“JumpBack!” The name Footloose is synonymous with the 80s, dancing, and playing chicken with tractors. Now to be clear, I’m a fan of the original Footloose. I’ve seen it countless times over the years but I will put that aside for this review.
This isn’t exactly a remake but is really a re-imagining for the current generation. Director Craig Brewer (Hustle and Flow, Black Snake Moan) said he wanted the movie not to stray from the original and tried to maintain the same feel. Where he fell short was by taking some scenes and dialogue shot for shot making the originality a little watered down.
The film’s large main cast stars Kenny Wormald as Ren MacCormack, Julianne Hough as Ariel Moore, Dennis Quaid as Rev. Shaw Moore, Andie MacDowell as Vi Moore, Miles Teller as Willard, Patrick John Flueger as Chuck Cranston, and Ziah Colon as Rusty. Other than the adults in the film, the cast is mostly fresh actors and it was a smart move on the directors part. Like I said, the majority of the plot is identical to the original. I like that the director made sure to use real dancers. It always helps to keep a little authenticity. For example Ren is from Boston and so is the actor that plays him who has a very heavy Boston accent. Also, looking at his acting career, he dances in almost every movie he’s been in.
The story takes place in the little town of Bomont, GA and opens with kids drinking beer and dancing to the main song “Footloose”. Several students including Bobby, the son of Rev. Moore, get into a car drunk and drive home. While crossing the bridge in town, they are not really paying attention and drive head on into a truck. Following the tragedy, the city council has a meeting to incite a curfew, bans listening to loud music or drinking, as well as dancing other than for church within the city limits for all kids under 18. Basically, all of the things teenagers do.
Fast forward 3 years, and Ren is the new kid in town from Boston. He is kind of a bad boy/rebel that is sent to live with his aunt and uncle after his mother passes away. His family takes him to church to get acquainted with the people in town. He meets the Reverend, his wife Vi as well as his daughter Ariel and her best friend Rusty. Ariel is dating Chuck Cranston, a dirt track race driver and a little older. At Ren’s first day of school, he bumps into Willard and they almost fight but instead become friends. He soon after learns about the town’s laws against teenagers and tries to test them.
The best word I can use is exceptional. There was a lot of care that went into mastering the video in 1080p. There is no black crushing that I could see anywhere in the film. Colors throughout the film are vibrant and showcase blu-ray’s abilities. With many of the scenes being of open fields and the towns beautiful setting, hi def captures all of it. The 1080p also captures the ambient dust floating in the air at the race track as well as the cotton gin.
It is a little unexpected for a teen movie to have such a rich and lossless audio. It is a DTS-HD MA 5.1 which is mixed very well. The soundtrack is mostly made up of remixed or “covered” songs from the original. They bring very heavy bass that really makes you feel the music.
A few highlights include the race track scenes as well as during the dance scenes. It brings a youthfulness that is expected from a movie like any teen movie. Also an unusual thing that the sound editor captured is real sound of the actors while dancing. For example, the grunts and body movement is mixed rather than dubbed over by the soundtrack.
Commentary by the director
Jump back re-imgining Footloose
Everybody cut the stars of Footloose
“Footloose” by Blake Shelton
“Fake ID” by Big and Rich
“Holding Out for a Hero” by Ella Mae Bowen
UV Digital Copy
All in all, it’s a decent movie on its own. It appeals to teens and young adults simply because of the classic nature of the story along with angst of teenagers. When comparing it with the original, it seems a little hokey and the use of some of the original dialogue and quotes seems almost forced. However, the casting is very well done and the actors fit their original counterparts. As I said before about the updates, they are welcomed. If they were to remake the film and base it in the 80’s, it might have come off as a little cheesy. With a young cast like this, there is no typecasting other than Hough. She’s a dancer and the movie is about dancing. I say check the movie out for yourself but make sure it is on blu-ray. I can only imagine what a difference it makes over standard DVD.