7 November 2011
Footloose: Fun or Flop?
With the abundance of ’80’s movie remakes being released, it was questionable whether or not Craig Brewer’s Footloose would be able to match the amplitude of its predecessor. However, the few differences, copious similarities and amplified storyline create a captivating new take on a classic flick. Despite the fact that professional dancers were specifically cast, their acting was as flawless as their dancing, which quickly lead Footloose to number two in the box office.
Since parents today have more to worry about than loud music and dancing, it was hard to realistically portray a present day setting. Brewer chose to base his movie in the deep south; Bomont, Georgia, complete with cowboys and a strict Baptist preacher. This small town is a big change for urban teen, Ren McCormick (Kenny Wormald) who moves there from Boston to live with his aunt and uncle after the death of his mother. Taken aback from the town’s strange laws against drinking, dancing, and loud music, Ren quickly realizes this close-knit town has a story behind these absurdities. A tragic accident years before left Reverend Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid) scarred with the death of his son and four other teens, and the town with new laws. Fate steps in, and Ren is quickly falling for the Reverend Moore’s rebellious daughter, Ariel Moore (Julianne Hough), while at odd’s with her belligerent boyfriend, Chuck Cranston (Patrick John Flueger). Ren decides these laws have got to go, and along with the help of his new friend, Willard (Miles Teller), he sets out to change the town’s mind, and do some dancing on the side.
Brewer decided to take a gamble, and cast dancers as actors. In the original movie, it was the other way around; actors were cast as dancers. His gamble paid off, and Wormald and Hough mastered both the dancing and drama. From break dancing at a parking lot jam to a gymnastics solo in a warehouse to line dancing at a border bar, both the music and dancing are superb. Although he’s no Kevin Bacon, Wormald’s killer moves and even a gymnastics routine in an abandoned warehouse perceives the city boy Ren, who does his best to down home and dangerous. Hough nails Lori Singer’s old part of rebellious preacher’s daughter with an edgy attitude, while demonstrating breathtaking dance moves of her own.
The original soundtrack gets “countrified”, modernized by current artists with a little southern flair. Blake Shelton and Cee Lo Green duo on “Footloose”, “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” is redone by Jana Kramer and “Holding Out for a Hero” is transformed by Ella Mae Bowen. Big & Rich and Gretchen Wilson star with “Fake I.D.”, and Smashing Pumpkins make a vocal appearance with “Window Paine.” The new country vibe matches the backwoods heel-stomping, and leaves audiences tapping their toes.
Footloose could have possibly been just another badly-redone chick flick, but instead, the intense choreography, believably modern plot and jiving soundtrack sent it to number two in the box office on opening weekend. Although audiences may be skeptical about this remake, they won’t regret going to see the new Footloose in theaters.