The Last Song (2010)

Genre(s): Drama / Romance
Touchstone || PG - 107 minutes - $29.99 || August 17, 2010
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2010-08-12


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Julie Anne Robinson
Writer(s): Nicholas Sparks (book); Nicholas Sparks & Jeff Van Wie (screenplay)
Cast: Miley Cyrus, Greg Kinnear, Bobby Coleman, Liam Hemsworth, Kelly Preston


Theatrical Release Date: March 31, 2010


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • 2 Featurettes
  • Music Video


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

The Last Song is the latest novel-to-screen adaptation from tear-meister and author Nicholas Sparks who previously had several of his novels come to the big screen including Message in the Bottle, The Notebook, A Walk to Remember and Dear John. Admittedly, I have only seen The Notebook and enjoyed it for what it is: a drama for the hopeless romantic where the mystery isnít all that mysterious and the tear jerking moments so transparent. The same can be said for The Last Song, except done with less finesse and talent, though mostly behind the camera.

The movie centers on Ronnie Miller (MILEY CYRUS) is a rebellious teenager forced Ė along with her younger brother (BOBBY COLEMAN) Ė to spend the summer in Georgia with her estranged father, Steve (GREG KINNEAR) who lives in a nice cabin by the beach. As you can imagine, Ronnie has no interest in reconnecting with her father and begins to sulk about with the Goth-like world-is-so-cruel scowl on her face.

While moping about on the beach, she buys a smoothie and gets clobbered by volleyball/aquarium volunteer/grease monkey Will Blakelee (LIAM HEMSWORTH) who immediately tries to work his charm on her but she quickly rejects him and goes on her sulky little way, scowl more evident than ever. Surely these two wonít meet again...

Well, in the meantime we soon discover that this dark and possibly disturbed teenage girl does in fact have a heart when she protects some baby turtles from being breakfast, lunch and dinner by a hungry raccoon. After building a makeshift shelter for the turtles, she calls the habitat agency for someone to come out and build a proper boundary and lo and behold the guy they send out is in fact good ole Will Blakelee.

The rest of the film finds Ronnieís barriers slowly breaking down as Will tries to show he is not just a constant flirt despite all the women, including an ex, hanging around and talking crap about Ronnie. Then on the home front, Ronnie and dad try to get closer as he has a secret. Then thereís another lame side story involving a girl named Blaze who befriends Ronnie but while hanging out, Blaze believes Ronnie is going after her man and later on frames Ronnie for shoplifting, something which Ronnie did do back at home in New York.

** Spoilers Below **

Let me say first, I think The Last Song receives some unfair criticisms because it stars Miley Cyrus and I content that if it were Kristen Stewart or some other young actress, it wouldnít have received some of the vitriol that I have read around the Net. However, Iím also not prepared to say that Cyrus gives some amazing performance; in fact her inexperience does sometimes show during certain key scenes. That said, she doesnít get much help behind the camera either.

The film was directed by Julie Anne Robinson who makes her directorial theatrical release debut after helming several TV series and a TV movie or two. Iím no expert on how to direct scenes or camera angles and such but I felt many instances with this film that the direction couldíve been better. For instance, about half-way through, Ronnie, after years of refusing to play the piano, finally plays for Will and although itís not a powerful scene by any stretch, it was well played only to be ruined by, when she finishes and they embrace, we get an uplifting piece of score. Then thereís the editing, which I guess could go back to the director, by Nancy Richardson (Twilight) was awfully awkward.

In regards to the performances, Miley Cyrus plays... well, Miley Cyrus. I donít think she gives a particularly terrible performance, but she also doesnít make much of an impact which of course weighs down the entire film since she is the central character. Of all the cast, Greg Kinnear gets the thankless job of playing the hapless father trying to connect with his daughter, but to make matters worse, his dramatic turn during the final act couldíve been cringe worthy, and in fact there were moments that were, Kinnear is a good enough actor to sleepwalk through the role, a role that was made for some movie on Lifetime. So for that, I give Kinnear credit.

** End Spoilers **

The Last Song may not be terrible as many people on the Internet have made it out to be since it does star Miley Cyrus, but that doesnít mean itís worth paying to actually see, be it as a purchase or a rental. There were a few good moments and I was pleasantly surprised that it did not go the same route as the incredibly annoying According to Greta, but the story itself is still generic and awfully predictable, there was not one moment I didnít see coming 5 miles away.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Audio Commentary Ė Director Julie Anne Robinson and Producer Jennifer Gibot offer up a low-key but informative commentary gives the 411 (arenít I hip?) on the behind-the-scenes action from the casting to filming locations and more. Itís not my type of track but others might find the information to be interesting.

Set Tour with Bobby Coleman (5:06) Ė The young actor takes us around the set ďinterviewingĒ members from the cast and crew. Yeah, these always turn out well...

The Blu-ray also includes the Making of the Music Video, ďWhen I Look at YouĒ (4:20) and the Music Video (4:16) itself.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The Last Song is presented in its original anamorphic 2.35 aspect ratio. Although some recent DVD releases have been less than stellar especially when in comparison to their Blu-ray counterparts (when included with the BD), this one I will say looks pretty darn good. Background objects donít look the best but when we get up close on the people or other objects, I found the detail levels were good and I notice no dust, scratches or other flaws and itís only during the darker scenes that some pixilation rears its ugly head, but itís not terribly noticeable.

Meanwhile, the Dolby Digital 5.1 track is perfectly suitable for a movie like this. The opening scene with the church fire offers the most depth while during the more dialogue or music scenes sound crisp and clear.



.::OVERALL::.

The Last Song isnít a brilliant dramedy by any stretch and while Miley Cyrus is hardly a thespian actress, I didnít think she did a horrible job. If anything failed this film it wasnít the cast as Greg Kinnear does his best with what is a Lifetime Movie Channel role, but instead the direction and editing were not the best and add in a sappy screenplay and youíve got a film that really isnít worth your hard earned money unless you are a hardcore Miley fan and must see this.