musical numbers - while I'm sure those in the target audience will enjoy them, I thought some of them were fairly interchangeable. The story - despite the international setting - was also predictable at all times. I'd love to see more Disney channel productions venturing to different parts of the globe, but hopefully they'll be arriving with more original scripts to work with. The three actresses are decent, but to their credit, they at least do deliver the material in fairly energetic fashion.
Again, while those in the target audience will probably like this just fine, I found it really didn't leave much of an impression.
The home video edition of the film is an extended edition, featuring the extended musical number, "Feels Like Love".
VIDEO: "Cheetah Girls: One World" is presented by Disney in 1.33:1 full-frame on DVD (the Blu-Ray is offered in 1.78:1 widescreen.) The DVD presentation looks just fine, matching what I would have to imagine would be the broadcast quality of the broadcast on digital cable. Sharpness and detail are above-average, as the presentation looked clear and well-defined throughout much of the movie (aside from a few moments - such as some dimly-lit scenes - that appeared mildly softer by comparison.)
A few minor moments of pixelation and a couple slight instances of edge enhancement were spotted, but those minor concerns didn't really get in the way of what was otherwise a fine transfer. The film's incredibly vibrant color palette looked bold and well-saturated on this presentation, as well, not appearing smeary or otherwise problematic.
SOUND: The film is presented with a satisfactory Dolby Digital 5.1. track that presents the film's pop tunes in satisfactory fashion, as the music sounds consistently smooth, although not quite as full and clear as the PCM presentation on the Blu-Ray edition. Surrounds kick in to provide some mild reinforcement of the tunes, but that's about all the rear speakers are called upon to do, unfortunately.
EXTRAS: The film can be watched with "Cheetah Spots", which are brief pop-up facts and video footage. We also get 3 music videos from the Cheetah Girls, bloopers and a sing-a-long mode.
Final Thoughts: "One World" does get some points for going overseas, but this one is for the target audience only: I found it really didn't leave much of an impression. The DVD edition offers pleasing video quality, fine audio quality and a few minor extras. While fans of the prior films will likely want this one as well, they may want to rent first before deciding on a purchase.