Friday, February 01, 2008

Camera Obscura - Hannah Montana 3-D and Other Concert Films: The Ultimate Big Lebowski

"IDK if I'm aloud to got watch it but I love her!!!!!!"

Such text messages and internet forums are filled with the above comments, a sure sign a tween-aged girl is intent on seeing the concert movie "Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Digital Disney 3-D". Clocking in at just under 74 minutes, it really isn't a movie, just a snippet of the live show of the slickly produced singer. But Hannah/Miley is a massive money machine with no signs of slowing down.

As one who was early to diss the "career" of her father Billy Ray Cyrus, I confess I had no idea he would spawn a marketing/manufacturing monster, perhaps even capable of being the first official icon of 21st century entertainment who didn't implode and shatter on the rocks of some rehab center.

I was talking with a group of kids recently who are in the very middle of the Hannah demographic, and asked them what it was they liked so much. The answer seemed to be that she was just simply "theirs" to delight in. She's their icon, and speaks/acts/sings just for them. No adults, no high schoolers, but Pure Tween manifested on the earthly plane.

For all the talk about how Hannah celebrates empowerment, she mostly seems to celebrate shopping and style. Wal-Mart and Disney are already offering 140 items in Hannah Montana shops in the Wal-Mart stores, with items ranging from apparel to decor and anything else that can sport a logo. As the press release says, "
Fans who love Hannah Montana will soon find more than they imagined at Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart Stores, together with Disney Consumer Products, will bring more families more affordable access than ever before to Hannah Montana merchandise and activities in 2008."

Girl consumers seem to have an Americanized version of Japan street fashion with Hannah/Miley duality, where emulating a lifestyle means you've purchased a lot of products.

To even further signify the line between young consumers and old consumers, the old folks have their own 3-D concert film too - "U2 3D". The title of the concert film even sounds like the name of that droid you liked in "Star Wars".

Irish mega-rockers U2 offer a concert movie which clocks in at 85 minutes, and the 3D tech is truly immersive. While the band and lead singer Bono tend to generate headlines about politics and fame, their concerts are jaw-dropping good. Watching them in the Georgia Dome in the mid-90s, both the walls of sound and the stage presence of the band filled the arena from top to bottom. And when they manipulate consumer urges, it's ironic, so it's ok, right?

Carefully prepped, techno-smart concert movies, however, aren't really very meaningful as a movie experience. For my money, two other movies do far better to capture the event of a concert. That's "Woodstock" and "Monterey Pop". The music is the center of the action, but the films are also about the event itself. If you think the choices are too old-skool for you, then the Beastie Boys concert movie compiled from the videos shot by the audience, "Awesome: I F***in' Shot That!" may suit you better. Almost an anti-commercial effort, it's experimental style is quite unique.

Would you want your Tween to watch those movies? Probably not. But just how much exposure to live concerts by pop/rock stars is right for a Tween anyway?


As the Coen brothers eye Oscar gold for their film, "No Country For Old Men," their 1998 movie "The Big Lebowski" has reached a level of fame and fans normally found at a Star Trek convention (or perhaps a Hannah Montana concert??). To aid the newcomers and the diehards, a guidebook is now available.

"I'm A Lebowski, You're A Lebowski: Life, The Big Lebowski, and What-Have-You" is the ultimate guide to The Dude and the movie.

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