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About the film
Footloose is a remake of the 1984 films of the same name. It was released at the cinema in October 2011 and on DVD in February 2012. It has a rating of 12A due to sexual content, drug use and mild language and violence. The film has a run time of 118 minutes.
After a terrible car accident that kills five seniors, the town of Bomont nearly comes to a standstill. As the teenagers died after a party, drinking, dancing and generally having fun are now against the law for anyone under the age of 18. The town of Bomont becomes extremely boring.
Ren McCormack is new to Bomont, moving there to live with his aunt and uncle. After not being there long at all, he gets pulled over by the police for having his music too loud and this is when he really begins to understand what kind of a town he has moved to. Coming from a big city, Ren is so against these laws that he wants to do something about them, especially after finding out he can no longer dance and after meeting Ariel. Ren begins a teen rebellion, attempting to get the sleepy town of Bomont back to normal.
Kenny Wormald as Ren McCormack
Julianne Hough as Ariel Moore
Dennis Quaid as Rev.Shaw Moore
Andie MacDowell as Vi Moore
Miles Teller as Willard Hewitt
Ser'Darius Blain as Woody
Ziah Colon as Rusty
Patrick John Flueger as Chuck Cranston
Ray McKinnon as Uncle Wes Warnicker
Kim Dickens as Aunt Lulu Warnicker
What I thought
Being a massive fan of dance films, I was curious to see what could and would be done with a remake of Footloose. As the film started, I was quite impressed. Something missing from the original film was getting to know about just how serious the car crash was that changed everything. Even though the film starts off in a really fun way, with music and dancing, it doesn't take long for this to change. I don't think the original film really had enough impact when it came to this as we never get to see anything but this remake is different. The beginning is quite shocking in what it shows but it really does make you understand what is going on better.
Then comes the appearance of Ren. Unfortunately, Kenny Wormald just doesn't have the edge and charisma that Kevin Bacon had. The Ren in this version of the film is not a bad boy at all but instead is actually really quite nice - too nice. Although he has some badass dance moves, he he cannot pull off this character as well as Bacon did. I have seen Wormald in an older dance film and I am really happy to say that his acting has gotten much, much better. I can't really fault his performance in Footloose because his character just wasn't given enough edge to begin with. The script and plot changes were what let down Ren's character.
Julianne Hough (sister to Derek Hough) plays Ariel. After seeing her on the US version of Dancing With The Stars, I did doubt if she could pull off such a role. While she wasn't amazing, she did a pretty good job. Ariel has the same problem as Ren though, she's just too nice. Yes, she rebels against her fathers rules and flaunts herself around a little too much but she is never really truly bad. Hough makes Ariel sassy and quick witted and yes, she's sexy and can dance but that does equal a great character. Here, I definitely prefer the original.
It's a bit sad when secondary characters like Willard, played by Miles Teller outshine both of the main leads. Teller was cute and funny, making Willard exactly how he should have been. I took an instant like to the cute but a bit dim character who can't dance. There are times when Willard shows that he is smarter and quicker witted than made out to be and I really did love his character so much more this time around. He was one of the biggest highlights of the film.
Andie MacDowell plays Ariel's mother but really, she might as well have not been there. She doesn't do any good to the film, unlike Dennis Quaid who plays Ariel's father. Quaid brings a harshness and cruel side to the character of Rev.Shaw Moore and while I loved John Lithgow in the original, Quaid does it better. This was one of the better changes in the whole film and I loved him from the first time he comes on the screen. He was quite scary to begin with and the passion and enthusiasm came out of him with great ease.
When it comes to the dancing, I can't quite decide what I think. Early on in the film we are shown some great urban dancing, which really makes the film a lot more exciting in terms of choreography in comparison to the original but then with the strange mix of country line dancing, it begins to go downhill. This aspect of the dancing was too much the same every time it was used and yes, the actors do dance it well but it got boring. I would have much preferred for this remake to have stayed more current. I was expecting to be wowed by the dancing in this film and I was, but only at certain times. The soundtrack, along with theme song Footloose, was ok but it wasn't anything spectacular either.
While I know others have slated this film for staying too close to the original, it is a remake after all, not a retelling. I liked how close it stayed to the original while updating the story and setting for a more modern audience with different and new problems. I liked the way that new aspects were blended in to an old story but still managed to portray the same morals and values. I do think that this remake could have been done better though. The script could have been a hell of a lot better and a lot more dramatic and I think that this is where the film was really let down.
The new version of Footloose is ok but it isn't amazing. I enjoyed it but I didn't love it.
This is a film only review, as we have seen it in the cinema today. The DVD/Blu ray may have extra features, but this review cannot, and does not discuss these.
Footloose is a remake of the 1984 film of the same name, starring Kevin Bacon. It was a huge success at the time, and as a teenager at that moment, it contained everything I could wish for; drama, romance and most important of all, dancing. Although, not having seen the original for more years than I care to remember, I believe the new version raises the bar, and goes one better.
Updated for a new generation (boy do I sound old), the male lead is now a relatively unknown dancer by the name of Kenny Wormald, who ironically, was born at the height of the original Footloose's peak. His casting for the part didn't go without controversy though, as Zac Efron was originally chosen for the part. I do think Zac's clean cut image would have been a step too far for this film, as the character he would have played, Ren McCormack, was a teenager from the big city, rebelling against old fashioned, small town laws that ban dancing and loud music.
The opening scenes feature the song of the film's name, and are as toe tappingly good in the twenty first century as it was in the last. The first five minutes you are lulled into a haze of dance and music, and then comes the twist. Without giving anything away, it's exciting and unexpected, and alters the tone of the movie for a while. The exhilarating happiness is gone, and takes a while to come back. This is where the movie really comes alive for me, and the story can be told.
One might expect this to be a girly movie, with lots of dancing, music and gorgeous guys in there, but there is more than enough 'action' to satisfy any guy too. There dramatic car stunts, a far amount of violence, and a few sections of a sexual nature, where the scene was eked out just that little bit too long. I'm no prude, but I wouldn't have wanted it to go any further, my eight year old was watching.
Julianne Hough (who plays Ariel), gave an outstanding performance. The emotions shown were totally believable. I thought she acted beautifully, but her dancing ability was the highlight for me. Dennis Quaid's appearances as her father were always emotive and heartwrenching. I haven't seen him in anything for a while, and it reminded me how good an actor he is. He played his part with the sheer angst it deserved. Andie McDowell, (the mother), on the other hand, was rather wooden, and had very few lines to vocalise. She was on screen quite a lot, but her role was rather limited, and her appearance didn't add much to the film. Having not seen Footloose for many years, I'm presuming, this followed along the lines of the original, so it's not too much of a hardship.
The film rating is a 12A, and as such my daughter could watch the film too. I did feel that this film did stretch the boundaries that I would normally let her view, the bad language was evident from the start, the scenes where a boy beat his girlfriend up, and a fight scene almost at the end of the film, did just push what they were aiming for, just a tad. These scenes and the sexual one, although fine for adult viewing, were just a little longer than need be. If you are taking an older child they'd be fine with it. Maybe I'm just a tad too over protective in wanting to keep my daughter from the evils of the world as long as I can. Saying that, she enjoyed the film immensely (the bits where I didn't cover her face).
Overall, I thought this was a brilliant and fitting remake of the original Footloose. Plenty of action, humour, and dramatic emotion keep the viewer on the edge of their seat. Our family of four consists of a fifty eight year old male, right down to an eight year old girl, and considering our respective age ranges, and tastes, we all found it extremely enjoyable. Just be mindful that there is swearing and violence in this film, it's all down to personal choice, but had I known beforehand, I probably wouldn't have taken her.
One to watch.
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