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Film / Camp Rock

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A Disney Channel Original Movie produced in 2008.

Mitchie Torres (Demi Lovato) is an aspiring singer-songwriter who gets the chance to attend Camp Rock, a prestigious performing arts camp, when her mother is hired to be the camp’s chef. At camp, Mitchie befriends fellow musician Caitlyn (Alyson Stoner) but tries hard to impress Tess (Meaghan Martin), the most popular girl at Camp Rock. To join Tess's group, Mitchie claims her mother is the president of an entertainment television network and hides the fact she is working in the camp’s kitchen.

Meanwhile, pop star Shane Grey (Joe Jonas)is sent to Camp Rock to be an instructor by his bandmates in hopes of earning positive PR after the band’s music label grows tired of Shane’s bad boy antics. Shane overhears Mitchie singing (without seeing her) and decides to stay at camp to find the mysterious voice. Along the way, he rediscovers his passion for music and thanks to Mitchie, he learns to be a kinder person. As Camp Rock prepares for the end-of-summer Final Jam, Mitchie must decide whether to remain one of Tess’s flunkies or stand out and be herself.

Provides Examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: The novelization for the first movie expands on a lot of characters motivations, fleshes out the romance and even gives Tess a happy ending.
  • Adults Are Useless: All the camp's staff members refuse to punish Tess for her behavior.
  • Advertised Extra: Nick and Kevin Jonas' characters were heavily promoted because their brother Joe plays main character Shane Gray. It becomes less so in the sequel.
  • Aesop Amnesia: It's really quite impressive that Tess managed to make a Heel–Face Turn twice in two films.
  • Alpha Bitch: Tess, one of the most over-the-top examples. Hell, she even sings a song with lyrics like "I'm too cool for you" and "You see, some are born with beauty, brains, and talent, and they got it all".
  • Backstabbing the Alpha Bitch: Peggy and Ella get tired of Tess's domineering attitude near the end of the first movie and leave her to do her performance alone. Unlike most examples, they eventually forgive her.
  • Be Yourself: A definite be-confident-in-your identity angle here, as encapsulated in Mitchie's climatic song in the first film.
  • Brick Joke: Jason wanting a birdhouse is mentioned multiple times in the first one, and in the second, when he's hiding under the table from the kids, he's building one. ...Which is then destroyed by the kids, causing him to get up and give them a talking to.
  • Butt-Monkey: Played with in Kevin's case; it's not malicious, as everybody actually likes him, but he still get a lot of ribbing.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: While it outwardly appears to be a song about a relationship on the rocks, "Two Stars" can also be read as Tess calling out to her mother to pay attention to her for once.
  • The Cameo: Not a big name star, but the Jonas Brothers' little brother Frankie is one of Jason's junior campers.
  • Can't Believe I Said That: Type B of this trope is used in the second movie, when Dana says she thinks Nate has pretty eyes and he doesn't know how to respond. After she leaves:
    Nate: I think you have pretty eyes too. Stupid!
  • Captain Ersatz: The Jonas Brothers play their own as Connect 3.
  • Celebrity Star: The Jonas Brothers feature here, and one of them is the male lead.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Minor example in the second movie. Early on Mitchie's mom bemoans the accidental delivery of dozens of inflatable balls. The group use them later in their performance, unleashing them on the audience. You kind of feel sorry for whoever had to blow them up.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Between this, the Hannah Montana appearance, and his Jonas role, Kevin Jonas seems to have been typecast as a kooky character.
  • Concert Climax: Of course! If you have a film called "Camp Rock", what else are you going to use for a climax but a concert? They're not studying geology, you know.
  • Creator Cameo: One of the writers, Julie Brown, randomly has a scene as a counselor.
  • Dark Horse Victory: Peggy wins the "Final Jam" competition over Tess and Mitchie.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Inverted by Camp Star (or the majority of the Camp Star kids) in the second film. Camp Star technically wins because Axel bribes people to vote for his camp.
  • Diegetic Musical: The first film is completely diegetic in its music; in the second film, this gets Zigzagged. While most of the songs are still the result of in-universe performances, there are also songs added that just involve the characters breaking out into song and forgetting it afterwards, turning this film into a blend of diegetic and non-diegetic music.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Camp Rock is spared from being closed down because a lot of campers come back to it after Camp Wars is over. It isn't because Camp Rock won the "war" but because Camp Star doesn't have any campfires. This is justified and lampshaded by the song 'This Is What We Came Here For', in that while kids like Luke (and Tess) are dedicated towards having a musical career, most of the campers from both camps are simply average kids who have some musical talents and wanted to go to a summer camp where they could also play music. As much as they like music, they also want to have non-music fan, like water-balloon fights.
  • Dream Deception: When Mitchie needs to sneak away early to help her mom prepare breakfast, she's caught by Ella. To ensure she stays quiet, Mitchie convinces her that she's just dreaming, and Ella goes back to sleep.
  • Easily Forgiven: Both Mitchie and Tess in the first movie despite neither doing that much to warrant it from the people forgiving them.
  • Evil Counterpart: In the second film, Luke for Mitchie, and Axel Turner for Brown.
  • Exact Words: Having caught out Mitchie as a thief (actually a frame up by Tess), Brown tells Mitchie and Caitlyn they are banned from camp events "until the end of Final Jam", reiterating those words. Mitchie correctly interprets this as her being able to perform once the competition is over, and once Brown declares the end of Final Jam he congratulates her for working out the loophole.
  • Fairy Tale Motifs: The hero hears the heroine singing without noticing who she is and searches for the girl with the mysterious voice. A lot of girls try to pass themselves off as the mystery girl. A jealous "princess" wants to keep the heroine in her place and keep her voice for a backup singer. There have been more than a few comparisons with Disney's The Little Mermaid, right down to the rowboat scenes.
  • Freudian Excuse: Tess, whose mother is always working, feels an intense need to draw attention to herself. Her mother came to see her in the competition, then walked out on her when she was performing.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Tess is a nasty at the start of both films, and then repents by the end of them.
  • "I Am" Song: A lot of the songs in these films are self-declarative, meant to establish characterization as much as they are in-universe performances. They include: "This is Me", "Here I Am", "Too Cool", "Introducing Me", and, to a lesser extent, "Who Will I Be?" which doubles as an "I Want" Song and "I Am Becoming" Song
  • In Name Only: Camp Rock also teaches dance classes. Which is fine...until the sequel where we learn they also teach fashion design classes.
  • Insecure Protagonist, Arrogant Antagonist: The shy and inexperienced protagonist, Mitchie, is contrasted with the far more arrogant Alpha Bitch Tess. Both are super talented singers, but where Tess ends up failing is that her attitude alienates even her closest friends, and doing her climatic song alone leads her to get it wrong. Mitchie, meanwhile, wins over celebrity bad boy Shane with her finally, confidently, singing her song about being herself.
  • Invisible Backup Band: Perhaps its best use is in the song "Introducing Me" where after the line "I like the sound of violins" violins begin backing the acoustic guitar being played by Nate.
  • Jerkass:
    • Tess will frame you for theft if she doesn't like you, and that's just one spot of meanness.
    • Axel from Camp Star is definitely a jackass. He opens a camp across the lake from his old band mate and then uses an invitation to make smores together as a oppoturnity to poach Camp Rock's staff and customers. It's implied that he did this out spit from being kicked out of a band a while back. Most of them probably decided they'd had enough of his behavior by the end of the summer.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • From the first film, Tess gets no comeuppance for framing Mitchie and Caitlyn and getting them disqualified from performing during Final Jam, even though she says she confessed to Brown.
    • From the second film, Tess basically bails on her friends for glitz, glamour, and air conditioned cabins. Keep in mind, these are the people who forgave her after she spent a whole movie treating them like crap, welcomed her as a friend with open arms, and never spoke of her previous unpleasant behavior again. She suffers no consequences for ditching them like that and leaving Camp Rock to flounder. Even though she makes a Heel–Face Turn at the end (yes, again), it doesn't really do much to take the sting out of that, though perhaps she's forgiven since she really didn't have to make the Heel–Face Turn this time considering that her side actually had already won.
    • Luke as well, who is left reveling in Camp Star's victory.
  • Liar Revealed: Mitchie lies about her mother being involved in the music industry so that she could fit in, and it causes Shane to break up with her.
  • Meaningless Villain Victory: Axel, through much social media leverage and outright bribery, succeeds in winning Camp War's popular vote, which supposedly slams a nail into Camp Rock's coffin. Except, the whole experience sours his customer base, who returns to Camp Rock.
  • Mood Whiplash: In one scene Mitchie is shown going around complaining that no one is working hard enough. Everyone protests that they are, they're just taking a break, and the implication is that she's slave driving them. Peggy even says "I love her, but I'm going to kill her." The very next morning, Mitchie wakes up to discover that everyone has come around to her way of thinking and have been practicing for hours. Perhaps Shane's water balloon fight was just the tension release they needed.
  • Nice Mean And In Between:
    • Catlyn is the buddy of Mitchie who serves as her voice of reason; Tess is the diva who lashes out at her partners; Mitchie is inbetween due to being new to camp but also serves as a serious leader.
    • The members of Connect Three are this, too. Nate is shy, Shane is hot-headed, and Jason is not as mean as Shane, but more serious than Nate.
    • Also, Peggy clearly is quite uncomfortable with much of Tess' actions, Tess is obviously the meanest of the three, and while Ella seems ok, she seems less phased by Tess' mean deeds than Peggy does.
  • Orbital Shot: Shane and Mitchie have one towards the end of "This Is Me" while they duet.
  • Theme Naming: The members of Connect Three all have short a sounds in them.
  • Retcon: Camp Rock goes from 'elite music camp for the rich' to 'darkhorse camp with nothing good to offer' between movies.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Ella and Peggy give one to Tess when they're sick of her deeds and leave her group.
    • Sort of, with Jason giving one to the junior campers who won't listen to him.
    Jason: Enough! You wanna rock? Well, you know what? You don't deserve to rock. Why should I show you the first thing about being a rockstar if you don't wanna show me any respect?
  • Rock is Authentic, Pop is Shallow: The sequel, The Final Jam pits the Camp Rock, a summer music camp specializing with rock music versus Camp Star, a camp that churns out pop stars that sing and dance. Camp Star ends up winning, however, because Axel puts his thumb on the scale to make sure his camp ends up winning.
  • Scholarship Student: Mitchie is able to attend the camp because her mother gets a job to cater the camp and Mitchie goes along. When has summer ever been slow for caterers?
  • Sequel Non-Entity:
    • Lola and Andy, who were minor characters in the first film, are not seen or heard from again in the sequel.
    • Despite being one of the writers of the movies, Julie Brown's character, Dee the counselor, does not also appear in the sequel nor is given any mention.
  • Shout-Out: In 'Tear it Down' Tess' outfit looked somewhat familiar.
  • Social Circle Filler: At the beginning of the film, Mitchie interacts with her friend Sierra from school. Once Mitchie goes to Camp Rock, Sierra is never seen or mentioned again.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Nate and Dana bond in the second film despite belonging to different camps. Nate even sneaks over to Camp Star to serenade her, like in a certain play.
  • Talent Double: Peggy/Margaret's vocals are provided by Wild Orchid and Kids Incorporated alumna Renee Sandstrom.
  • They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!: Invoked when Kevin points out to the young Camp Rockers that they can't expect for him, a rock star, to show them how to be rock stars if they can't show him respect.
  • Totally Radical: Whatever major loser!. Lampshaded by Mitchie.
  • Villainous BSoD: Tess when, during her song, she sees her mom getting ready to go on tour. She then fumbles her way through the end of the song and nearly gets knocked off the stage by a prop.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Tess. The reason for most of her Alpha Bitch behavior in the first film was to be good enough that her Mom would finally pay attention to her. It hits her pretty hard when her Mom finally shows up to one of her shows and then walks out on her to take a phone call.