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Old vs. New
Which version of Footloose is better?
Director: Craig Brewer
Writers: Craig Brewer, Dean Pitchford
Cast: Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Dennis Quaid, Andie MacDowell, Miles Teller, Ray McKinnon, Patrick John Flueger, Kim Dickens, Ziah Colon, Ser'Darius Blain, L. Warren Young, Brett Rice, Maggie Elizabeth Jones, Mary-Charles Jones, Enisha Brewster, Josh Warren, Corey Flaspoehler, Anessa Ramsey, Jason Ferguson, Frank Hoyt Taylor, Clayton Landey, Travis Young, Jamal Sims
Synopsis: City kid Ren MacCormack moves to a small town where rock 'n' roll and dancing have been banned, and his rebellious spirit shakes up the populace.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some teen drug and alcohol use, sexual content, violence and language
Footloose Music Video
Play of "Footloose"
Fake ID Music Video
Another remake that fails to live up to the original...yay?
"Footloose" was not only a great eighties movie that defined the sense of teenage rebellion within an unfair society, but it served as a great allegory about the many cons of censorship. Showing how in society we should be free to express ourselves creatively like through dancing or music, for example. However, it was also a touching story about the effects of love and loss. How sometime as our children get older, we have to learn to let them go at some point, and hope that they take the lessons that we've taught them to heart when venturing out to the real world. Although the original film was a bit campy at times, with some of it's over the top moments, it was still a great movie. A timeless story that still holds up to this day like any classic would. Sadly, I can't say that about this remake.
Don't get me wrong, the new film is fairly decent for what it is, but it fails to live up to the original. Like most remakes, this film still follows the original's story line, with a few added twists here and there to make it interesting. Unfortunately, none of these twists come off as charming, or as clever as I'm sure the writers for this film were hoping. Some of these twists include little things like the dancing warehouse scene with Ren; where instead of pulling off a well choreographed and over the top dancing display that we saw in the original, we get a scene where Ren dances angrily and displays a few gymnastic type moves, to shake off his frustration, only to end up making a fool out of himself, as he literally falls on his a**.
Granted, I'll admit it was funny to see Kenny Wormald (Ren MacCormack) fall on his a**, but it kind of kills the emotion of what that scene was supposed to represent. In the original, the dancing warehouse scene was supposed to represent the last place where Ren would vent out his frustrations privately, as the entire town of Baumont has outlawed rock music and public dancing. To make matters worse, most of the town labels him as a bad seed under false allegations and pretenses; thus he goes into an abandoned warehouse to express himself through dancing to get over his frustrations of the town. Sure, I'll be the first to admit it does sound kind of stupid for a guy to dance inside a warehouse alone, but the scene served as a great allegory to show the character's internal conflict, and hidden desire to express himself in a society that has been forcing him to repress his creativity instead. In the remake, the scene basically serves the same purpose to an extent, but it quickly makes a joke out of it towards the end when he falls on his a**. It's like MTV productions thought that portraying the scene as it was originally intended wouldn't connect with many of today's modern audiences, so they figured making a mock up of that scene would do a helluva a lot better. Personally, I would have to sorely disagree with this new approach to the scene, but that's just me.
Of course, this really isn't the biggest twist they added to the original's story. Unlike the original, Ren's mother dies of Lukemia, as this is later used for him to relate to Reverend Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid) on a personal level, when he tries to appeal to his sensibilities about allowing the high school seniors to have their dance; in spite of the Reverend and city council's protests against public dancing and rock music. Although, I will admit it was a rather ingenuous twist to the original's story, as Reverend Moore's rationality behind the ban was because his teenage son got drunk at a dance, and died in a car crash while listening to rock music; thus is why the city of Baumont has banned both of them from their city. However, in the original, the scene where Ren tries to appeal to the Reverend's sensibilities is still there, but it's still every bit as deep without the twist of Ren's mom being dead.
Another thing worth noting here, the original was more direct to the point with it's message in regards to the dangers of censorship in society, while telling an engagingly deep yet heartfelt story about a repressed teenage youth. Whereas the remake, it tends to suffer from various pacing issues, and it adds filler moments that never quite go anywhere, or were completely unnecessary for the film. Granted, they don't ruin the movie by any means, but it just tends to slow down the pacing of the movie. One scene for instance, it shows exactly how the Reverend's son dies, as it was never shown in the original. But how is it even necessary to show us? Does it add to the drama or the internal conflict of what Reverend Moore goes through in this film? The quick answer to that is that it doesn't. The original never showed the death scene of the Reverend's son, and it still managed to remain every bit as deep and potent.
However, as far as remakes go, I wouldn't say this is by far the worst, but it definitely lacks the appeal and potency that the original had going for it. But, for what this remake tries to be, it's really not that bad of a movie, as it still manages to tell an engagingly deep story in spite of it's flaws.
As for the performances of this movie, I can't really say that anyone in this particular film stood out for me, but I was rather impressed with Dennis Quaid's performance though. Granted, he's certainly no John Lithgow in this role, but he still manages to portray a strong yet surprisingly sympathetic and caring antagonistic role that the movie required.
Overall, I'd have to give the remake a two out of four. It's definitely worth a rental, but I wouldn't pay to see this in theaters. As I said before, it's not as bad as most remakes in general, as I'm sure a lot of younger audiences might like this new interpretation better. However, if you loved the original movie, then you might not like this remake so much.