"No one achieves greatness without help from others."
- McKenna Brooks
As we go through life we all have goals that we strive for, but our focus and determination isn't always enough to pull us through to the end. At times we get sidetracked by life and what it brings with it, and while these things are just as important and deserve our attention, we often push them to the wayside. In order to truly succeed in life we must find a balance between what we desire and our responsibilities so that we can not only reach our goals, but also succeed in life. If we only focus on our desires we will never truly succeed.
This is a lesson that McKenna (Jade Pettyjohn) learns as she is so focused on her gymnastics that she begins to fall behind in her schooling. In order to move forward in either she must regain a balance between the two, and along the process she learns to live her life to its fullest. She also learns that she can't do it all on her own and must accept the help of others to overcome her struggles. She also finds out that life is a two way street when others look to her to return the support that they've given her, and she struggles to make the sacrifices necessary.
When I was asked to review this movie I was a little hesitant, being an adult male, I did not expect to relate to the material in the movie. Being that I had four sisters growing up, I was familiar with the American Girl franchise and I knew that the stories had helped to inspire my sisters to become the great women that they are today, so I was willing to come into this review with an open mind, and while I'll admit this movie is not going to hit my top ten list, I did enjoy the show and look forward to sharing it with my nieces.
I thought that the story was very well told even though it is a bit predictable because it will inspire any that watch it to Shoot for the Stars in all that we do. The only actors I recognized from outside of the show was McKenna's dad (Ian Ziering) who played Steve Sanders in the original Beverly Hills 90210 and her mom (Nia Vardalos) of My Big Fat Greek Wedding fame, but all of the acting was well done. I thought all of the little girls did a great job in their roles and were very believable. And I think that the primary audience of this show (early and preteen girls) will connect with them and be inspired to be the best they are capable of being, through the examples they set in the show.
Through the show McKenna transforms herself from a self-centered know it all to a down to earth and well rounded person, who can acknowledge that her success is not her own, but that of all those who helped to bring her to that point. Which is something that I have always believed because without our friends and family that raise us up each day we are nothing, we are who we are because of all that has influenced us.
Universal Studio's high definition presentation of McKenna Shoots for the Stars is very well done with a picture that's very bright and crisp throughout. The textures and colors are very rich and vibrant allowing for the characters to come alive on screen. The black levels were very solid throughout; although most of the show is filmed in well lit environments so there was nothing to really challenge the black levels. There is one scene where they visit a national park and when they visit a waterfall there it looks great on screen. I also liked the few shots of Seattle shown that helped to establish the location.
The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track also held up very well throughout, allowing for the dialogue to maintain a crisp and clear presentation during McKenna Shoots for the Stars. There were not a lot of special effects to take advantage of the bass or the surround speakers but I did like the added effects the audio added to the scenes when they were at the gym doing their gymnastics, as it helped to make it feel like you were really at a gym meet. The soundtrack is filled with music, that's moving and inspirational. While it's definitely not music I would normally listen to- I did enjoy it in the show and would imagine my nieces really enjoying it especially the music video in the credits.
The only bonus features included with this set is the DVD and UltraViolet Digital Copy, that will allow you access to the show wherever your life takes you.
Like I said, I was hesitant on this one but both me and my wife enjoyed watching this one and I look forward to sharing it with my nieces. So if you have daughters, nieces, or granddaughters in your life this would be a great one to pick up and share with them. Other wise I don't know that I would have picked this up just for myself even with the inspirational story. But as we are getting ready to celebrate our country's independence this was an enjoyable film to watch and help me remember all that I have been given in my life by those who support and surround me in my own life.