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Heather's DVD Review: Footloose
Is it possible to remake a film and not ruin the memory of the original movie? That was the risky proposition behind the DVD release of Footloose, which attempted to pick up where the 1984 original left off. Sadly, there were some bumps and bruises along the way in the film that couldn't be overlooked.
Footloose followed the wayward traveler Ren MacCormack (Kenny Wormald) who moved from Boston to a small town named Bomont after his mother died. He was used to the hustle and bustle behind in Boston and is in for a rude awakening when he was pulled over on his first day in Bomont for playing his music too loud. Unfortunately, that doesn't stop him from defying the rules. He later found that three years ago there was a tragic accident that left some teenagers dead as they were coming home from a party. Reverend Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid) led the charge in getting public dancing and any type of music playing to be outlawed within the Bomont town lines. Ren also found out that one of the deceased teens was Moore's son Bobby. He also crossed paths with the struggling and rebellious Ariel Moore (Julianne Hough) who did everything she could to defy her father's strict rules, which included public dancing and dating the local bad boy. Ren also befriended Ariel's friend Rusty (Ziah Colon), her boyfriend Willard (Miles Teller) and even Ariel herself. Ren's presence caused Ariel to realize that her life was headed down a dark path and for Ren to challenge to Bomont's strict laws. Can he get the girl and be able to dance again?
In terms of remakes, this Footloose shaked up some of the 1984 version's outdated elements and left in some that no longer made any sense in 2011. Seeing some newer dance styles that would belong in the Step Up films mixed with country line dancing was a treat, but it didn't make much sense for the town to ban dancing. That part of the story seemed simply outdated and there was no clear way to integrate it into the movie properly. If the producers made the ban based on something more of illegal street dancing than just simple dancing, the plot would've maybe have a little modern creedance than it did. In the end, the plot wasn't the primary driving force of the film. It was the dance scenes that gave this and the 1984 Kevin Bacon stomper the box office power. The remake did pay some homage to the original by featuring songs from the original movie that included the Kenny Loggins title track and "Let's Hear It For the Boy" in a pivotal dance sequence.
In terms of acting, the movie belonged to Wormald and Hough as the leading couple and dancing superstars. Hough was the better known of the two for her days on ABC's Dancing With the Stars and also gave a very powerful performance as a rebellious teenager. She delivered a solid performance in the dancing scenes with Wormald, but Hough also delivered surprising emotional pull as she angrily yelled her movie father Quaid. When Quaid slapped Hough in a major scene, the audience felt it and her pain as she realized that there was more to her father than met the eye. Hough's pain and sadness proved to audiences that she a big movie career ahead of her that could maybe go beyond singing and dancing. Wormald also had a dancing background proved to be quite the charmer as a Hollywood in his first leading film role. He gave his version of Ren a sense of an East Coast James Dean, but he was a rebel with an actual cause. He wanted to dance.
In terms of supporting performances, Teller was a charming but dance challenged Willard who longed to be a dancing superstar. His scenes where he learned how to dance with Ren were a mixture of funny and touching as he failed, but he continued to keep trying no matter how much he was made fun of. The movie's biggest casualties were Quaid and Andie MacDowell (Vi Moore) who weren't given much to do until the last half of the film. Both movie versions painted Ariel's parents as these outdated people who had no clue what was going on with her. It's a shame, but the movie ultimately belonged to the music and not the adults.
Verdict: A remake that put a few new spins on the 1984 original while other parts remain outdated.
DVD Score: 3 out of 5 stars
Movie Rating: PG-13
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)