Release Date: 14th October 2011
Directed by: Craig Brewer
Starring: Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Miles Teller and Dennis Quaid
Certificate: 12 A
Running time: 113mins
Utter the word remake or any other that resembles it and usually I will run a mile, rant for a few days and then write scathing things about it. Here the tables have turned, they’ve done a damn fine job with Footloose – so fine in fact that I question who was Kevin Bacon and I find myself in a quandary; how can I love an original and a remake? It’s nonsensical.
The original is set in 1984 and was supposedly the reason that Dirty Dancing appeared in our lives as it was testing the waters back in a time where scrunchies were mandatory for lasses (and lads) cut-off jeans were acceptable and if you didn’t own a tape player well you just weren’t cool.
Of course this re-do and is made by and for the people of the MTV generation so there are a few cases of Step Up meets Fast and Furious and a lot of sexing up the storyline, but honestly that is not a bad thing, they’ve struck the balance near to perfectly.
That red tuxedo… That yellow Volkswagen Beetle… Playing chicken with trains and all the other iconic scenes are all still there but alongside I-pods, street dance contests and they no longer race tractors, they challenge each other to ride old knackered school buses instead. The music got a lift too, taking the now dated sounding soundtrack and re-mixing Let’s Hear It For The Boy and Holding Out For A Hero in ballad form and adding more dance sequences to the proceedings.
The original (I’m not calling it a ‘classic’, it’s not Grease) was based on true events that occurred in Oklahoma back in 1878, when dancing was banned for ninety years until a group of high school teens challenged it. This new film casts better looking people, people who are more talented and turns the tables a bit, but not much. Two thirds of the film are easily dialogue for dialogue, shot by shot and outfit for outfit of the original and yet somehow it works. (Bear in mind I watched the original about ten hours before the remake so picked up on this more, I imagine).
For those who aren’t sharing my nostalgia and are new to Kenny Loggins, angry warehouse dancing and lace and leggings then meet Ren (then Bacon, now newcomer Kenny Wormald) a city lad (then from Chicago, now from Boston) who finds himself living in the sticks where turning up your music loud whilst driving will land you with a warning from the police and public displays of shaking your tail feather are actually illegal.
Ren soon falls for the preacher’s (then John Lithgow, now oddly Dennis Quaid) daughter, Ariel (brilliantly played by professional dancer, Julianne Hough.) She’s not as innocent as daddy would like to think, hangs out with the wrong crowd, she doesn’t have a good set of morals and her dancing, well that would make her grandmother weep. It’s scandalous, especially in those cut-off shorts and barely-there-shirts.
Not being from the slightly back-ward town of Bible-belt Bomont, Ren is more than offended when he learns he can’t rock out to his newly fashioned speakers, or hold his new squeeze on a dance floor. So he does what all teens would, kicks off a petition for the law of the town to be abolished – he does research and reads books and everything.
Taking on the town in the battle of State vs Religion, Ren and his scooby-gang soon upset the locals and start campaigning for a school dance for the senior class, will they win them over?
This was originally set up as star-vehicle for Zac Efron to ironically get out of his High School Musical type-casting (how?) and thank Hollywood he dropped out as this could have been a shambles and the famous scene where Ren lets out his anger through dance in a warehouse would have been instantly compared to when Efron does something similar with basketballs in HSM. The film gives kudos to its smaller parts to making bigger roles for some of the supporting characters and Miles Teller as the reluctant to dance redneck Willard is one to watch out for me thinks.
In all, fancy a fun night at the flicks, that will guarantee toe-taping and an urge to let your hair down after? Then look no further than Footloose.