This Week at the Movies: Footloose



Hadley Rahrig

Despite the inevitable pressure that always ex­ists when films are recreated, Footloose’s remake rose to the occasion in unexpected ways. It ad­equately adhered to the theme of the 1984 film and stayed true to the traits of well-known char­acters. However, Craig Brewer’s Footloose recre­ated the music, dance scenes and character devel­opment in noticeably different ways. Although the new version of this movie clearly takes place during present day, because of the way the film draws from classic elements, the scenes adopt a vintage feel. With a fusion of modern melodies as well as traditional pieces, Craig Brewer’s Foot­loose is certain to appeal to those who enjoyed the original and will attract a similar audience.

For those skeptics who are willing to see past the implausibility that accompanies every major dance movie, the music and dance selec­tion is assembled particularly well and inter­estingly displays the development of Footloose in this decade. Drawing from multiple genres such as hip-hop, country and classic rock, au­diences can expect to see many forms of dance that even extend to a beat-enhanced line dance sequence. Viewers can expect to hear music from Zac Brown, Cee Lo Green and Blake Shelton singing “Footloose.” This variation of music reminds the audience that, even consid­ering the old-style southern location and con­servative essence of the town, this setting also includes modern-day twists. This contempo­rary feel is best exemplified in one of the early scenes at the Snack Bar, a location also uti­lized in the original movie. In this scene, illicit music blares through the parking lot. Here, hip-hop music and dance were smoothly inte­grated into such a traditional plot line, adding an interesting element to the film. Along with a complicated line dance across the floor of a club and the melodramatic scene where Ren McCormack (Kenny Wormald) displays his gymnastic aptitude through his empowered dance inside an abandoned warehouse, the styles of many forms of dance are successfully incorporated into the movie.

One of the most interesting additions to the Footloose of 2011 includes the higher develop­ment of characters and the town of Bomont, Georgia. Differing from the movie created in 1984 that left much of Ren McCormack’s his­tory untold, this story focuses on his background to a greater extent, describing how he cared for his single mother until she died of leukemia. Likewise, Ariel (Julianne Hough) is portrayed as much more complicated than in the original film. She is first seen dating Chuck, one of the despised bums of the town, and generally enact­ing any form of rebellion that she can manage. However, her conflict with her father as they both try to recover from the death of her brother displays the true conflict of the film. The few in­timate scenes where these characters demonstrate their vulnerability, as well as strengths, draws sympathy from the audience and ultimately makes these characters more real and relatable.

Die-hard fans of the 1984 Footloose will appreciate the small connections that the two versions share. Although music and plot ele­ments differ to some degree, the few memo­rable borrowed lines, the old-town features, and even the formal attire that Ariel and Ren wear remind viewers of the classic movie. With this balance, it allows the audience to appreciate Footloose‘s connection to the origi­nal film while seeing the classic story in a present light.

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