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Camp Rock (Extended Rock Star Edition) - family and children's DVD / television DVD / musical DVD review
Rated G by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 3 1/2 stars
Actors: Demi Lovato, Meaghan Martin, Alyson Stoner, Joe Jonas, Kevin Jonas, Nick Jonas
Director: Matthew Diamond   Studio: Walt Disney
DVD release: 19 August 2008   Runtime: 90 min. (1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
DVD features: Audio tracks (English - Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround), Subtitles (English), "How to Be a Rock Star," Jonas Brothers: Real-Life Rock Stars, Introducting Demi Lovato, Camp Rock Memory Book, From Rehearsal to Final Jam: "Hasta la Vista," Setting the Stage for "Too Cool," Sing-along Mode, Karaoke Mode, Music Videos, Sneak peeks

Camp Rock is another all-out Disney Channel original movie complete with catchy tunes - a la High School Musical. Unfortunately, this movie doesn't quite match up to HSM for plot or originality; the storyline feels recycled and stale. Fortunately, kids absolutely love the music and the show (so what do we adults know?)

Camp Rock features newcomer Demi Lovato as Mitchie Torres, a singer and songwriter whose mother (Maria Canals-Barrera from The Wizards of Waverly Place) has a job cooking for Camp Rock, a summer camp for aspiring musical talents. Mitchie has stage fright and is afraid to perform in public. On her first day, Mitchie hooks up with the snottiest of the rich kids who attend the camp, Tess (Meaghan Jette Martin), and because Mitchie doesn't want to appear needy, she lies to Tess and her friends and tells them that her mother is a bigwig in the music business.

Adding fuel to the competitive mix, in comes Shane Gray (Joe Jonas), a camp alumnus who has made it big in the music world and is now a teacher at the camp. Shane hears Mitchie singing but doesn't see her face, so he becomes obsessed with finding out who she is. Tess is jealous and tries to dig up the dirt on Mitchie and break the budding friendship between Mitchie and Shane apart. It all comes to a head at the final camp talent show, where the real talent will be recognized.

The storyline isn't highly original, as I already mentioned, but it's enjoyable to watch. It's difficult not to compare it to High School Musical (1 and 2) and Camp Rock always comes up short in comparison. Still, even with all of its shortcomings, Camp Rock is pleasant and appropriate for the entire family - ssomething that can't be said for everything on television or DVD these days.

The "Extended Rock Star Edition" of the movie has a great number of special features that will appeal to younger viewers. There are two music videos, "We Rock" and "Start the Party." My children's favorite feature is the "Sing Along with the Movie," which allows the viewer to jump to any of the music scenes and sing along with karaoke subtitles (or just watch the musical numbers alone).

A nearly half-hour feature on "How to Be a Rock Star" gives pointers from the cast and crew about what it takes to become a professional performer. "Jonas Brothers: Real Life Rock Stars" is a 15-minute sequence with the Jonas Brothers and their experiences filming the movie.

Some shorter segments include "Introducing Demi Lovato," "Camp Memories" (a slideshow of photos), "Hasta la Vista: From Rehearsals to Final Jam" and "Too Cool: Setting the Scene" (both of the previous focus on rehearsal and filming of a particular sequence).

Overall, Camp Rock is a sweet movie, albeit a tad clichéd. Pre-teens and young teens will love it.
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reviewed by Melissa Parcel
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