I sometimes dread having to watch certain films for the purpose of reviewing them. Going into it, I can honestly say that I was not looking forward to watching Teen Beach Movie when it arrived in the mail. However, Alex, my ten year old, couldn’t wait.
When we finally settled in the other night to check it out, I found myself dreading even putting it in the DVD player. The quality of things on The Disney Channel has gone down over the past few years, but I was willing to give this film a shot.
And I’m certainly glad I did! Teen Beach Movie was much, much, MUCH better than I was expecting it to be!
It tells the story of Mac, who spends her days surfing the waves with her boyfriend Brady and hanging with her grandfather. Unfortunately, the end of summer means she has to go away with her aunt to a prestigious private high school. The day she has to leave, Mac takes her board out for one last spin on the water. While in danger from an on-coming wave, Brady goes out to save her, and they both wind up in…a beach movie from 1962!
The premise is pretty cheesy, and the set up before the meat of film is not that great, but once the two leads wind up in the film “Wet Side Story,” it became an entirely different movie. They did a wonderful job of re-creating those cheesy 1960s beach films, and having two teenagers somehow stuck in one had more laughs than you would expect. Seriously. I found myself laughing more times than I would care to admit it. The writing is pretty sharp and witty, with some pretty great lines. “Why does she need a boy to make her happy?” “Because it’s 1962.” was a particular favorite of mine.
Again, the film does an excellent job of re-creating the 1960s beach films. The dialogue, acting, continuity errors, and quick scene changes are all there, and are pitch perfect. On top of that, the film that the teens find themselves in is a musical, so spontaneously breaking out into song DOES happen (and is addressed about how strange it is to break into song…during another song). Speaking of, the songs themselves are pretty catchy as well, and actually have me looking forward to getting the soundtrack. There is even a villainous subplot that, while does play into the end of the film, doesn’t really add anything over all…but I did find it quite funny.
It may have been the fact that we purchased the Back To The Future Lego set earlier in the day (so we already had it on the mind), but Alex and I noticed a lot of story similarities between the original Back To The Future and Teen Beach Movie. Both feature teens misplaced in the past, and run the risk of not getting back to their time if they can’t get two other characters to fall in love. There is also the threat of a storm, which is the catalyst to actually GET them back to their own time. That, and a casual reference to plutonium all left us comparing it to Back To The Future, but overall, it didn’t take away from the film.
The DVD has sparse extras, with some rehearsal footage of some of the impressive dance numbers, but that’s about it. The main attraction is the film itself.
Which, again, I definitely enjoyed. If you’ve ever watched a beach film before and found yourself enjoying it, do yourself a favor, and pick this one up. I have a hunch you will really like it! The film will be released on DVD on July 30th, 2013!
BUT, you can WIN A DVD COPY RIGHT NOW! Leave a comment below, and I’ll pick one winner by next Saturday, August 3rd, to receive a copy for themselves!
Will you be checking out this film when it hits DVD?
By Jeff Heimbuch
The Disney Review is written and edited by Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor
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