Reviewing Camp Rock (2008)

Updated: Apr 20, 2020

Camp Rock was my jam back in 2008/09. I spent hours dreaming about what song I would sing at the final jam and how I would convince Shane Gray to fall in love with me. Recently, I refound Camp Rock after I saw the Jonas Brothers in concert at the start of the year and they played some classics from the film. With Disney Plus and quarantine meaning I have the means and the time to rewatch the film, I couldn’t resist plopping on my couch and watching the historic piece of art.

In case you don’t know the plot, talented teenage singer Mitchie Torres (Demi Lovato) is desperate to go to a summer music camp called Camp Rock and is constantly begging her financially struggling parents to go. Luckily, her mother gets a job catering at the camp and manages to get Mitchie in at a discounted rate if she also works in the kitchens. Whilst at the camp, Mitchie gets caught up with the ‘diva’ of the camp, Tess (Meghan Martin), and ends up lying about her family situation to gain popularity. Of course, this comes crashing and burning to the ground and she puts her budding relationship with the moody turned vulnerable teen popstar Shane Gray (Joe Jonas) on the line. 

This movie is a piece of art, there is nothing to dislike! The plot is smooth and makes sense, all of the characters have at least the smallest amount of personality to them, and the music is cohesive and actually pretty good. I was surprised by how in-depth the plot goes, I’ve noticed that usually DCOMs have a weak plot which you can easily find cracks in, but not this one! Of course, the whole idea of Mitchie lying about who her mother is to fit in with the popular crowd is ridiculous, I mean who really cares who someone’s mother is? However, in the setting of this film, it works well and makes sense. 

It’s pretty easy to compare Tess to Sharpay Evans from the High School Musical series, I mean they are basically the same character, but I was surprised by the backstory for Tess. With a popstar mother who doesn’t seem to care about her existence it’s obvious why she is as cruel as she is, she seems to control people to boost her popularity and ego so that she can be equal to her mum. Whether it’s an attention or control thing, Tess is evil throughout this entire film, and she’s honestly the best character. She always knew Mitchie was lying and could see through everyone’s bullshit, 10/10 for queen Tess x

I found it really hard to have sympathy for Mitchie and the web of lies she had created. She was mean to people, misled them, disrespected her mother, and lied straight to their face. There is something so rude about lying about what your mum does as a living in order to make more friends, Mitchie wouldn’t be at the camp if it wasn’t for her mother fighting to get the job and STILL paying for her to attend classes etc. Also, Caitlin is the worst! She is just as mean and controlling as Tess, can transform into a bitch into a second, and is a shitty friend to Mitchie. Her dance moves are shit too, oops!

For a film which seemingly kick started the Jonas Brothers’ career, only Joe is in this film. Apart from the occasional phone calls to Nick and Kevin, as well as the performance of Play My Music, Joe was the only JoBro that had screentime of any importance. Of course, we know from the Chasing Happiness documentary that they had to beg to include the other brothers in order for Joe to not become more famous than the group, but I was surprised by how forced and unfunny the cameos were. It was so obvious that Nick and Kevin were thrown in as an afterthought to boost ratings and the popularity of the group, which clearly worked! This doesn’t mean that Joe was destined to be an actor though, he couldn’t make the moody or the nice Shane realistic, his hair and music talents keep him from embarrassing himself with this shocking attempt at the acting world. 

I was genuinely shocked by how good Camp Rock is. I don’t know why I assume that all DCOMs are shit, because this isn’t shit, it’s actually really entertaining. Sure, some of the characters are just stupid (cough Caitlin) and the plot is so farfetched at points, but as an introduction to so many careers and memories it’s amongst some of the best DCOMs out there.

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