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Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience Blu-ray & DVD Review
(Deluxe Extended Movie Combo)

Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience (2009) movie poster Jonas Brothers: The (3D) Concert Experience

Theatrical Release: February 27, 2009 / Running Time: 88 Minutes (Extended Cut) / Rating: G

Director: Bruce Hendricks

Cast: Kevin Jonas, Joe Jonas, Nick Jonas, Demi Lovato, Taylor Swift, "Big Rob" Feggans

Songs: "That's Just the Way We Roll", "Hold On", "BB Good", "Goodnight and Goodbye", "Video Girl", "Gotta Find You", "This is Me", "Play My Music", "A Little Bit Longer", "Hello Beautiful", "Still in Love With You", "Pushin' Me Away", "Can't Have You", "Should've Said No", "Love is On Its Way", "S.O.S.", "Burnin' Up", "Tonight"

Buy Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience from Amazon.com: 1-Disc Theatrical Cut DVD / 2-Disc Deluxe Extended DVD / Extended Blu-ray/DVD Combo


By Kelvin Cedeno

In recent years, Disney has been focusing much of its energy on the tween and teen demographics. Their cable network programs almost exclusively for these age brackets. In fact, Disney Channel at times feels more like a breeding ground for new franchises, an arena in which different shows and young stars battle for the chance of becoming the next bubblegum sensation.
This happened unexpectedly with the High School Musical franchise, which then led to the "Hannah Montana" phenomenon. Following in these steps is the three-member pop band known as the Jonas Brothers.

The New Jersey siblings, consisting of Kevin, Joe, and Nick, first formed their group back in 2005. It wasn't until 2006, though, that they started getting Disney's attention, recording cover versions of well-known tunes from the company's songbook. By early 2007, the trio had signed a contract with Hollywood Records, and it was from here that Disney decided to work its marketing magic. Apparently the push worked, for each of the group's records with the label debuted within the top five of the Billboard 200 charts. The Jonas Brothers became a rousing success with young girls. The hordes of shrieking, hyperventilating fans inspired Disney to release a 3-D concert for theaters in hopes of recreating and amplifying the response to 2007's profitable Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert. Thus, Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience was born.

Filmed in Anaheim and New York City during the band's summer 2008 Burnin' Up Tour, this concert presents over a dozen Jonas Brothers numbers (and two more in the supplements) along with two guest performances. The feature actually begins with a scripted, Hard Day's Night-inspired prologue that takes place before the live show itself. Here, the brothers struggle out of bed, attempt to go through their itinerary, and are finally mobbed by dozens of hysterical fangirls. As evidenced later on in the program via true documentary footage, the madcap scenario isn't so much of a stretch.

Kevin Jonas leads his two brothers in a high-speed getaway to a rooftop helicopter. Good thing theater owners didn't experience similar adolescent girl stampedes to see "Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience." Fan hands go a-reaching as the Jonas Brothers are joined by Demi Lovato for a rendition of the "Camp Rock" song "This is Me."

Once the actual concert begins, it more or less delivers what one would expect. The Jonas Brothers' sound comes from a fairly standard mold of boy bands - pop music infused with a bit of rock to give it an edge. The majority of the tunes deal with teen romance in the first person, no doubt setting the passionate crowd's hearts all aflutter. To their credit, Kevin, Joe, and Nick are certainly talented, but too many of their songs are not only reminiscent of others on the market, but tend to run into each other as well. The numbers are listenable, even pleasantly so at times, but they're forgotten as soon as they're over. Perhaps not being a female under 18 could account for this, but music really shouldn't cater exclusively to one demographic. Songs, even ones designed with a specific audience in mind, can appeal to all sorts of listeners.

One thing the show can't be faulted for is its presentation. Regardless of what effect the music has, there's no denying that the production is well put together. From lasers and fire to elevating platforms and flame-retardant foam (yes, really), there is usually something memorable to see. Interesting gimmicks like drum battles and somersaults liven up the standard numbers, and the enthusiasm and charisma of the trio help keep things fresh.

To shake things up, two guest performers enter with their own tunes. The Jonases' Camp Rock co-star Demi Lovato sings "This is Me." Later, country sensation Taylor Swift comes in with "Should've Said No." Neither song seems significantly better or worse than those surrounding them, though Swift comes across as the stronger of the two guests. The inclusion of Lovato, reminiscent of the Jonas Brothers' appearance in the Hannah Montana concert, makes one wonder if she'll be next to grace the big screen in Disney Digital 3-D. It wouldn't be surprising seeing how much Disney has been pushing her as of late.

Nick Jonas, the youngest and only diabetic band member, gets extra dreamy for his close-up while playing piano. Joe Jonas rocks out with tambourine and red bow tie in the Brothers' Central Park music video "Love Is On Its Way."

At several points throughout the film, the show takes a break and branches off into documentary footage. This includes such vignettes as the brothers buying the first copies of their own A Little Bit Longer album in Times Square's now-closed Virgin Megastore, a group of Jonas impostors roaming the streets, and the hordes of girls waiting to see just a glimpse of the real musicians. These "day in the life" segments are interesting, but also misleading as they're designed to look like they're all taking place within a 24-hour span which is clearly not the case.
Detached from both these and the concert is a music video for "Love is On Its Way." Filmed in Central Park, the video is nicely produced, and the song is actually a bit more memorable than most of the others.

While presented in cinemas via Disney Digital 3-D, that clear, polarized format still cannot quite be replicated satisfactorily on home video. Instead, the concert movie's Blu-ray shows it in the traditional red and blue anaglyph style along with a standard 2-D presentation. Exclusive to Blu-ray, the 3-D presentation provides mixed results. When things like drumsticks and microphones are thrown or pointed towards the camera, the effects work pretty well. The perception of depth so easily found through polarization, however, is largely absent here. It doesn't help that the red lens is tinted a bit too darkly, resulting in more headaches than anything. The purple and green combination used for New Line's Journey to the Center of the Earth is a bit more comfortable on the eyes than the old-fashioned red and blue used here. It really isn't worth watching nearly an hour and a half's worth of material for a few forced tricks.

Despite the premium prices that the 3-D showings commanded, heavy promotion that included an Oscar Night Barbara Walters interview, and the movie's prevailing concept that the Jonas Brothers are a massive draw like The Beatles in the mid-1960s, The Concert Experience flopped at the box office with a large, unexpected thud. Its final domestic gross of just over $19 million was less than what Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert made in two days playing in half as many theaters.

Whether it's in response or defiance to the film's pitiful performance, Disney is going ahead with three concurrent home video debuts next Tuesday. A 2-D rendering of the movie as seen in theaters is available only on DVD at a standard $29.99 list price with no bonus features. Checking in ten dollars higher is a two-disc DVD carrying an extended cut of the film in 2-D, a handful of bonus features, and a digital copy disc. Then there is the Blu-ray release, which follows the studio's recent trend of packaging a BD, a DVD, and a digital copy all together. Wielding a $44.99 suggested retail price, this "3-disc" set offers the extended version in both 2-D and 3-D.

The so-called "Deluxe Extended Movie" adds two songs ("Can't Have You" and "A Little Bit Longer") to the line-up. One can only assume they were cut for timing since they appear to be of the same quality as the rest of the show.

Buy Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Amazon.com Blu-ray and DVD Details

BD: 1.85:1 Widescreen; DTS HD 7.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 (SPA)
DVD: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen; Dolby Digital 5.1 (ENG, SPA)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish
Closed Captioned; Bonus Features Subtitled
Release Date: June 30, 2009
Suggested Retail Price: $44.99
Three single-sided discs (BD-50, DVD-9, & DVD-5 DVD-ROM)
Blue Keepcase with Embossed, Reflective Cardboard Slipcover
Also available in Single-Disc Theatrical Cut DVD
and 2-Disc Deluxe Extended Movie DVD
Get 4 Disney Movies for $1.99 Each, Free Shipping!

VIDEO and AUDIO

Jonas Brothers: The 3-D Concert Experience comes to Blu-ray in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio of its theatrical exhibition. While not perfect, the image still impresses. The strongest factor comes from colors. The show exhibits all sorts of colored lighting, especially neons, and they all pop off the screen. Sharpness for the most is excellent, but certain portions seem a tad softer and less detailed than others. Fine grain appears but isn't distracting and is a good indicator that the image hasn't been overly processed.

The DTS 7.1 track is flawless. It's mixed with quite a bit of directionality, allowing the surrounds to be utilized more than usual. The sound field is strong and encompassing, yet individual instruments come in crystal clear. The vocals sound clean and don't have to fight with the instrumentals to make themselves heard. The almost incessant screams of the audience also give the track a sense of wide scope and breadth.

The bleachers and Joe's patriotic sneakers may suggest rehearsal footage, but this bonus performance of "Love Bug" is in fact performed for a full live audience. Nick and Kevin play with their guitars near one another while neon-shirted Joe rocks the mic in the bonus song "Shelf."

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS and PACKAGING

Aside from the aforementioned 3-D version, there are no exclusive bonus features to the Blu-ray. The supplements for both the BD and DVD begin with two bonus songs. These are not to be confused with the two songs that were edited back into main feature. The deleted numbers, "Love Bug" (3:40) (HD) and "Shelf" (4:22) (HD) may have been cut out since they're not as visually stimulating as other segments in the show. Still, they're good to have here.

Next comes "Up Close and Personal with the Jonas Brothers" (15:08) (HD). This featurette offers backstage glimpses at not just this particular performance, but from other concerts part of the Burnin' Up Tour. Along the way are glimpses at rehearsals, fan interactions, and even a last-minute mishap. It's a brisk and breezy featurette that, while fairly superficial, offers some good behind-the-scenes footage.

The Blu-ray disc opens with trailers for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Diamond Edition, G-Force, "Jonas" on the Disney Channel, Disney Blu-ray, and Disney Movie Rewards. These are all accessible via the Sneak Peeks menu.

Kevin stays away while Nick and Joe Jonas get close to one another in photo shoot footage from "Up Close and Personal with the Jonas Brothers." Taking a break from the movie clips, the DVD's main menu gives us a good look at the eyes and eyebrows of Nick, Joe, and Kevin Jonas in these stately brow stills.

As stated earlier, Discs 2 and 3 merely supply what the Deluxe DVD offers, a bonus-equipped extended cut DVD and a digital copy disc.

The one DVD exclusive is the 6-minute "Blu-ray is Suite!" infomercial
which features twins Cole and Dylan Sprouse and their "Zack & Cody" mom Kim Rhodes shamelessly pitching the high-def format. This is the second Disney DVD you can find this on, with many more sure to come.

The DVD loads with ads for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, G-Force, "Jonas", Princess Protection Program, Blu-ray, and Disney Movie Rewards. The menu adds promos for Hannah Montana: The Movie, Race to Witch Mountain, Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, and the book Burning Up.

The main menu plays an instrumental version of "Burnin' Up" while show clips play amongst dozens of small, divided screens and sparkling lights. The Jonas Brothers logo is used as a cursor, and it's also used for loading screens while replacing the interiors with headshots.

All three discs come housed in a slightly-wider-than-usual Blu-ray case. The BD and DVD discs are placed on opposite ends of a tray, while the digital copy in placed in the interior right of the case. The transparency of the case allows for a panoramic image of all three boys to be seen inside. Along with four 3-D glasses is a Disney Movie Rewards code, printed on a pamphlet advertising some of the reward items. A cardboard slipcover with reflective embossment slips over all of this.

Fireballs and red lighting remind us this is the Burning Up tour. Kevin Jonas points at us in one final 3D effect whose intentions will be lost on those watching in 2D, a class that includes all DVD viewers.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience isn't for everyone. The rather unmemorable music does little to distinguish itself, but at least it's easy to swallow.
The production values are top notch, and the presentation does manage to lift the material up a bit. As for this Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack, the video pleases even when it's not as its sharpest, and the audio utilizes the sound field well. The two bonus songs offer more of the same material, and the featurette is nice but ultimately insubstantial.

For fans of the band, the question is which version to buy. The 3D version included on the Blu-ray doesn't work terribly well and is pretty much negligible. Still, the combo reviewed here is probably the best value. It contains the extended version and its supplements on both Blu-ray and DVD, and the show can also be downloaded as a digital copy. Those who would want this show would surely want as much Jonas they can get, which makes the barebones theatrical single-disc DVD a bit of a waste. Those with zero interest in Blu-ray are better off getting the 2-disc extended DVD. Everyone else can easily find enough music videos and samples online to see if this group suits their personal preferences.

Buy Jonas Brothers: The Concert Experience from Amazon.com:
1-Disc Theatrical Cut DVD / 2-Disc Deluxe Extended DVD / Extended Blu-ray/DVD Combo
Soundtrack CD / Piano/Vocal/Guitar Songbook

Buy from Amazon.com



Related Reviews:
Camp Rock Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert High School Musical: The Concert
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Jonas Brothers Music Videos on DVD: Meet the Robinsons The Jungle Book (Platinum Edition)
Other JoBros DVD Sightings: Hannah Montana: One in a Million Disney Channel Games (on "Hannah Montana": The Complete First Season)
2009 Movies: Paul Blart: Mall Cop The Uninvited Friday the 13th (Killer Cut) Hatching Pete & Dadnapped (Double Feature)
Concert DVDs: Elvis: That's The Way It Is Shine a Light Radio Disney Party Jams Disneymania 3 in Concert

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Reviewed June 24, 2009.