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Last Song, The (2010) Print E-mail
Monday, 09 August 2010
ImageI don’t want to sound like a broken record, but…snooze alert.  This is a perfect teen, first-date movie.  Adult women may wish to just read the book and adult men can skip it all together.  Just knowing that is a movie based on a Nicholas Sparks’ novel (you know, the guy who wrote “The Notebook” and “Dear John,” see where I’m going with this?) is enough to know how it is going to turn out.  This movie is several seasons of a daytime soap opera turned in to one, one hour 45 minute long film.

If you are just a casual movie watcher then perhaps you can find something to enjoy in this film.  However, I for one sat there writhing in pain at every beat of the film.  Where should I begin?  Is the poor acting?  Maybe it is the overly melodramatic plot.  Or maybe it is the five hundred side plots that are going on at the same time.  Take your pick.

“The Last Song” was supposed to be Miley Cyrus’ big break into the world of more grown up filmmaking.  Trying to shed the image of Hannah Montana, Miley takes on a role that doesn’t require much.  Miley plays a tried and true character, a rebellious teenage daughter that has thrown away her piano-playing talent for 11 years as some sort of rebellion against her father for leaving them.  Way to get back at dad.  Deny yourself the one thing you love doing in this world.  Brilliant.

Anyway, I digress.  In something that was surely left out of the film to try and hold the suspense, Ronnie, real name Veronica, (Miley Cyrus) and her little brother are sent to leave arranged to be sent to Georgia for the summer to spend time with their father.  Ronnie wastes no time, storming out of the house and to the pier where she meets up with obviously the wrong sort of people.  She also encounters her crush for the rest of the film.

Ronnie’s dad (Greg Kinnear) does his best to get through to his daughter, who continues to shut him out until she is ready on her own to open up to him.  The cause of this breakthrough?  Why that would be the guy in her life, the guy that looks about 10 years too old for her.  The film continues in the “life is now good for once” fashion for a little while.  But we all know what is coming.  Like “Life Is A House” the father must be terminally ill, because that is the only reason for him to spend time with his children.
Life now falls apart for the children, but Ronnie sucks it up and decides to remain with her father until the end.  Sure this film has some tear jerking moments, but in the end it is just a sequence of cliché events.  At least “The Notebook” had some substance to it.  “The Last Song” just follows one trite moment into the next.  Having never read the book I cannot confirm this, but I don’t think it was merely the filmmakers that couldn’t keep this film suspenseful.  I don’t think the story has much depth to begin with in order to keep the audience for always knowing what is about to happen.

Not only do we know what is going to happen, but most of the time we also don’t care.  There are so many side plots that have nothing to do with the primary goal of the film that we lose interest in the main characters.  I don’t want to offend those out there that love this sort of film.  Anyone looking at this film already knows whether they have any interest in the film.  So for those that do like this sort of film, it is probably about average.  It is certainly not the best storytelling compared to other romantic dramas, but as far as teenage romance and family troubles are concerned the film gets the job done.

The video quality of this Blu-ray leaves the viewer without a thought about the quality of the image that they just saw.  The image is not terrible by any means, nor is spectacular.  It falls somewhere in the shrug your shoulders area.  The transfer appears to be faithful to the original intent, but at times it is difficult to tell.  The brightness of the image becomes an issue at times for scenes that take place on the brightly washed ocean backdrop.  Colors seem to be washed from the image during those sequences as well.  The image is not really sharp nor soft, again somewhere in between.  Shadows lack and real discernible edges or details, which is probably where the image could be most improved upon.  Texture is decent for indoor shots.  Fleshtones are fairly stable throughout.  In the end the image is what it is, but hardly anything really memorable about it.

“The Last Song” comes to Blu-ray with a DTS-HD 5.1 MA audio track that is faithful to the original mix.  As far as romantic dramas go, this film has a leg up in the soud design competition due to the fact it takes place on the beach, where a bit more can be done to draw in the audience.  While the film doesn’t go overboard with the sound design, what is present is reserved.  The rear channels are not overflowing with crashing waves and carnival ambience, but they do possess a slight immerse experience.  Room ambience is generally believable.  Dialogue is the primary element in the audio track and it is crystal clear.  However there are several occurrences in which the dialogue was obviously given a slight boost after the fact to compensate for a crashing wave or two.  Those occurrences break the cohesiveness of the audio track.  The LFE channel is absent as to be expected.  The film’s audio is primary front heavy, but stereo separation is nicely spread.  Overall, this is a decent rom-dram audio track.

The Blu-ray disc doesn’t come with a spectacular special features section but probably will suffice for casual fans.  There is an audio commentary with the director and producer of the film.  It is pretty dull and will put you to sleep faster than the film.  First the first time ever there is an alternate opening scene that I would have much preferred over what actually was used in the theatrical.  Unfortunately, the same doesn’t hold true for the collection of deleted scenes, which were wisely left on the cutting room floor.  There is a brief set tour hosted by a kid actor.  Finally there is a Miley Cyrus music video and a making of that music video.  The package also comes with a DVD Copy of the film.

“The Last Song” is meant for a very specific target audience.  And for that audience, this is an average film, nothing more.  The audio and video qualities are not super fantastic but they get the job done in high definition.  I can only recommend this film for the super avid Nicholas Sparks fan.

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