Sunday, June 22, 2008

Not High Schooled Enough Camp - King of the Camp, Camp Rock

King of the Camp - Airing repeatedly on Canada's YTV
Camp Rock - Airing repeatedly on abcFamily and once this past Saturday on ABC
Both are/will be available online.

King of the Camp is Canada's YTV attempt to replicate the success of High School Musical.

Camp Rock is Disney's own attempt to replicate its own success of High School Musical.

Apparently, they need to keep it in school, because summer camp isn't as much fun. And it doesn't work because ironically enough, both King of the Camp and Camp Rock just aren't campy enough as High School Musical which flew by on its cheesy campy charms and wonderfully addictive pop music and high camp characters (can you say Sharpay and Ryan?)

Ironically both were filmed around the Toronto region (and uh, I actually noticed my former boss was in the title credits for Camp Rock meaning if I stuck around, I probably could have worked on it, in fact, I got a job offer from him last year, which must have been for this show... hmm...) and sadly, both have this slow, low rent quality that is not aided by the brown grass and brown cabins of the summer camp settings.

While High School Musical looked like a TV movie, it looked like a TV movie splashed with a LOT of Reds and bright colours in a real high school that somehow became its charm.

The two Camp movies don't get that luck in production values. I can't believe I'm saying this since HSM wasn't exactly a high standard in production values in the first place but apparently it was.

Then again, I could say the same thing about the songs. The HSM songs were poppy and plain but incredibly catchy and stuck in our heads even after a first listen. The same can't be said for these two new TV-movie-musicals.

Though if I actually have to, I actually thought the Canadian made King of the Camp had better songs with more potential and only required better singing, better production values and perhaps a bit of editing. It looked like they intentionally were trying to camp it up but sadly the low productions values and low budgets probably didn't help, and the movie ran way too long. There was potential which more money and a better crew might have helped with (seriously, filming outside in the wind was a bit unintentionally hilarious and the bad hair styling didn't help). The cast that includes a likable though not totally TV camera ready yet Justin Stadnyk currently at the Shaw Festival's musicals.

Camp Rock has the benefit of casting the currently hot Jonas Brothers, with Joe Jonas (above centre) as the lead "bad boy rock musician" who is forced to attend a camp where he meets the poor girl (Demi Lovato) love interest. Nick and Paul Jonas show up briefly but it's too bad they didn't cast the youngest Jonas, Nick (above left) in the lead since I find he has the most charisma. I actually like the new Jonas Brothers single and probably have an unhealthily illegal liking to Nick Jonas but Joe Jonas makes for a sufficient if not slightly dull lead.

Lovato seems way too schooled in the SMILE-You're ON Disney Camera school of acting and seems way too precious and lacking the natural glow that Vanessa Hudgens had.

Both movies have the bitchy rich girl nemesis. Both movies have lots of song and dances around the camp cafeteria, songs outside in the woods, and other summer camp cliches, but neither can really carry their threadbare story which makes High School Musical look like Shakespeare. And sadly, neither camp movies are campy enough to be fun enjoyable guilty pleasures and gasp... are actually kind of boring. If it's a camp musical you are looking for, stick with the terrific little indie movie Camp from a few years back.

Here's the preview for King of the Camp:

Here's the first trailer for Camp Rock:


Linz McC said...

I am embarrassed to say I spent my Saturday night watching Camp Rock. I wouldn't be embarrassed if it were good, but it was obviously not, and I continued to watch it.

I think Nick could have been good as the lead, but Joe was fine, and at least it wasn't the oldest (Kevin?). His acting was not so hot. :(

Vance said...

Yeah, I left a party and instead of continuing in the clubs on one of the few Saturdays I was in town, I went home to watch Camp Rock. Sad...

Again, if it were nearly as joyous as HSM, I would have been fine with it but it was kind of tedious. In fact, I thought the CDN King of the Camp was bad but now looking back, it might have been slightly better actually. Well. No, but Disney really has no excuses.

HeoandReo said...

I have to agree. I enjoyed HSM, albeit as a guilty pleasure, but enjoyment nonetheless. I actually was at Camp Wahanowin (Set of 'King of the Camp') during the time where it was being shot. It wasn't really fun having to stand in the hot sun for several minutes, but my one-second moment of fame made it all worth it. Kind of. But I digress.

I agree with you about how King of the Camp is terrible, and I even wrote about it in my blog. King of the Camp was totally horrendous. My friends from the camp say otherwise, though, but I'm adamant. Cliche'd plot points, nonexistent character development, forgettable songs, and the pirate legend that will forever haunt my nightmares. This movie had it all.

I haven't seen Camp Rock, and I don't ever plan to, so I can't comment on that.

Dani B said...

Camp Rock was just bad. Demi has little sparkle required, and she seemed like she was grinning at her older brother when she grinned at Joe. But I suppose it's difficult to love a movie where the protagonist is a dull liar who sings okay.

Too bad they didn't use Alyson Stoner better.

Anonymous said...

While CAMP ROCK, at least the parts I could sit through was definitely no HSM, and sadly, played more like a promotional vehicle for the Jonas Bros. KING OF THE CAMP was a complete joke and everyone involved, from the producers on down should be incredibly embarrassed with the final product.

trop said...

King of the camp is one of those movies that make you hate being a Canadian.