DVD Review: “The Jonas Brothers: The Concert Experience”

The Jonas Brothers: The Concert Experience (2009, Disney)
purchase from Amazon: DVD

Disney attempts to create the same excitement that surrounded the Beatles with the opening of their new DVD, Jonas Brothers: The Extended Concert Experience. We watch the three brothers, Nick, Joe and Kevin Jonas wake up early in the morning for a TV show appearance, we see them banter about like real brothers, making fun of each other and, in Joe’s case, hitting on the cute young woman assigned to cater to their breakfast needs, and then attempt to get through morning NY traffic on their way to the television studio. Trapped in their SUV, the boys decide to get out of their car and run through the streets of Manhattan chased by a swarm of screaming teenage girls, a la A Hard Day’s Night. For some reason, this homage to the Beatles felt cheap. Are these guys really worthy to be compared to the fab four? I guess the question isn’t for me to answer, because my two kids loved the opening and found it hilarious.

Oh, how I look forward to the day we get to watch the Beatles together!

Alas, the behind-the-scenes footage interspersed throughout this movie isn’t as important as the main attraction: Seeing the Jonas Brothers perform on stage in front of more screaming girls while a tight band and a string section accompany them and flames shoot from the stage. The boys, who just a couple years ago were opening for Disney’s other sensation, Miley Cyrus, are now full-fledged headliners and they want to prove to the world that they’re the real deal. Nick and Kevin carry guitars throughout the show and Nick also sits down at the piano for one of his trademark poignant ballads later in the film.

As the film progresses, the roles of all three seem to define themselves: Joe is the sexy one who lives it up performing for the girls. He sings lead or co-lead (with Nick) on every song and really plays to the crowd. Nick is the quiet, artistic one. I don’t want to diminish the input of the other two on the songwriting duties, but I don’t think it’s a mistake that Nick’s name is listed first in all of the credits. Nick also can wail on the drums pretty well, I believe they were his first instrument. As for Kevin, well I’m not sure what all Kevin does. He hams it up for the camera, sings backup and plays a mean rhythm guitar. If I was being cynical… well, let’s not. They seem like nice guys so I’m sure Kevin does a lot of behind the scenes stuff that we don’t see in this film.

I am very impressed that the Jonas Brothers write most of their material. That said, every single word out of their mouths comes across as so earnest that it’s difficult to take in huge doses. Moreover, Joe has a tendency to get a little pitchy when singing. Kudos to the band for not rerecording any of the vocals; next time just they need to make sure it’s the greatest performance ever when putting it down on HD.

Sitting still to watch Jonas Brothers: The Extended Concert Experience. with my children was sometimes a little too much for my tastes. But the kids loved every minute of the film. From the in-between bits, including a trio of silly “fake Jonas Brothers” who interview fanatics, to watching them be the first ones to buy their new CD at midnight the day it’s released, to every single thing they did on stage. I am happy to say that they were less impressed with guest star Demi Lovato, who joins the brothers for a song. If there is one person trying too hard to be a “star,” it’s this young lady. She has talent, but she’s too much. More appealing was Taylor Swift coming out for her song, “You Should’ve Said No.” Her performance is pretty fierce. Not sure where the filming of this movie fell into the whole Joe breaking up with Taylor over the phone affair. I imagine it happened before the movie was shot, otherwise I don’t think they would have been so polite on stage.

The bonus features on the DVD are kind of sparse. There are two bonus songs and a behind the “Disney Backstage” featurette about the boys on tour. The DVD also comes with a digital download. Nothing earth-shattering. Overall, The Concert Experience is something for the younger set and tolerable if it’s on in the background. But it’s not the Beatles.

Disney has also released this a Blu-ray version of the movie that includes the Blu-ray, a DVD, a Digital Download and the movie in 3-D, as it was originally shown in theaters. That version is available here.

I have a Blu-ray copy of the movie to give away. Email me at [email protected] by Wednesday, July 15 to have your name entered into a contest for this free DVD courtesy of Disney and Click Communications.