Prom: 2-Disc Combo Pack (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
August 18, 2011 by Dennis Amith
“Prom” has its fair share of fun moments but also is hurt by its missed potential. If you are a tween, teen or a parent looking for an upbeat prom film, then Disney’s “Prom” is definitely for you!
Images courtesy of © 2011 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
FILM RELEASE DATE: 2011
DURATION: 104 minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (widescreen 1:78:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD MA (48 kHz/24-bit), French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 DVS, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish
RATED: PG (For Mild Language and a Brief Fight)
COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: August 30, 2011
Directed by Joe Nussbaum
Written by Katie Wech
Produced by Ted Griffin, Justin Springer
Executive Produced by Sean Bailey and Samson Mucke
Music by Deborah Lurie
Cinematography by Byron Shah
Edited by Jeffrey M. Werner
Casting by Gail Goldberg, Marcia Ross
Production Design by Mark White
Art Direction by Nick Ralbovsky
Set Decoration by Jennifer Lukehart
Costume Design by Shoshana Rubin
Aimee Teegarden as Nova Prescott
Thomas McDonnell as Jesse Richter
DeVaughn Nixon as Tyler Barso
Danielle Campbell as Simone Daniels
Yin Chang as Mei Kwan
Jared Kusnitz as Justin Wexler
Nolan Sotillo as Lucas Arnaz
Cameron Monaghan as Corey Doyle
Kylie Bunbury as Jordan Lundley
Joe Adler as Rolo
Janelle Ortiz as Ali Gomez
Jonathan Keltz as Brandon Roberts
Nicholas Braun as Lloyd Taylor
Raini Rodriguez as Tess Torress
Christine Elise as Sandra Richter
Robbie Tucker as Charlie Richter
Dean Norris as Frank Prescott
Faith Ford as Kitty Prescott
At ―Prom‖, every couple has a story and no two are exactly alike. For Nova Prescott (Aimee Teegarden), it’s a classic tale of opposites attracting when she finds herself drawn to the guy (Thomas McDonell) who gets in the way of her perfect prom. Share the laughter and the drama as secrets are brought to light, seemingly steady relationships unravel and new romance catches fire. Get ready for this hilariously heartfelt date with destiny featuring a hot ensemble cast of rising young stars and cool bonus features. There are hundreds of nights in high school, but there’s only one Prom!
Prom. The anxiety of trying to find a date, going with your friends to get a tuxedo or a dress, renting a limo and finding out what to do later in the night.
And when it comes to movies, there have been a good number of prom films in the ’80s from “Footloose” and “Pretty In Pink”, the 90’s with “She’s All That”, “American Pie” and “10 Things I Hate About You” but lately, prom films have become more horror-driven, and in recent memory for non-horror prom film’s in recent years, the only thing that comes to mind is the 2004 film “Mean Girls” and the 2008 film “High School Musical 3”.
But in terms of a film that primarily focuses on a high school prom, I guess America’s due for a new prom film.
And so we have Disney’s “Prom” directed by Joe Nussbaum (“George Lucas in Love”, “American Pie Presents the Naked Mile”) and written by Katie Wech.
The film focuses on a group of teenagers from the same high school preparing for the prom.
The main protagonist is class president Nova (played by Aimee Teegarden, “Friday Night Lights”), the over-achiever and the person responsible for planning this year’s high school prom. Helping her are Mei (played by Yin Chang, “Gossip Girl”), Ali (played by Janelle Ortiz), Brandon (played by Jonathan Keltz) and Rolo (played by Joe Adler).
Nova likes Brandon and hopes he will take her to the prom. While her friend Mei plans to go to the prom with her boyfriend Justin Wexler (played by Jared Kusnitz, “Secret Life of the American Teenager”) and Ali wants to go with Rolo, but Rolo insists that he is going with a popular teen super model (which Ali has a hard time believing).
Another student named Lloyd (played by Nicholas Braun) is the meek guy who doesn’t have many friends and usually complains to his younger sister Tess (played by Raini Rodriguez), so Tess tries to give him some positive reinforcement by telling him to ask any girl to the prom and just do it. Unfortunately for Lloyd, each girl shuts him down. Will Lloyd ever find a date?
Then there is the three way love triangle between jock Tyler (played by De’Vaughn Nixon) who is dating Jordan (played by Kylie Bunbury) and was formerly dating Simone (played by Danielle Campbell, “StarStruck”). Jordan suspects that Tyler may be cheating on her but he is suave and manages to make her believe that he isn’t doing anything.
Meanwhile, Sophomore Lucas (played by Nolan Sotillo) and his buddy Corey (played by Cameron Monaghan) are both music fans and for Lucas, his dream girl is his lab partner Simone and wants to ask her out to the prom.
While all the teenagers are stressing out and are planning for the prom, we are introduced to one guy who has no desire in going to the prom. The school’s bad boy Jesse Richter (played by Thomas McDonnell) who has been missing school because he works at a full-time job to help support his mother and younger brother. Also, because he has a bad attitude and rides a motorcycle, Principal Dunnan (played by Jere Burns) doesn’t have much faith in him and will think of a punishment.
One day, as Tyler and Jordan visit the school’s shed (where all the prom decorations are kept) to make out with lighted candles everywhere, the two forget to extinguish the candles and the following morning, the shed is burned down.
Now with three weeks left until the prom, Nova is stressed out because now their is no prom decorations. When Jesse Richter comes by on his motorcycle, Principal Dunnan decides to punishes Jesse for his tardiness and his punishment is to help Nova build the decorations for the prom. If he doesn’t do it, he won’t graduate. Both Jesse and Nova are not too thrilled that they have to work together but they have no choice.
Meanwhile, trouble hits the other teenagers as Lloyd is unable to find a date, Lucas is too shy to ask Simone, Jordan dumps Tyler who is now trying to get back with Simone and Mei is not so enthusiastic of going with Jared to the prom anymore. And as for Nova and bad boy Jesse…. what happens when all the work they start doing with each other, leads to them starting to fall for each other?
Will each of these students have their problems fixed before prom? And will Nova and Jesse, two completely opposites, eventually go to the prom together?
“Prom” is presented in 1080p High Definition (widescreen 1:78:1). For the most part, “Prom” is a beautiful looking film. Because there are so many characters, various locations, outdoor, indoor, you get a wide range of colors featured throughout the film. Colors are absolutely vibrant, black levels are nice and deep and you can see actually see the detail on the faces of the characters as well.
Picture quality is very good!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Prom” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (48 kHz/24-bit), French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. The film is primarily dialogue and musically driven. So, dialogue and music is crystal clear and when it comes to surround usage, its pretty much the music that envelops the soundscape. From Katy Perry’s “Firework”, Taio Cruz’s “Break Your Heart” and plenty of Indie music playing throughout the film, definitely makes the film upbeat. But aside from that, I don’t recall any major use of the surround channels. “Prom” is pretty much a front and center-channel driven film.
Subtitles are in English SDH, Spanish and French.
“Prom” comes with the following special features:
- Last Chance Lloyd – (10:18) Scenes featuring Lloyd trying to ask a girl out for the prom and his younger sister Tess trying to help him out.
- Putting On Prom – (5:58) Producer Justin Springer, writer Katie Wech and director Joe Nussbaum talk about how they cast the characters for the film and the cast talk about working with each other.
- Bloopers – (2:34) Outtakes from “Prom”.
- Deleted Scenes – (7:44) Featuring an introduction by Director Joe Nussbaum and producer Justin Springer for each of the four deleted scenes.
- Music Videos – (24:16) Featuring the following music videos: All Star Weekend – Not Your Birthday, Neon Trees – Your Surrender, Moon – Time Stand, Nolan Sotillo – We Could Be Anything (English Version), Nolan Sotillo – Junto Lo Havemos Bien (Spanish Version), Those Dancing Days – I’ll Be Yours and Girl in a Coma – Come On, Let’s Go.
Prom films are not the easiest films to create especially if you incorporate many characters to the film.
Back in 1999, “She’s All That” incorporated a lot of people but opted to include Hollywood’s up-and-coming stars such as singer Usher and Lil’ Kim, actor Freddie Prinze , Paul Walker and actress Rachael Leigh Cook, Gabrielle Union and Anna Paquin. But what made the film work was how you have high school life outside of the prom and everything leading to the prom as the climax.
We have seen the efficacy from that formula for prom films such as “Pretty in Pink”, “Footloose”, “Mean Girls”…you have to showcase the high school life of these characters and then lead to the prom.
And sure, you have the banality of the dance scene, the fight scene that you typically get from prom films but with “Prom”, the problem is that there is too much focus on different characters, there is not enough story development to make you care for them. The only couple you are emotionally invested in is Nova and Jesse. Two people who are opposites but are attracted to each other.
But when it comes to the other characters of the film, you just don’t care. Mei and Jared, we assume they a long time couple but there was no plot device to setup the friction between the couple until later into the film. The same goes with the love triangle between Tyler, Simone and Jordan. Jordan’s character wasn’t really explored. She shows up earlier in the film and disappears until prom day.
There is so many of these situations where you felt blocks of story may have been edited out for time, that it’s unfortunate. In fact, there are deleted scenes that probably shouldn’t have been cut out at all. And this is sad, considering Joe Nussbaum mentions it right after his commentary for the deleted scenes, in which he tells viewers “hopefully, you agree that these scenes should have been deleted”…but unfortunately, some should have stayed in.
“Prom” is a film that feels incomplete because the pacing of the storyline for the characters outside of Nova and Jesse is off. I liken it to a child’s first try at connect the dots. When the child forgets to follow the correct order and miss a dot, the picture doesn’t seem right. It’s the same thing with “Prom” and how it introduces so many characters without building the storyline around those characters.
But Aimee Teegarden and Thomas McDonell do a wonderful job playing the main couple of the film. For those who grew up in the ’90s, it was quite interesting to see Christine Elise (who was the spunky teenager, Emily Valentine on “Beverly Hills 90210”) playing Jesse’s mother and also a brief cameo by actress Faith Ford (“Murphy Brown” and “Hope & Faith”) as the mother of Nova.
As for the Blu-ray, there a quite a few special features and its cool to see a good number of music videos included on the Blu-ray. The only thing that I wish was included on the Blu-ray are the web episodes of “Corey & Lucas For the Win” featuring “Prom” Sophomores Cory (Cameron Monaghan) and Lucas (played by Nolan Sotillo).
Obviously the purpose was to show how different types of students deal with prom and also, its target audience are more than likely tweens and teens who probably are not going to delve so much into how deep the story is. If anything, it’s a safe film as well, so parents wondering if there is going to be any hanky panky teen sex ala “American Pie”, they need not worry about that with “Prom”. There is a fight scene and teens ditching class but nothing else beyond that.
Overall, “Prom” has its fair share of fun moments but also is hurt by its missed potential. If you are a tween, teen or a parent looking for an upbeat prom film, then Disney’s “Prom” is definitely for you!
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