The Screening Room
cheetah girls one world
My personal policy on sequels states that no sequel shall be without the original cast. When a main cast member is missing, it's all downhill from there. "The Cheetah Girls" franchise isn't high quality entertainment to begin with, but it's got its charm and Disney Channel viewers have gravitated toward the fashionistas with singing pipes. For reasons unknown to me, Raven-Symoné isn't in "The Cheetah Girls: One World." The other Cheetah Girls with bizarre "Bratz" doll-like names of Chanel, Dorinda & Aqua are back, though.

"The Cheetah Girls: One World" is now on DVD.

This is the third movie for the girls and their adventures to become big pop stars. As far as Disney Channel musicals are concerned, I consider these "Cheetah" movies to be as thoughtful and deep as an episode of "Hannah Montana" with a bigger budget and flashier songs.

I watched the first movie with my daughter and didn't care for it. The first thing I noticed, and it annoyed me, were the character's names. I know, I know. They're fantasy characters and lots of little pre-teen girls love big girls who dress pretty and have exotic names. The idea of bizarre names to give one's child is beyond me, but I guess to each his or her own. Yet I couldn't get past the names: Galleria (Raven-Symoné) which reminded me of the Galleria in the San Fernando Valley, or any other mall name; Chanel (Adrienne Bailon) after a perfume; Aqua (Keily Williams), Spanish for water; and Dorinda (Sabrina Bryan) sounded almost like the name of a popular chip. I also didn't like the extensive use of zoom lenses to give the movie a "hip" look. But that's the film guy in me.

I watched the second movie wasn't anymore into it. This time, they went to Spain and met every Spanish hunk they could see. They sung and danced to carefully choreographed and studio mixed audio. I yawned. My daughter enjoyed it and that's what matters in movies like these.

With Raven-Symoné out of the picture in "One World," I sat down and watched the newest movie with apprehension. It's something you do as a father; you watch a movie with your kid even if it's not something you normally watch. Much to my surprise, I didn't hate this sequel. I don't think it's superb entertainment, or very thoughtful. It's still fluff. Yet for a Disney Channel musical lacking its star, it's not so bad and it actually is superior to the first two movies.

The girls get an invitation to go to Bollywood (India) to star in a big movie. They arrive and discover that only one of them can be the star. Gasp! Conflict within the Cheetah Girls is not so good, girlfriend. You just hope that the Cheetahs will get "Cheetah-licious" again.

The film is loaded with big dance numbers and ultra-quick editing like its predecessors. The dialogue and acting is thin and the plot is incredibly obvious. There are the normal "hunks" that the girls fall for (and we know how well long, long, long distance relationships work), and there are plenty of scenes using cell phones. With that snarky critique out of the way, how was the movie?

Not too bad if you let your mind go. I found that I enjoyed the songs enough to overlook the story. Yes, it's disheartening and a little bit weird when the girls suddenly start singing in a restaurant. It's like those moments when someone starts singing to you. The songs, though not too memorable, are good. The Cheetahs are every bit studio tweaked as most teen pop sensations. I don't doubt that the girls can sing for real, but they are undoubtedly aided by studio mixers. Their voices and sound are much too polished. I can overlook the behind-the-scenes wizardry and still enjoy what this movie presents. The standout songs are "Cheetah Love," "Dig a Little Deeper," and "Dance Me If You Can." Each song is geared for pop and dance music fans, but they have a good beat to them.

The Cheetahs are also known for elaborate dance moves. I can't dance and I don't care to watch it, so the big dance numbers in "One World" seem repetitive. Yet I understand there's a lot of work to it and it shows in this movie.

Without Raven-Symoné, I don't think the movie is missing her. That's not to say she's not talented, because she is. I don't think she carried the first two movies, as they were designed to highlight the Cheetah Girls as a whole. The remaining cast does a fine job in carrying the Cheetah load, if you will. They're each cute girls with gleaming smiles that are bright enough to light up the screen. Movies usually work better with three main characters than four anyway.

"One World" won't win new fans of The Cheetah Girls, but it won't scare them away.
Bill Kallay

Special thanks to Click Communications

Photos: © BVHE. All rights reserved.
DVD Quick Glimpse



The story is predictable, the dance routines are predictable, yet the songs are pretty good!

Director: Paul Hoen  

Cast: Adrienne Bailon, Sabrina Bryan, Kiely Williams, Roshan Seth  

"Backstage Disney," bloopers, and more


Picture: Good
Sound: Very Good

The girls still can charm you

Aspect Ratio (1.33:1)

Dolby Digital 5.1

December 16, 2008
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