‘Footloose’ remake creates even better Bacon for dance fanatics


Abbie Powers

The iconic scene from the movie where Ren and Ariel finally dance together. Art by Theresa Whang .
Teen angst. Miniskirts. Red boots.
Those seemed to be the main components of the reverberated classic Footloose. And although they may sound like a racy, superficial bunch, they managed to unite in a common, enjoyable film — one with lots of heart, lots of rebellion and lots of music.
The storyline of Footloose has al­ways been and will always be flaw­less entertainment. After the small, Christian town of Bomont, Georgia gets hit in the face by tragedy, it goes to unconstitutional measures to keep its remaining teenage populace safe and innocent.
When Ren MacCormack (Kenny Wormald, backup dancer for Justin Timberlake) arrives in Bomont, he befriends the rambunctious preach­er’s daughter, Ariel Moore (Julianne Hough, Dancing With the Stars, Bur­lesque). With Ren’s help, the whole town ends up liberated — freed from past weights, anxiety and the hindrances of the present.
Director Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow, The Poor and Hungry) had quite the challenge in recreating this ‘80s classic. The old version of Footloose, starring Kevin Bacon, was a genera­tional phenomenon, in an age where anti-tradition were finally settling down and becoming tradition them­selves, one film shot a feisty spirit into the air once more.
In a movie about defying old standards and living the modern life with no rules to hinder or hold back, a strong sense of spirit and passion is inevitable. That is where the new kid makes his comeback. The old does its best to enlighten an audience, but the new achieves this lighthearted­ness in a more enjoyable, cleaner cut way, which makes its message of purposeful retaliation even stronger to take in.
Wormald pulls off the character of Ren perfectly — vulnerable and slightly sensitive, enough to melt a girl’s heart, but tough enough to cre­ate an air of calculated danger and mystery.
To be honest, he was just down­right attractive. Who doesn’t love a studly dark horse, hair in an upward fountain of tousled tresses, tough, Boston accent flowing from that charming grin?
Hough wears the perfect amount of clothing to make any teenage boy in the audience fall in love and does a good job at retaliating in bal­ance — her rebellion does not reach the point of stupidity or annoyance. However, watching her flaunt it all in front of Ren, who was incredibly sweet in comparison, made her lack of modesty slightly irritating.
Both characters act with a truth that brings with it likability and conveys a sense of emotion — if Ren hated the pretentious man in the vest, then so did I. The combination of these actors’ sincere performances and a realistic message of misunder­stood youth lets teenagers easily re­late to the film’s main personalities.
Characters that were a joy to watch filled the movie, along with pleasing footage and dialogue. Much of the script in the new movie was identical to that of the old. Dean Pitchford, writer of the original screenplay, has even shared writing credits with Brewer. The changes helped transmit its message even clearer than before.
The film’s cinematography was creative and visually pleasing — from the classic shot of dancing feet during the intro slide of names, t o a much more romantic first kiss than the old film. The flow of movement, from an angry Ren, aggres­sively backing his car out of the parking lot, to Ariel’s swinging saunter, loudly mak­ing an entrance, was flawless. Cinematog­rapher Amy Vincent filmed each action from an original, coordinated angle with an almost rhythmic, musical flow — a tribute to dancing. It made me want to learn to country line dance for the first time in my life.
With two enjoy­able leads and fresh cin­ematography, this mov­ie has certainly made an invigorating dent on an everlasting clas­sic. Add some catchy music, quality dancing, southern charm and char­acters with a purpose, this film shook out to be pure fun.
By Abbie Powers