After enjoying the first film and the success it achieved, everybody including me were waiting for the highly anticipated second installment, which premiered on September 3rd, 2010. September 3rd? For a movie all about summer, couldn’t it have been a little earlier, maybe even taking the second last week of August like ‘High School Musical 2’ did? That’s like releasing a Christmas movie in January. Anyway, I progress.
‘Camp Rock 2’ sees Mitchie returning to Camp Rock as she is excited to spend the summer that’s all about the music and like she says during “It’s A Brand New Day” song “drama free”, no more Tess drama like the summer before, and you know spend time actually dating Shane, after what we assume they’ve been spending the past year emailing each other as a long distance relationship. However, not everything seems sunshine and rainbows as the camp across the lake has opened titled Camp Star and steals their staff and some of their “rockers” at the rival camp, leaving Camp Rock to shut down. However, Mitchie has a plan and they run Camp Rock as staff members instead. This eventually leaves the two camps to compete in the final jam.
Now, I feel conflicted as I did with ‘High School Musical 2’, there are elements that I think are better than the first film, however there are moments that just doesn’t work and instead feels like I’m watching a TV sitcom movie, like ‘HSM2’.
What works is the characters chemistry towards one another, everyone seems like they are having so much fun working on this movie. However, the story doesn’t seem as strong as the first film, as this sequel feels like it’s all over the place a little. At one point it is all about trying to make the camp survive, but then drop the staff idea because we need to rehearse for the final jam against Camp Star (which doesn’t come into the movie until the film’s 45 minute mark). The film seems a tad bit goofy, compared to the first film, like what is up with some of these lines like Jason (Kevin Jonas) saying to Nate (Nick Jonas) “we shouldn’t probably have tied his shoes together”, leaving Shane to fall off a truck with a chicken on his head. Why did you tie his shoes together for? You wanted Shane to fall and make a fool out of your brother? Just seems to be funny, but when you think about it, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. If it was a little on later in the film as a prank in a different setting, then its purpose is to get a laugh. There are moments of dialogue like this that just make me want to face palm myself.
Okay, it seems like I’m negative on this movie, but that’s not really the case. There are so many good things about this sequel. Some key moments are perfectly written and acted quite convincingly. An example includes after Shane’s water fight when he wants to go on a moonlight date with his girlfriend, however Mitchie is swept up in Camp Star drama and needs to fix these sheets that Shane completely destroyed. It’s a great contrasting scene of having fun and being romantic, while also taking the serious sides of things about wanting to win against the rival camp. It’s a great scene that shows that both of them are right, however just don’t see eye to eye as it is beautifully reflected off the song that follows “Wouldn’t Change A Thing” – one of the film’s better songs that shows that relationships and even friendships to an extent is hard to work out and that why there is things you don’t like, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be worked out and the song does a great job illustrating that – that could have been just a break-up song, but starts off like that and ends as a resolution that the film’s romantic duo “wouldn’t change a thing”. This scene described shows Demi Lovato’s acting range, being the film’s truly breakout star that shines brightly during this film, and the best acting I’ve seen from Lovato thus far.
Other scenes that work pretty well thanks to the acting and the writing is Uncle Brown’s scene with Mitchie’s mother about Mitchie’s decision to enter Camp Wars and that only one will survive. Again, like the scene mentioned before, it is a great contrasting scene as both sides have their valid points that Mitchie’s mother thinks this is a great idea for the camp to get free exposure, while Brown sees it as a trap and that the camp will look like a joke compared to Camp Star’s flashy sets and robust choreography. The film’s resolution is perfectly executed by showing emotion, rather than just tell. It’s a really effective scene and a nice wrap up of the film as a whole with “This is Our Song” – another great song. Other great acting talents is Meaghan Jette Martin and Chloe Bridges who is fueled by writing that feels natural and I really liked the romance arc between Chloe and Nick Jonas. She is by far the most interesting new character of the newbies.
The film’s music is a bit of a mixed bag. While there are some greats like “Brand New Day”, “This is Our Song”, “Wouldn’t Change A Thing”, “Introducing Me” and “You’re My Favourite Song”. There are some that come across as too generic like “Different Summers” and “Walkin’ in My Shoes”. Before I conclude, “Introducing Me” may not be a great song, but what it does is help introduce the character of Nate, not just too Dana, but to the audiences as well. It’s a great character driven song.
This review went for a little too long, but I wanted to get down some of these points that restrict the film from being a spectacular sequel and moments that elevate it to being a good film. In the end, ‘Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam’ is somewhere in the upper middle. It can be fun, it has some nice songs and has great moments that reflect on character, writing and some strong acting.
‘Camp Rock 2’ isn’t my favourite song, but it is “perfectly imperfect”.