Friday, 7 October 2011

Footloose (Craig Brewer, 2011) Review

I admit I went into this rehash expecting to hate it. I watched the trailer and cringed. I watched the 1984 original trailer and my heart went out to all the fans of Kevin Bacon and his classic 80s rendition of the film. I thought of how I would feel if some hack director for hire dared to remake 1985’s The Breakfast Club or The Goonies or Back to the Future.

Just think… if 1984’s Footloose can be remade in 2011, all these classics could be despoiled for 2012 audiences. That’s next freaking year! So if you want to avoid this (and the unleashing of Armageddon with it), don’t, whatever you do, pay to see this remake in the cinema. It will only encourage Hollywood to keep sacrificing originality at the altar of making a quick and (relatively) easy buck.

That said, I have a few admissions to make:
  1. I’ve never seen the original Footloose. Kevin Bacon is great but dancing movies just aren’t my thing so it was never really on my list of missed classics that I had to watch.
  2. Like I said I don’t particularly like dancing films or even musicals or teen romances. So I’ve never seen Save the Last Dance, Honey, Stomp the Yard, You Got Served or even West Side Story.
  3. I actually thoroughly enjoyed the Footloose remake.

Why? Well I’m sure most of these reasons extend to the original. The dancing’s great. The story (though a little ridiculous) is involving and the characters engaging. The forces of religion and the law versus the kids of the small town make for a compelling and righteous battle between order and chaos. In this age of the curtailing of civil liberties under the guise of protecting us from evil, perhaps this remake is actually rather relevant.

Dennis Quaid is always very good value, no matter how poor the script but his character here is well-rounded and sympathetic even when banning dancing and public gatherings.

The two leads look pretty and dance like pros and while Julianne Hough (how’s that pronounced???) spends much of the film looking like she’s on a modeling shoot, emotions run high in climactic conflicts with her father (Quaid).

Comparing the two trailers, it looks like the remake has slavishly stuck to the original’s template in terms of characters, narrative and even specific shots so this is probably another ridiculously pointless remake along the lines of Gus Van Sant’s Psycho. However audiences like me who have never seen the original will no doubt be sucked in by the good story, great dancing and even better music.

If your toes aren’t tapping by the finale, you’re either a fuming fan of the original or your feet must be nailed to the floor. It’s out October 14th and is definitely worth a watch. But before you shell out… please heed my warning. The Breakfast Club could be next.

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