Monday, September 21, 2009

Wizards on Deck with Hannah Montana

Written by Pirata Hermosa

While the name leads you to expect a massive crossover between three popular Disney Channel shows, The Wizards of Waverly Place, The Suite Life on Deck, and Hannah Montana, it’s actually an episode of all three shows shot aboard the S.S. Tipton and glued together using the cast of The Suite Life.

Any of the three segments could be watched as a stand-alone episode, but it’s a little disappointing that there’s not more cohesion. There are no cast members from Hannah Montana in the first segment and no cast members from Wizards in the last. And even during the middle part you never get all three casts on the screen at the same time.

“Castaway (To Another Show)” – Justin (David Henrie) wins an essay-writing contest and as his prize all family members under 18 receive passage on the “S.S. Tipton Teen Cruise to Hawaii” and a photo-op with debutante London Tipton (Brenda Song). While Justin tries to impress London by pretending he’s a doctor, his siblings have their own agendas. Younger brother Max (Jake T. Austin) is trying to beat Zack (Dylan Sprouse) at every contest imaginable to prove who can be the biggest troublemaker. Alex (Selena Gomez), who only got on board because she promised her parents that she would do summer school on the ship, magically teleports her best friend Harper (Jennifer Stone) on board to take her science classes for her while she parties.

“Double Crossed” – After Cody (Cole Sprouse) tells Bailey (Debby Ryan) he personally knows Hannah Montana (Miley Cyrus), she says that if he can get tickets to the concert she will love him forever. That leaves Cody scrambling to get tickets and sends him off trying to win the cruise’s scavenger hunt, which is offering two tickets to the concert for the winner. Hannah and her best friend Lilly (Emily Osment) find themselves trapped in their cabins as throngs of adoring fans block their exit and enjoyment of the cruise. Meanwhile, Alex pulls a prank on her older brother by putting blue dye in the hot tub, and both Justin and cruise director Mr. Moseby (Phill Lewis) try to prove whether the prankster is Alex or Zack.

“Super(Stitious) Girl” – When Hannah loses her mother’s lucky anklet, the young pop star is suddenly struck with a streak of bad luck. She completely tanks her rehearsal, she loses her blonde Hannah wig, and she ends up dying her hair green. While Lilly helps her tear the ship apart looking for the anklet, her father Robbie (Billy Ray Cyrus) is seasick and in bed, and her brother, Jackson (Jason Earles) and friend Oliver (Mitchel Musso) are living it up big back home since they have the entire place to themselves.

There are not very many bonus features on the DVD and the two that are, are rather short.

“Justin’s Award-Winning Essay” – Justin Russo gives a how-to demonstration on writing an essay using his siblings as examples of what not to do.

“Backstage Disney: It’s A Suite Life Having Fun with Hannah and The Wizards” – The actors discuss what it’s like to work with one another and be out of their element on a new set. It’s interspersed with the shows bloopers and blunders.

If you enjoy these three shows, then you’ll probably like the DVD as they stay pretty close to their individual formulas, but it’s interesting to see how some of the characters interact in a new setting and especially entertaining is when Alex gets stuck in Zack’s bedroom while Mr. Moseby questions him about the blue dye he found outside his room. The only thing missing is a little more interaction between the different casts. The writers also missed a big opportunity by not having Hannah and Alex meet, since Hannah’s pop rival, Mikayla, is also played by Selena Gomez.

JONAS, Volume 1 - Rockin' the House

Written by Pirata Hermosa

This is the newest show to come to the Disney’s Sunday night lineup starring the Jonas brothers: Kevin, Nick, and Jo. Not only are they high school students, but they are also members of the world’s biggest pop band, JONAS. Trying to give them as normal a life as possible, their parents send them to private school where the kids are used to their celebrity. Well, everyone except Macy Misa (Nicole Anderson) who is not only the president of the JONAS fan club, but ends up turning to mush every time she interacts with any of them.

Stella (Chelsea Staub) is Macy’s best friend, and has known the brothers all of her life. She is not only their fashion advisor, but is Jo’s best friend and the two have a not-so-well-hidden affection for one another. An affection that neither one is willing to act upon in case it should end up destroying their friendship.

Their Father (John Ducey) is their manager and is always looking for the newest JONAS product for the boys to endorse, while their eight-year-old brother Frankie (Frankie Jonas) is always trying to find some way to be part of the band and get some attention of his own.

The DVD contains five episodes from the first season, plus bonus features.

“Groovy Movies” – After finding out that they forgot their mother’s birthday, the boys decide to record all the family’s home videos onto DVDs. Everything that can go wrong does, and they end up destroying the tapes. Knowing that they can’t fix the problem, they decide to reenact and record all the old memories in a new way.

“Wrong Song” – When Nick falls too hard and too fast over a girl at school, he does what every young rock star does: he writes a song for her. Unfortunately, she thinks he wrote it for her to perform and dedicates the song to her boyfriend. Stella and Macy work on developing breakaway clothing (Stellcro) for the band so that when fans tear at the clothes the entire outfit isn’t ruined.

“Pizza Girl” – Picarillo’s is the worst pizza in town, but they have the prettiest pizza delivery girl. After spending $500 on pizzas, dad is forced to put down the law, forcing the brothers to go against the “Sacred Book of Jonas Law,” and compete against one another for her affections.

“Band’s Best Friend” – Jo’s best friend from elementary school comes for a visit, but he’s not the same person they remember. He’s gone rock-star crazy and needs to be shown what the rock-star lifestyle is really like. At the same time, Stella and Macy fight over a $50 potato chip Macy bought because it looked like Jo. The problem is that she paid for it using the money that she borrowed from her friend.

“Chasing the Dream” – Just before the president of the record company comes over to hear some of the new tracks the boys have been working on, they find out that their background singer is sick. So without thinking and not knowing she sounds like a wounded manatee Kevin invites Macy to sing on their songs. Now they have to find a way to hide her voice, while at the same time not hurt her feelings.

Bonus Features - Two previously unreleased episodes:

“Beauty and the Beat” - The three brothers accept an invitation to be the celebrity judges at the “Miss Most Amazing Teen Competition.” While Stella looks down on the pageant as a bunch of bumbling airheads on parade, she finds herself joining the contest after the guys say that they don’t think she’s pageant material.

“Cold Shoulder” - While on a world tour, Kevin falls for the Scandinavian fan club president. When she transfers to his school he is ecstatic that finally he has someone to share his unique perspective on life. But when she finds herself not fitting in and the other students laughing at her, she gets Stella to help her become a typical American girl.

“You’ve Just Been Jo Bro’d!: Surprising Chelsea Staub” - The Jonas brothers play a prank on co-star Chelsea Staub. While preparing for a photo shoot, the boys have another actor come in to harass Chelsea and pretend to be the prop master. The entire setup takes too long and unfortunately, he really doesn’t do anything that funny or interesting.

There’s also a Jonas trading card that could possibly be autographed by Nick.

Whether you are a fan of their music or anything else they’ve done up to this point, JONAS is the most entertaining of the Disney channel shows. The closest thing that it can be compared to is The Monkees television show, which aired from1966 to 1968. There’s plenty of slapstick, and running gags throughout each episode. They might speak directly to the camera, random props can appear in their hands, or they could break into the middle of a music video. You never know just what to expect next. It’s nice to see a television show that can be really funny and still remain family friendly.

Book of Jonas: