Mostly Harmless 

The Meta Delights of Hannah Montana: The Movie

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As far as age-inappropriate obsessions go, the "teenage vampire romance" is a bit more my style than the "high schooler living the double life as a pop star"—but that doesn't mean I didn't totally understand the giddy little girls at the Hannah Montana: The Movie screening, because I totally did.

For those over the age of 13, here's the deal: Hannah Montana is a Disney franchise about a tweenage superhero with a double identity. By day, she's Miley Stewart, a Tennessee-born-and-bred high schooler who's a bit awkward, a bit mischievous, and a bit pretty. By night, she puts on a blonde wig and high heels to become Hannah Montana, a world-class superstar who wins over fans one chorus, bridge, and mischievous grin at a time.

(Extra bonus facts! Miley Stewart is played by Miley Cyrus. Her on-show father, Robby Ray Stewart, is played by Miley's real-life father, Billy Ray Cyrus. Cyrus-the-younger tours as Hannah Montana, and routinely sells out arenas in full of screaming girls, with tickets scalping for hundreds of dollars. Meta!)

So Hannah Montana: The Movie centers on two weeks the family spends in Tennessee after Papa Bear Robby Ray decides that Miley is becoming too focused on her Hannah side and forgetting what's important. Miley whines that she has to miss an event in NYC, but once Robby Ray drags her home, she settles right in, riding horses with her childhood crush (the generically dreamy Travis, played by Lucas Till), playing guitar in the barn loft, and hanging out at the farmers market with grammy.

Materialistic and bratty, Hannah seems more the Mr. Hyde to Miley's Dr. Jekyll than the Superman to her Clark Kent. It's the Miley of the movie who's the gem: A wholesome kid dressed in knee-length skirts and overalls and plaid shirts and sweet little dresses, she's the one being held up as the real hero, her small little life being framed as the one worth saving. "Be a kid!" the movie shouts at its audience. "There's plenty of time later to be a hussied-up superstar!"

I had a stupid smile on my face throughout this whole funny, silly, harmless, messy little movie. It's cheesy in a totally delightful way. There's about a half-dozen songs, but they aren't intrusive or all that embarrassing—just one more type of cheesy cheese to like about this cheesy movie. If I had a young daughter, I'd be happy to let her be obsessed with this little flick for a while—especially when I know what other obsessions (*cough*teenage vampire romance*cough*) await her.

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