I’ll admit it: I loved High School Musical. It’s corny but fun, youthful, and catchy. When HSM became a phenomenon with the young’ns, I really feel it re-introduced the genre of musicals to a generation that could probably give two shits about West Side Story, Grease, and Rent. Browsing through Netflix, I found the Disney Channel original movie Camp Rock and gave it a watch. It fits my summer camp theme for July, covers a new genre, and would maybe give me a few songs to secretly put onto my iPod.
Demi Lovato and her blunt bangs play teenage singer/songwriter Mitchie Torres, who dreams of attending the prestigious music summer camp, Camp Rock. Unfortunately, Mitchie’s family members are normal working class folks, so to make her dreams come true, her mother takes the job of Camp’s Chef. But once Mitchie gets to the camp filled with children of rockstars and dreams of being besties with the camp bitch, her boring, ordinary backstory gets pushed aside in favor of one in which her mom is an executive of a music television show in China. Mitchie would rather put her talent on the backburner to be in with the mean girls.
Who cares about showcasing your talent at music camp when you can be friends with the popular girl?!
Lovato’s got a nice voice, a voice that woos Joe Jonas’ bad boy pop star Shane Gray (is he related to that 50 Shades of Gray, fella?). Shane is forced to be a guest instructor to rehab his image, but it’s when he overheads a mysterious female voice that he’s inspired to be more creative with his music. He then begins his Cinderella search for the mysterious voice, never considering once to ask the girl he confides in, canoes with, and sings to why she’s at a music camp yet never shares her talent. I really need to stop using logic when I watch movies.
I went into the movie fully expecting a cliche tween Disney movie plot, so this isn’t a shocker. My disappointment was in it’s lack of being a true musical. There’s definitely original music, but it’s subpar. High School Musical excelled in that classic musical way where they break into songs in the cafeteria or sing alone while looking up in the sky, deep in thought. Camp Rock, on the other hand, felt like a regular movie just trying to sell a soundtrack. The songs reflect how the characters are feeling, but that’s how music is period. It’s just mediocre.
Camp Rock is High School Musical without any of the charm.
If I had to grade Camp Rock, I’d give it about a C+. I thought Demi Lovato and Joe Jonas gave aiiight performances and they can at least carry a tune (but I still don’t understand how Lovato is qualified to be an X-Factor mentor). Their end duet (spoiler!) is the highlight is an average Disney Channel flick that is good for a rainy, mindless day. I also saw Netflix Instant has the sequel and I might cave and watch that just to see the story play out and see if it improved. While I love me a good summer camp movie, if I’m seeking a catchy summertime musical I’d recommend High School Musical 2 and their exploits working at a country club. It’s a movie for kids and tweens or for adults that might want to live tweet some snark.