The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Disney - 2010
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 107 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Miley Cyrus, Liam Hemsworth, Bobby Coleman, Greg Kinnear, Kelly Preston
Directed by: Julie Anne Robinson
Music by: Aaron Zigman
Written by: Nicholas Sparks & Jeff Van Wie based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks
Region Code: 1
Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 17, 2010
"Do you ever really forget your first heartbreak?"
Miley Cyrus shines as the star of this heartwarming coming-of-age movie that will strike your emotional chords. Based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks (Dear John, The Notebook), The Last Song follows Ronnie (Cyrus) and her estranged father as he tries to restore the loving relationship they once had. But reconnecting with his rebellious daughter isn't easy, so he chooses the one thing they still have in common -- music.
Adapted from the Nicholas Sparks novel this film is steeped high in drama, romance, and tragedy. As such it is of course built around an oft used formula that has been rehashed to the point that calling it predictable seems redundant. That doesn't necessarily equate to a bad movie as along as there are other aspects that can draw us in. The story revolves around 18 year old Ronnie (Cyrus), once a piano playing prodigy, who has refused to play since her parents divorce when she was a preteen. She and her brother Jonah (Bobby Coleman) arrive at the beach to spend the summer with their father Steve (Kinnear). Ronnie is bitter over the divorce and faults her father for leaving them. Prior to the children arriving at the beach house a mysterious fire guts the oldest structure in the community, a Baptist church. Ronnie makes it clear from the start that she didn't choose to come and she has no interest in reconnecting with her father or playing the piano. Jonah cherishes time with his dad and encourages Ronnie to try and get along.
Things begin to change when Ronnie meets local boy and all around good guy Will who is smitten with her right from the start. After a bit of a frosty reception she warms up to him, and the two become an item. Through Will Ronnie learns to trust in a close relationship again and actually opens up to her father and the prospect of playing again. The moment of enchantment is short lived after Ronnie learns that Will didn't divulge a secret regarding the widespread rumor that her father was to blame for the church fire. This is further exacerbated by her discovery that her father has also been keeping an unrelated and potentially devastating secret of his own. Ronnie once again suffers heartbreak and feelings of betrayal. It will take another leap of faith and understanding the true meaning of love for her to once again open her heart.
I must admit that I am not particularly a Miley Cyrus fan although I honestly have nothing against her. I have reviewed several of her films on Blu-ray and wasn't really looking forward to sitting through The Last Song. The silver lining for me in this case was the fact that Greg Kinnear is in it which had to mean there would be some redeeming factor. As you might expect this film goes pretty heavy on the schmaltz which in and of itself is tolerable but the script branches off in too many melodramatic directions which decentralizes the storyline. I liked the portrayal of the father/son relationship between Steve and Jonah. Greg Kinnear is a great character actor and gives a credible and genuine performance opposite young Bobby Coleman (who does a fine job as well) which represents the film's best moments. Miley Cyrus isn't a strong actress and her turn as the angry/love struck/revived teen Ronnie is bland and lacking in sufficient chemistry with her co-stars. As someone who enjoys a good romance/tear jerker this film misses the mark, although I'd be lying if I said that there aren't a few touching moments. When all is said and done The Last Song's not a terrible movie it just isn't a memorable one.
The rating is for thematic material, some violence, sensuality and mild language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The last song comes to Blu-ray from Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.6 Mbps.
This video presentation from Disney is consistent with most newer release films coming to Blu-ray and looks great. Colors are bright, with vivid primaries, and natural levels of saturation which makes them visually pleasing. Contrast and brightness are nicely balanced which adds punch to colors and brightly lit scenes while keeping darker elements dynamic and gradational. Complexions are rich in tonal delineation with lifelike highlights that look great in high definition. Images are crisp with stable sharpness and appreciable refinement that brings out plenty of subtle texture within the objects and people onscreen. I didn't see any obvious compromises to fidelity and thought that this high definition rendering looked pristine.
The DTS-HD MA soundtrack features a solid surround mix that capably renders the elements present in the recording. Dialogue is crisp, well intonated and lucid through the center channel. Sonic detail is rendered with subtle clarity and high fidelity that draws out appreciable subtle nuance. Dynamics are robust and add solidity to the film's music. Surround use is limited but its presence opens up the soundstage nicely.
- (HD) Alternate opening sequence: The church fire - with optional director commentary
- (HD) 5 deleted scenes with optional director commentary
- (HD) Set tour with Bobby Coleman - 5 minute feature
- (HD) Making of the music video When I look at you with Miley Cyrus - 4 minute feature
- (HD) When I look at you Music Video
- Audio commentary with director Julie Anne Robinson & co-producer Jennifer Gibgot
- Bonus DVD of The Last Song
The last song is the film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name. Steeped high in drama, romance, and tragedy it utilizes an oft used formula that has been rehashed to the point that calling it predictable seems redundant. As genre fans know this doesn't necessarily equate to an unrewarding film however the script branches off in too many melodramatic directions which when combined with Miley Cyrus's bland and uninspired lead performance makes for an unremarkable and ultimately forgettable genre entry that will more than likely only appeal to diehard fans. On the upside its high definition presentation on Blu-ray Disc from Disney looks terrific and features clear lossless DTS-HD Master Audio sound and a below average compliment of extras that include an alternate opening sequence, deleted scenes, audio commentary, the Miley Cyrus music video When I look at you and a bonus DVD of The Last Song. Fans of the film can feel free to pick this one up but otherwise it is best viewed as a rental.
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