Why? Why did we need this. Why did anyone think that making this film would be a good idea? There is almost nothing to praise here, with the entire production feeling like a huge mess, which is hilarious considering it’s actually a better made film on a technical level that its predecessor. Oh, there was also one song that I enjoyed, but just one.
The film begins with our lead characters all returning to the camp of the title. Once again, “Camp Rock” is filled with much more pop and R&B than rock, but I digress. But there’s a twist this time around: There is another camp that is operating on the other side of the lake called “Camp Star”. That camp has higher production values, and after their introductory dance number, a lot of the staff and a couple of the members of Camp Rock decide to jump ship.
This leads to a wager made between the competing camps; the final jam for this year will be a competition, with the losing camp being forced to close next year. Most of the film is seen more as a training montage than an actual film, because all it features is a bunch of people doing things to get ready, with random songs being sung throughout. Oh, and our leads, Mitchie (Demi Lovato) and Shane (Joe Jonas) are having slight relationship troubles, but only for about five minutes before everything is solved with a song.
Now, I’ve already shared my feelings about the first Camp Rock film. It was poorly made, but had some catchy songs with a good message behind them. That’s about all it really needed, so even though the editing was off and the characters weren’t exactly believable, it was still an enjoyable experience, especially for its target audience.
But then this film was made, which featured poor songs and was left without a message, except for maybe one of “crush your competition whenever you get the chance”. In fact, almost all of the character growth from the previous film was negated here, or completely reversed. Take our lead, Mitchie, who in the first film found out that taking charge of your life was a good thing, and that you shouldn’t stand in the background for anyone else.
Here, she is the lead singer, as she rightfully should be, (Lovato has the most talent here), but she allows her friends to sing backup for her. This didn’t make any sense to me, but I went with it at the beginning of the film. But after the bet is made, Mitchie begins to act exactly like Tess (Meaghan Jette Martin) did in the first film, which could actually confuse some of the much younger audience. Here they are, having watched this character learn to be assertive in the last film, completely crushing other people under her footstep.
To make matters worse, there are completely pointless moments in this film. I suppose that in order to top the previous Camp Rock film, they had to do something bigger. So they had all of the Jonas Brothers play central parts. One of them ends up falling for one of the Camp Star pianists, but it didn’t really go anywhere, and took away attention from the pressing issue of the final competition. Apart from that, there was already the troubled romance angle from Mitchie and Shane, making this one completely redundant.
In another attempt to one-up the first film, Camp Rock 2 has bigger musical numbers, with more dancers and more locations. While the first film actually had the plot give them reason to sing and dance, this one has them break into song whenever it feels like there are dull parts. Most of these felt similar, with everyone facing the cameras, doing (somewhat) synchronized dance numbers. It feels far more theatrical, which isn’t a problem by itself, but when the songs are worse, they lose excitement.
The best song comes early on, and is titled “Can’t Back Down”. I liked it, because it actually had a message, (one that isn’t really echoed much throughout the film), and because it was catchy. The actors performing the song didn’t seem to have the level of energy required though, which is how a lot of the film felt. Even the final musical number was a tad uninspired, at least, on the side of Camp Rock. Camp Star’s performance was actually better, and if I had gotten the chance to vote, that’s who I would have picked.
I suppose the ultimate test of whether or not you should watch this film is whether or not you watched the first film, and what you liked or disliked about it. If you liked how many characters there were, if you liked the songs, and if you liked its message, then you’ll probably really dislike this one, like I did. If you wanted more focus on the Jonas Brothers, and if you wanted the characters to be inconsistent when looking at the previous film, then you should give this film a shot, because you might actually like it.
For me though, Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam is a complete waste of time. I liked one song, the film didn’t have a message, and it more or less negated most of what happened in the last film when it comes to its characters. It was better made, and more theatrical in nature, but I wasn’t enjoying myself for a variety of reasons. Unless you wanted more Jonas Brothers, skip this one.