Footloose (2011) Review

Remakes nowadays are always welcomed with scepticism. Most of the times, their scopes are missed and their tone is all over the place, or just simply a copy-cat of the original instalment. Although, once in a while, there comes a movie where the studios did a decent job at extracting what worked and what didn’t work from the original, and becomes its own. Footloose is a gleeful homage for the ‘80s classic, while rediscovering its premise while adding that little je ne sais quoi.

Obviously, everybody should have seen the 1984 Footloose (if not…why are you even reading this?) and, while being an awesome movie and all, some meat was missing –even though we don’t want to admit that with our favourite flicks. Comparing both adaptations would only be logical, but we should also give it a chance to stand by itself.

The story being the same here, only set in today’s time. A southern town is struck with a tragedy involving teenagers, drunk driving and loud music. After the loss of his own kid, the reverent of the town’s church (Dennis Quaid), being in the local committee, create new laws for youngsters, and one involves no playing of loud music and neither of public dancing. You get the gist. A couple of years after the new rules are installed; a new teen comes in town to live with his uncle and finds a way prove to the committee that this local law is unfair. Same thing here too.

Although the story is almost identical, that’s not what makes the movie stand out. This time around, Footloose shows more emotional baggage under its belt, making the premise more believable to this day. The background story is compelling and tender, giving a reason for Ren (Kenny Wormald) to fight for a cause that will valorize him, only to prove himself worthy of something, after the passing of his mother: the reason why he had to move down south. The setting for the scenes is well translated for today’s generation without spoiling it with dance scenes for kids with short-attention-spasms.

A lot of the scenes are close to being shot-by-shot copied from the original. Not being a bad thing, guessing that people would’ve complained just as much if it were too different. It’s tastefully done since, like I said earlier, there’s more meat to it. The scope I guess is to make the current generation experience Footloose the way it was intended to be but with updating it from its 27 years run.

The music and score are delightful. A few songs are taken from the original movie sung by different artist, but intentionally there as winks of appreciation for it. A lot of it is blues and country music by Zac Brown Band, Cee Lo and a couple of other toe-tapping bands. This sets a nice mood to the flick and doesn’t undervalue the fact that Footloose is set in the southern region of the country.

Performances are pretty good. Dennis Quaid is quite charming in the role of the prude reverent. Kenny Wormald of course dances tremendously, ‘cause, you know, he is a dancer after all (puts poor Kevin Bacon to shame). His incarnation as Ren is emotionally driven and makes this whole absurd story-line quite enjoyable. Julianne Hough plays Ariel and, well, like the original, she’s slutty. But she does it well. The other actors are forgettable, except Andie MacDowell (how long has it been, Andie?!) as the reverend’s wife. She is only ok though, we don’t see her much.

All in all, Footloose is not a complete miss. You can feel people put a little bit of soul into it, otherwise it would’ve turned out to be closer to a Step Up shitty dance flick. The setting and circumstances are mixed  with a right dose of moral decree and makes the experience totally enjoyable, believable and gripping. And if anything, it made us go back to listen the original soundtrack, possibly weeping for Almost Paradise.

Surprisingly good: 7 out of 10.


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