Saturday, September 3, 2011

Footloose Reboot: Everybody Cut... Again?

Kevin Bacon, Original Ren
Kenny Wormald, Reboot Ren

I remember the first time I saw the movie Footloose (1984).  I was ten years old and had an insta-crush on Kevin Bacon.  He seemed so earnest yet cool as Ren: a Chicago boy forced to move to Beaumont, Texas, a fictionalized town that has banned rock music and dancing.  Footloose was not well received by critics, but it did become a classic dance movie with a cult following, similar to Flashdance and Dirty Dancing.

As I got older, I became more aware of the film's shortcomings: the dialogue is, at times, incredibly corny and dated, and some plot points are too far-fetched.  However, these elements are also what add to the film's charm and appeal.  At its core, Footloose is about achieving the freedom to express oneself, in dance, but more importantly, in life.  

So what is the 2011 Footloose remake about and how is it different from the original?  Watching the trailer below you will see that it is not very different at all.

The trailer certainly succeeds at making the film look more modern than its predecessor, but at what cost?  Dennis Quaid has replaced John Lithgow as the town's preacher and over-protective father.  This new Ren, played by Kenny Wormald, is from Boston instead of Chicago, and has a wicked thick accent to prove it.  Instead of classic songs like Holding Out for A Hero, Hurts So Good, and I'm Free (Heaven Helps the Man), we get "trendier" music that seems more suited to the next Step Up movie. 

What made the first Footloose cheesy but delightfully so, sappy yet sometimes poignant, and old-fashioned but also cool, will not be found in its remake.  In its place, we get a flashier and more provocative film, but one without the soul and passion of the original.

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