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Miramax in Focus

My Scene Goes Hollywood: The Movie DVD Review

Buy My Scene Goes Hollywood: The Movie from Amazon.com My Scene Goes Hollywood: The Movie
Movie & DVD Details

Director: Eric Fogel

Voice Cast: Katherine Barr (Madison), Kelly Sheridan (Barbie), Nicole Bouma (Chelsea), Tegan Moss (Chelsea), Meghan Black (Delancey), Brenda Crichlow (Audra), Terry Katz (Jim), Allesandro Juliani (River), Shane Meier (Ellis), Kirby Morrow (Hudson), Mark Hildreth (Sutton), Sam Vincent (Ryan), Ashleigh Ball (Kenzie), Lindsay Lohan (Herself), Harvey Weinstein (Himself)

Songs: "Find the Fun", "Lucky", "Starlight", "Feel Like L.A.", "Playground", "Dance Til Dawn"

Running Time: 70 Minutes / Rating: Not Rated
1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), Dolby Surround (French)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned

DVD Release Date: August 30, 2005
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5)
Suggested Retail Price: $19.99
Black Keepcase with Sparkling Front Cover


Review by Renata Joy

As a doll created by Mattel in 1959, Barbie reflected a young girl's conception of what being a teenager was all about. Not only did she have an endless wardrobe and a dreamy boyfriend, Barbie also got to have cool jobs like being a ballerina and even a nurse! Barbie has changed a great deal since the 1950s, but not so much as in 2002 when Mattel launched the My Scene line.
Introduced to compete with the hip and quickly-accepted Bratz dolls, this set features not just Barbie but also a group of cool friends, each with their own personality, interests, and fashion tastes. The My Scene face molds are more stylized and sassier than those of past Barbie dolls, and their clothes are more trendy than pink and frilly.

While there have been a number of animated Barbie productions in recent years, this is the first to feature the My Scene gang. Rather than being the star of this endeavor, Barbie is merely one of a group of five styling teenagers who are well at home chatting it up at a trendy Manhattan coffee shop with five young men, who coincidentally look no less feminine than they with their full pouty lips and long necks. Comprising the My Scene regulars (aside from Barbie) are: Madison, the arguable star of the show who enjoys writing songs and horseback riding; Nolee, the peaceable yoga-performer of the group; Chelsea, the aspiring fashion-designer; and Delancey, the California-style surfer with an appetite for sweets. Their male counterparts are much less defined. The most that is known about them is that they perform in a band called Urban Desire.

On the particular day that this story begins, the town is abuzz with the news that a hot young actress is in town shooting a movie. Immediately, the My Scene girls find themselves on the set and are able to convince the crew that they are extras. This begins a plot which checks reality at the door.

The My Scene girls strut their stuff on the streets of New York City. Oh no! Madison overslept!

Well in the tradition of Barbie history, My Scene Goes Hollywood: The Movie depicts a very young girl's vision of Hollywood, where extras with little or no previous acting experience can become movie stars and even if they don't, they will very likely be in every shot surrounded by a very small group of people, and will hang out in movie stars' trailers in their downtime. Obviously, agents and heightened security surrounding movie sets do not exist in Barbie Land.

Sure enough, moments after breaking onto the set, Madison is chosen to stand in for an absent actress much to the excitement/jealousy of the rest of the girls. Being given a role in the film raises Madison up onto a different level of importance - one that includes her very own trailer and the right to hang out with the stars of the movie: the dashing (i.e. fish-lipped) Ryan Ridley and the one and only Lindsay Lohan (voiced by Lindsay Lohan). Those who frequent the Barbie aisle at the store may not be surprised to find Lindsay Lohan in a My Scene production, as a My Scene doll in her likeness has been out for a few weeks now. For the unacquainted, Lohan's entrance may be a bit unexpected, considering that she is not listed anywhere on the DVD cover or during the opening credits. In any case, Lohan appears frequently with her long, flowing red locks and if she is a little twig-like, it is only because she was drawn that way.

It can be assumed that Madison's star treatment goes a bit to her head. Celebrity outings take priority over sleepovers with her friends and the soy lattes she orders at the coffee shop readily prove the high-maintenance monster she has become. She becomes romantically involved with the ever-so-slightly arrogant Ryan (voiced by Sam Vincent) and finds Barbie and the gang's starstruck attitude towards Lindsay quite embarrassing. Pretty soon, Madison ditches her old friends altogether. Will a lesson be learned? You'll have to watch the DVD to find out.

The My Scene girls ponder the design of males in their movie. Madison is all giggles during her kissing scene with studly "It Boy" Ryan Ridley.

My Scene Goes Hollywood's main downfall is that it exists merely to promote product, as is seen within the first few seconds of the film where each girl's name appears with a tiny registered trademark symbol as punctuation. This movie was not created to tell a story but to sell tie-ins. Obviously Mattel's idea is that if they put out a DVD, fans of the My Scene line will buy it without much thought, and will most likely buy a doll or playset or two to go along with it.
That being said, however, My Scene succeeds in entertaining. The storyline isn't deep and the girls certainly aren't particularly intelligent, but they do have personality, something which Lindsay Lohan's on-film persona lacks. In fact, the animated Lohan is so preoccupied with convincing the girls that she is a normal teenager that she becomes increasingly dull as the movie progresses. It makes one wonder if Lohan's appearance here is nothing more than an attempt to dissuade people from believing the various tabloid rumors about her. It doesn't really work.

The movie has a very nice stylized look, even if that is only the result of clearly low-budget animation. Limited funds most likely also account for why there never seems to be more than five characters on screen at any given time, even during scenes which supposedly involve large crowds. The film's imagery never allows for a great deal of movement, and winds up looking more like Flash animation than ink and paint. However, if you consider these visual traits an artistic choice rather than a necessity based on a lack of cash, the simplicity does not hinder the film as a whole. The obligatory pop songs are spaced out appropriately and, surprisingly, are less annoying than one might fear. Throw in a cameo by Harvey Weinstein and a director who looks remarkably like Chandler Bing, and you have yourself a rollicking good time. Like, totally!

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Madison snubs her friends that's a bad one what should I say man Madison snubs her friends that's a bad one what should I say man heh heh *giggles* Okay keep it in. Could this director look any more like Chandler Bing? Harvey Weinstein doesn't seem to notice.

VIDEO and AUDIO

The feature film is presented in the 1:66:1 widescreen aspect ratio and is enhanced for 16x9 televisions, resulting in tiny black bars on the sides that won't be visible on most screens due to overscan. As one might expect from a brand new production, the transfer is flawless with no imperfections whatsoever detected. The coloring is very vibrant and any shortcoming in the visuals department would appear a result of simplistic animation and not the terrific digital presentation.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack employs the surround speakers infrequently. They only come to life during the rare "crowded" scene, such as the girls' adventures at the happening nightclub which deliver some appropriate ambient noise. The majority of sound stems from the front speakers, with the spattering of pop songs coming on strong (but not too strong), and all dialogue remaining crisp and entirely intelligible. Generally, there's never too much going on aurally, as most scenes involve calm and regular speaking with little background sounds or music.

I'm Barbie in "Barbie's Personality Profile" quiz! Looking for junk in all the wrong places in "Chelsea's Celebrity Fashion Finder." Decisions, decisions in "Madison's Superstar Challenge."

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS and DESIGN

In the supplements department, My Scene delivers a hearty serving of the one particular thing
it hopes it will most delight its target audience. With as many silly quizzes as a teen magazine, the DVD offers a bit of diversion in its five interactive games/activities without delving into any genuine behind-the-scenes material.

"Barbie's Personality Profile" is exactly as it sounds. By answering how you would react in certain situations, you are told which of the My Scene girls you are most like. Both times I took the test, I was Barbie!

"Chelsea's Celebrity Fashion Finder" is like a very frustrating version of I Spy, except you're always looking for fashion accessories. Most of the items are hidden under things and it takes a lot of searching to find anything. If played to fulfillment, this game is likely to cause great annoyance for players, and crabbiness too.

"Madison's Superstar Challenge" is a test of 15 questions which ask how you would prepare for a big Hollywood movie premiere. There is some fun to be had, only I wish there had been a greater abundance of dresses to choose from. The questions do not change on subsequent visits, limiting replay value.

"Nolee's Movie Memory Game": A better question might be, "Is Hudson a boy or girl?" After a near-death experience, Lindsay folds her arms and has a good laugh in the faux-outtakes of "Delancey's Fave Embarrassing Moments." The stylin' chicks appear in the animated Main Menu.

Next is "Nolee's Movie Memory Game", an 8-question refresher on different parts of the movie. It can be taken multiple times without the questions repeating themselves, which makes it suited for playing over and over and over again.

Lastly, "Delancey's Fave Embarrassing Moments" (3:37) is a montage of fake outtakes of both the actual film which is presented on the DVD itself and the movie they are shooting during the aforementioned film (those film-within-a-film plots always confuse me too).

At the start of the disc, previews play for Chicken Little, Herbie: Fully Loaded, and the Halloweentown movie series. Additional "Sneak Peeks" are available from the menu of the same name, and these show off the upcoming Kermit's 50th Anniversary Muppet movie re-releases, the recently-issued DVD compilations of "Phil of the Future" and "That's So Raven", the concurrently released Lilo & Stitch 2, and the website MyScene.com.

The animated Main Menu's design is simple enough, featuring repetitive music along with the gang of girls showing off their stuff. The packaging makes up for the tragic lack of a slipcover with a sparkling front! Not only do Madison's sunglasses have a Hollywood glimmer, but her blonde highlights also contain a special glow. And that is DVD cover magic at its best.

Lindsay Lohan is a gracious air hockey loser and not at all stuck-up, you see. Yay! Movie premiere night for Lindsay and the My Scene girls! Yay! That's great!

CLOSING THOUGHTS

My Scene Goes Hollywood: The Movie doesn't stray from what it is made to be: a rather fluffy tie-in to already popular merchandise aimed at young girls. Nonetheless, it has the capacity to engage its viewers, if even for a short time, and is more entertaining than much of the recent output for young people. Combined with fairly amusing bonus features in the form of games and quizzes, it is worth a look for females between the ages of 7-12, but probably won't be of much interest to people outside of this small group.

More on the DVD / Buy from Amazon.com

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Lindsay Lohan: Get a Clue Herbie: Fully Loaded The Parent Trap Freaky Friday Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen

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Reviewed August 29, 2005.

For five additional screencaps from the My Scene Goes Hollywood DVD, plus looks at the rest of the month's DVDs, visit our updated August DVD Thread.

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