Saturday, April 11, 2009

Staying In Character: Hannah Montana and Peter Sellers

Originally, this post was going to be much longer, but given that it covered two topics, I decided to break it up instead.

Last night, I watched the 2004 HBO TV Movie The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. I've been on a real Peter Sellers streak as of late, and I've wanted to see this for some time. It was kind of disappointing. Geoffrey Rush does a good job inhabiting Sellers, as does Charlize Theron as Britt Ekland. The production and costume design was very period accurate as well, but it's not enough for me to recommend it.

The timeline is really screwy--Sellers made Casino Royale after After the Fox, for one thing. Also, the music seemed to be misplaced as well--"I Heard It Through The Grapevine" which plays in a montage set during Ekland and Sellers' courtship, came out in 1968 (Sellers and Ekland were married in 1964). In another instance, The Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go", which is placed before the making of Being There (released in 1979), came out in 1982. Finally, and most importantly, you don't really see what made Sellers special. Yes, he was an awful husband and parent, but even his children saw some good in him. To get the essence of Sellers, you need to go rent his movies.

Today, I saw Hannah Montana: The Movie, which wasn't bad. Anyone who's seen the show knows the story: Miley Stewart is an ordinary teenage girl with a secret. She moonlights as Hannah Montana, a big singing sensation. Hannah Montana was created so that Miley could maintain a sense of normalcy. In the movie, things come to a head with Hannah getting in the way of Miley having a normal life. There's also a subplot of a British Tabloid reporter trying to expose Hannah Montana. At the end, Miley takes off her Hannah wig and sings "The Climb". After telling the audience she can't keep up the facade anymore, a little girl tells Miley to put the wig back on--she'll keep it a secret!

I enjoyed it, knowing that if Miley/Hannah had been a real person, "Hannah Montana" would've been exposed a long time ago on TMZ. Also, I'm glad they picked Peter Chelsom to direct, as the movie's overall look actually looks like a movie, as opposed to a bigger budget Hannah Montana episode.

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