jonas bros 


By Bill Kallay

The Jonas Brothers seem like good guys. They spend time with their parents and they please both so-called soccer moms and their daughters with inoffensive music with hidden meaning. They write many of their own songs, and can play instruments. They're a Disney creation, or at least Disney built them into the machine they are today. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose. But are the Jonas Bros. the real deal?

"Jonas Brothers: The Concert Experience (Extended Movie)" is now available on Blu-ray.

Sitting through this movie was an experience in patience. Directed by Bruce Hendricks ("Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour"), this film uses the same template as the Miley Cyrus movie. There's tons of concert footage mixed with backstage action, mixed with short clips of their fans going wild. The film even begins with a Beatlesque chase down the streets. What it amounts to is a bland and often dull movie. My daughter went to the concert at Honda Center when this film was shot. She could sit through the live show, but the movie she couldn't.

"It's boring, dad," she said leaving the room and leaving me to review it.

Concert films are usually difficult to sit through, even for the most die hard fan. It's just not the same as being there with thousands of other screaming fans. It takes a lot of skill on the part of the director to bring out a live show onto film/video and make it work. It also takes a band or singer who's dynamic enough to command both the live audience and the audience at home. Unfortunately for the Jo Bros., they're almost too squeaky clean. 

One of the reasons why Miley Cyrus's concert film worked was her personality. No, I don't think she's a good singer, but what she does have is confidence of a grown-up stage act in a teenage body. Like her personality or not, she commands the stage and gives that movie energy. The Jo Bros, with all their jumping around and pointing into the audience, don't leave a lasting impression. They're too nice and too willing to please. Their music may have some licks and chops, but the songs are forgettable and sometimes ear piercing from the light tenor voices. I found myself turning down the sound.

Disney built the Jonas Brothers from pushing them into the spotlight on "Hannah Montana." Like a bad '70s sitcom, Miley Cyrus mentions loudly, "Hey, it's the Jonas Bros.!" The audience scratches their heads, "Who?" They had done a remake of Kim Wilde's "Kids in America" for "Meet the Robinsons," and then had another hyped cameo in the "Hanna Montana" concert movie in 2008. It was then the band started getting more exposure. The only reason why I know this stuff is from being around my daughter who watches Disney Channel a lot.

The Jonas Brothers have apparently written and recorded a lot of songs in little time. My daughter can recite the songs verbatim. For their young age, they are accomplished in playing their instruments. No doubt. Yet it's the screechy tenor of the lead singers (who sound nearly alike, I get them mixed up) that has me covering my ears. I'm not an old man and I don't hate the Jonas Brothers personally. I just can't get into their singing and music.

Every generation of teenagers, and now pre-teens, have their own idols. In the 1950s, it was Elvis Presley. In the 1960s, it was either The Beatles or for the troublemakers, The Rolling Stones. But then there's been the bubblegum side: Shawn Cassidy, David Cassidy, Peter Frampton, Duran Duran, Rick Springfield, New Kids on the Block, N*Sync, etc. Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers are this generation's bubble gum pop idols. There's really nothing wrong with kids going crazy over groups who appeal to that period in their life. It's interesting to see a clip of the Jonas Brothers flipping through TV channels and The Beatles come up on the screen. Is the director trying to compare the Jonas Brothers with The Beatles?

Disney and Rolling Stone magazine have placed the Jonas Bros. onto a pedestal making them seem like the next great music act. I guess I don't see it. You can see greatness and staying power in early footage of The Beatles. They had a dynamic and the ability to cross most generational lines. My grandparents probably couldn't listen to "Revolution," but they could listen to "Yesterday" with no problem. How many grandparents can listen to a Jonas Brothers song?

I guess I'm a bit jaded most music lately has been forgettable and univolving. It's hard for me to take most acts seriously anymore. The radio is dominated by American Idol creations, endless repeats of The Eagles singing "Hotel California" on dinosaur rock stations, hip hop (which has never appealed to me), or constant play of oldies from the 1960s-1980s. Nearly every act is now a corporate or agent/promoter creation. So now we get the Jonas Brothers.

The Blu-ray picture is excellent, showing a lot of detail and color. It was shot digitally, so the film has a distinct look to it. There is occassional flickering in some shots, but this probably from the use of smaller 24p camcorders. I watched the 2-D version of the movie and found the picture excellent. Detail and depth-of-field is excellent. Color is very strong. 3-D makes my eyes go nuts, and I think it's a hassle to wear flimsy glasses for 89-minutes which delute the colors.

The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is very good, but with some reservations. Since my daughter (and wife) have the CD, I've heard the band's studio work. The audio seems to be mixed with a lot of treble, making for sometimes difficult listening on both a car radio or my reference system. The same goes for the Blu-ray's master soundtrack. Joe & Nick's voices come across a bit high-pitched. The music mix from the concert footage is also in the high range. Concert Blu-ray discs like "The Rolling Stones: Shine a Light" and "The Last Waltz" have better soundtracks.

There really hasn't been a signifcant act in the last 20 years that has appealed to most people. That's not to say that music shouldn't be diverse and inventive. It is to say I miss the inventiveness of bands who could play their own instruments and sound reasonably good when singing. Mick Jagger doesn't have a great singing voice, for instance. But his on-stage charisma, classic song catalog and band make up for his weakness. Perhaps because the Jonas Brothers are still so young, we're not seeing the truth or their lasting potential behind the Disney hype.       

Special thanks to Click Communications

Photos: © BVHE. All rights reserved.


Even die hard Jonas Brothers fans might find this hard to sit through

Director: Bruce Hendricks

Cast: Kevin, Joe, Nick Jonas   

More Jonas


Picture: Excellent
Sound: Very Good

Aspect Ratio (1.85:1)

dts hd

June 30, 2009

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