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|Kevin Krock, editor|
Before this movie, I had no exposure to the Disney Channel show Even Stevens, so I had no knowledge of the characters in the show or their relationships to one another. The Even Stevens Movie is essentially a really long episode with some bad CGI thrown in because they must have had a bigger budget.
The basic story is that the Stevens family wins a vacation to the tropical island of Mandelino, where they will experience all that the island and its native people have to offer. What the family doesn't know is that they are actually on a reality show and all of the islanders are actors. The host of the show, Miles McDermott (Tim Meadows) does everything he can think of to cause the family all kinds of trouble. In the end, the family members resolves their differences and gets the better of the host, in true Disney style.
One standout performance of the movie is Shia LaBeouf (Holes) as Louis Stevens. Even with the limited material he is given, he shows a lot of potential as a young comedian who can play silly without going over the top.
The extras on the disc are aimed at a younger audience, and may be of interest to families viewing the movie together. The Survival Challenge Game has the viewers split into two teams and go through a series of 10 mental and physical challenges accumulating points along the way. The games are hosted by Christy Carlson Romano who gives the directions to such challenges as identifying jungle animal sounds, making a scary face, and guessing which character wore a particular outfit in the movie.
The party planning extra is accessed through the DVD-ROM portion of the disc, so it will require a computer with a DVD-ROM drive. There are various lists, activities and invitations to help you throw your own tropical-themed party.
The audio commentary is done by the two actors who portray the main characters of the movie - Christy Carlson Romano and Shia LaBeouf. They share anecdotes about the series and filming, but there's a lot of dead air and it's obvious that they recorded their commentaries in separate locations. I can imagine it would have been vastly more amusing if they'd been able to play off of each other given that each asserted they developed an almost brother/sister relationship over the several years that they did the series together..
The Audio, Video, and Interface
The audio quality is good, but there's not much in the movie that makes you sit up and take notice, save a few scenes with ambient "jungle noise." The video quality is also good, however the low-budget computer graphics are glaringly obvious and rather jarring given the beauty of the Hawaiian scenery where a portion of the movie was filmed.
The Final Evaluation
It's not the worst movie I've seen, but it didn't really draw me in as someone who is unfamiliar with the series. I can imagine that fans of the series will be glad to see this movie finally reach DVD, and it would make a good movie that the family can watch as a group. The extra games also might provide a bit of amusement if you can make it through them all.
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Stephanie here.
Kevin Doc Krock is been a long-time animation buff and home theater fan. He's been following the rise of the DVD format in the home market since its introduction, and he hopes to help you make the most of your family's home theater viewing time and video collections.
You can contact Kevin here.
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