"Footloose" fails to live up to Kevin Bacon classic
The tag line for the re-make of the 1984 classic “Footloose” is “Cutloose,” but the movie never quite does that. Although there were inconsistencies in the new “Footloose” that proved to be somewhat of a distraction, it wasn’t completely hopeless. As the movie went on, it got progressively easier to watch.
New version has tweaks in the plot
The 1984 film starring Kevin Bacon was about a rebel teenage boy from Chicago, who moves to a small town where listening to music and dancing are banned. The same storyline is used in the remake of “Footloose,” but with a few exceptions. Ren MacCormack (Kenny Wormald) is still as rebellious and passionate about dancing as Bacon was, but he is from Boston. He moves to the small town of Bomont, Tenn., to live with his aunt, uncle and cousins after his mother passes away. He soon finds out that a strict law on dancing has been put into effect by the Rev. Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid) after five kids die in a car accident coming home from a prom after party. One of those kids is the reverend’s son, Bobby. The law is strictly enforced on minors in the town, prohibiting any type of dancing and limiting the type of music they listen to. Ren begins to rebel against these laws with the help of his close friend Willard (Miles Teller) and eventually the Rev. Moore’s free-spirited and broken daughter, Ariel (Julianne Hough).
Opening lacks originality
The opening scene almost proved to be disheartening with a DJ yelling out over the infamous “Footloose” song, but it soon rerouted itself when the dancers feet were zoomed in on, just like the opening in the ‘80s classic. It seems as if during the first half of the movie the cast is walking on eggshells, in an attempt to re-create and follow the lead of the original film without infusing any type of originality. The actors did not seem comfortable, as if they were afraid to develop their own spin on the film’s characters. It isn’t until the emotional dance scene in the warehouse that the movie really starts to pick up. Up until this point, the actors seem to be walking on eggshells trying to live up to original film, instead of pushing through and giving the audience a real sense of authenticity.
More provocative content than in original
The content in the movie is much more provocative than the first film. Although the dancing is remarkable and probably the strongest part of the film, many of the dances are more suggestive and sensual. The language proves to be more on the edgy side, with characters yelling out profanities in a countless number of scenes.
Besides the dance scene in the warehouse, though this does give away part of the plot, another standout scene is when Ariel and Ren share their first kiss. Their first kiss is an intimate moment that gives the audience an opportunity to become more emotionally invested with the characters and their relationship. This is also a standout moment for the director, Craig Brewer, and the film’s cinematographer, Amy Vincent, because of the breathtaking beauty of the setting and the intimacy of the shot.
Disconnect in music choices
The music is a far cry from what it was in the original. With musical genres ranging from country to rap to ‘80s music, the direction that movie was trying to take was hard to follow. Even though it was most likely an attempt to bring together the two different generations of both movies, the execution was poor and proved to be a failure. There was no cohesion among the musical decisions and it made the movie difficult to watch at times. When Ren starts off the movie blaring Quiet Riot from his yellow VW beetle and then pulls up to school in the next scene blaring Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow,” it leaves the audience scratching their heads.
It’s clear that the new “Footloose” is not to be taken too seriously. It’s a light-hearted film that has its cheesy moments and never really breaks any new ground. Although it lacks originality, there are some glimpses of hope. It wouldn’t be a first choice, but if you’re looking for a relaxed trip to the movies, this is probably the film for you.