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Paramount Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 3/6/2012
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 2/26/2012
In my recent review for Beavis and Butt-Head, I discussed the differences between a remake, a reboot, and a re-imagining. Under the umbrella of remakes, we have some different categories. Most modern remakes (of which we've seen a lot), take the story and characters from the original film and place them in a more modern setting, while making tweaks here and there to the script. Some remakes offer so many differences that they wander into re-imagining territory. At the other end of the spectrum, we have shot-for-shot remakes, such as Gus Van Sant's Psycho. The 2011 version of Footloose falls somewhere between the two, but leans much closer to the shot-for-shot remake category.
Ren McCormack (Kenny Wormald) moves from Boston to a small town in Georgia following the death of his mother. He moves in with his Uncle Wes (Ray McKinnon) and Aunt Lulu (Kim Dickens), and Wes is nice enough to give Ren an old, beat-up VW. Ren quickly learns that the town is an unusual place. Due to an accident which claims the lives of five teenagers, music and public dancing are outlawed. Reverend Moore (Dennis Quaid) was behind the passing of these laws. At school, Ren doesn't fit in, but he quickly makes a friend, the gawky Willard (Miles Teller). Ren also finds himself attracted to Ariel (Julianne Hough), who happens to be Reverend Moore's daughter. Ren tries not to be a troublemaker, but he can't believe that the teenagers can't have music or dancing. So, he decides that he wants to change things.
I know that I've seen the 1984 version of Footloose at least twice -- sometime around the time of its release and then a few years ago when it was released on DVD. I've seen it, but I don't remember it that well. My wife, however, remembers the original very, very well (scarily well). Throughout the film, she pointed out many, many moments where dialogue from the original film was reproduced in the new movie, and several shots were exactly the same. Based on her input, and non-stop reactions, nearly 90% of this movie is a mirror image of the 1984 version. Yes, some things have been changed. The game of chicken using tractors is different, as is Ren's family situation. The opening of the film actually shows the tragic accident, which was only discussed in the original movie. Certain scenes are done in a different order and this version is certain more multi-cultural than the original.
So, this raises the question, why make the same movie over again? The fashions (for the most part -- Ren wears some of the same clothes that Kevin Back did in the original) and the music are updated (although they've decided to skew some of the songs in a country direction for some reason), but the story has remained exactly the same. Again, the dialogue and many of the shots are the same. The whole thing is baffling. It's not a shot-for-shot remake, but it's pretty close. Updating this tale for a new generation is one thing, and it's an understandable plan, but making only the most minimal of changes smacks of laziness. Despite the claims of work and creativity presented in the extra features on this Blu-ray Disc, the scarcity of tweaks to the first movie makes one wonder.
So, is this movie worth seeing? Well, that depends. If you've seen the original, you'll be baffled by this virtual carbon copy of the 1984 film. I can't comment on what it's like to see this movie having not seen the original, but I still think that you'll find the movie underwhelming. The pacing of the movie is fine, but the acting is somewhat lacking, and while Dennis Quaid and Andie MacDowell (who plays his wife) are competent, they don't hold a candle to John Lithgow and Dianne Weist from the original. Bringing back Footloose probably seemed like a good idea, but this movie definitely doesn't bring home the bacon.
Footloose left my Sunday shoes intact on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 30 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing only a hint of grain and no defects from the source material. The colors look very good, as the movie presents a varied palette, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The image shows a nice amount of detail, as textures on objects are evident. The depth is good as well, especially in the landscape shots. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. As one would hope, the music sounds very good. The film opens with the original Kenny Loggins version of Footloose and it really rocks. (Unfortunately, the music goes downhill from there.) The stereo and surround sound effects are impressive, as they are very detailed and show great separation. The individual sounds can easily be picked out. The music delivers palpable subwoofer effects.
The Footloose Blu-ray Disc contains an assortment of extra features. We begin with an AUDIO COMENTARY from Co-Writer/Director Craig Brewer. "Jump Back: Re-Imagining Footloose" (15 minutes) offers a half-baked explanation for why the original was remade. Beyond that, we get comments from the filmmakers and actors and some behind-the-scenes footage. Brewer is profiled, and the piece also examines the look of the movie. Of course, the music and dancing is featured here. "Everybody Cut: The Stars of Footloose" (13 minutes) has interviews with the cast who discuss their characters, along with comments from the filmmakers about the casting process. "Dancing with the Footloose Stars" (13 minutes) shows choreographer Jamal Sims at work, as well as rehearsal footage with the actors. The Disc contains five DELETED SCENES which run about 7 minutes and can be viewed with optional commentary from Brewer. There are two new scenes here, both of which make Reverend Moore more human, so it's interesting that they were cut. The other scenes are merely brief moments from scenes in the film. The Disc contains MUSIC VIDEOS for the songs "Footloose" by Blake Shelton, "Fake ID" by Big & Rich, and "Holding Our for a Hero" by Ella Mae Bowen. "Footloose Rap" (2 minutes) allows a Footloose fan to recreate her on-line rap with the stars of the film.
Review Copyright 2012 by Mike Long