The Screening Room
THE STUDIO GATE
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
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
Special thanks to Click Communications
Photos: © BVHE. All
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
Sound: Very Good
The girls still can charm you
Aspect Ratio (1.33:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1
DVD RELEASE DATE
December 16, 2008