Friday, September 30, 2011

Footloose (2011)

Stars - Kenny Wormald
          Julianne Hough
          Dennis Quaid
Directed by: Craig Brewer
Summary: City kid Ren McCormack moves to a small town where rock 'n' roll and dancing have been banned, and his rebellious spirit shakes up the populace. (via imdb). 
I have to say I went into the theatre not expecting very much, and, once again, I was pleasantly surprised. It's not a bad remake. It's faithful to the original, a little too faithful if I'm being honest, but throws in a few tweaks to modernize the story. But that, in its way, is what's wrong with the concept. 
Somehow, a southern town, even a deeply religious and scared town, choosing to ban dancing in public just doesn't ring true. And some of the additions, like showing that some of the town's youths partake in underground dancing, fill the plot holes of the original, but not in a way that helps.
So, what's right? The dancers are amazingly talented at what they do, which makes up for a little stiffness in their acting. They manage to pay homage to the original, and there are a veritable shit-ton of winks and nods to the original. 
Which leads me to what's bad. I could almost swear that they shot this movie off the script from the Kevin Bacon version. It also goes way out of the way to style the lead exactly like Bacon. Same outfits, same haircuts, and same dance moves. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but if you're mildly ADHD/OCD like me, it becomes so glaring that it distracts the storytelling. It didn't need to be that way. A nod here, a subtle tweak here would have sufficed. I mean the audience for this movie is not my generation, so who did they put these things in for? Also, they recycle virtually the entire soundtrack from the original, and in mostly the same sequences, with two distinct and variably effective changes. First, the version of Holding Out For A Hero is melancholy and morose, and, while well done, doesn't suit the tone of the lyrics. Secondly, and egregiously, they completely throw out the angry dance music, although that sequence is in this version. They instead choose to go in a hip hop direction, which frankly doesn't work as well. His dance is clumsy and frustrated instead of intense and angry. Opportunity missed.
Overall though, the movie is just fine. A watchable film which I would grade a 6 out of 10. If you survived the 80s and loved the original, you could take your kids, as I did, and let them enjoy their version. But you could just as easily grab the original off Netflix and enjoy it just as much.

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