Additionally there was no reason for anyone to remake Footloose but they did. Now I'm not trying to compare Footloose to Psycho in any way beyond the fact that they are two movies that were just fine as they were and had no reason to be remade. Original Footloose was a HUGE part of my life. I identified with it in so many ways. Plus it has held up over time. I tried watching Top Gun a number of years ago with a friend who had never seen it. In my mind Top Gun was this amazing movie. I know just about every line by heart. Watching it as an adult I saw all its flaws and was disheartened. Could it be that the movies I loved and held dear from the 80s all sucked?!?! Nope. Footloose is still great. It's themes of protecting our young and dealing with loss still work now.
THERE WAS NO NEED TO MAKE A NEW VERSION OF FOOTLOOSE! NONE AT ALL.
Well except for money. And isn't that what it's all about? I was totally against this movie from the minute I heard it was being made. I suffered through the casting changes (which at one time included a High School Musical alum and later a Gossip Girl guy) and was convinced that it was just going to suck. They landed on a dancer named Kenny Wormald to play Ren with a better known entity in Julianne Hough as Ariel. Julianne is adorable and aside from her taste in boyfriends has star charisma though is totally wrong for Footloose's Ariel. Back in 2007, if you had said the name Kenny Wormald, I was one of the few people who knew exactly who that was. I love dancing and reality shows and reality shows about dancing. I totally knew who Kenny was because he was on the short-lived, Jennifer Lopez produced, MTV reality show about dancers struggling to get jobs in Los Angeles, Dancelife. He wasn't even on that many episodes but he was cute, talented and had a wicked Boston accent. Anywhoodle, he's not an actor. Hough is not an actress. There was no way I was going to go see this movie. How would this movie be any good?
Turns out, it was totally good. In fact I kinda liked it. I know! I know! I'm such a hypocrite! It still wasn't necessary and moviemakers should strive for some originality more than they do. But dang if I wasn't at one point tapping my feet and dying to sing along. It was a fun movie and paid tons of respect to the original. Initially I was pissed that it seemed like a line-for-line and scene-for-scene copy. What's the point of that besides trying to appeal to a 'younger' audience? They proved me wrong and somehow it worked.
There was a lot of things that were exactly the same including Ren's car, Ariel's red cowboy boots, various situation, lines of dialogue,songs, and even dance moves. There were many things that were flat out different or just not in this version including scenes like the book burning, which was integral for Rev. Moore's character development.
I do have complaints but mostly it's casting issues because there's no way these people could live up to their predecessors. If it been NOTHING like the original I might have forgiven it but because they are so similar it's impossible not to compare. Hough played Ariel in a more bratty rebellious way whereas the original Ariel, played by Lori Singer, was a totally damaged rebel. Wormald did better than I expected with the dancing and acting but didn't have that fish-out-of-water spark that Kevin Bacon did so well. It's hard to put into words but it kind of felt like Bacon was in awe of this tiny town and their tiny ways whereas Wormald played it as he expected these small town folks to have small minds as well. Dennis Quaid and Andie MacDowell did fine as Ariel's parents, the Reverend and Mrs. Moore. However they just can't compare to their predecessors, John Lithgow and Dianne Weist. Lithgow and Weist had this fragility and loss that did not come through in this version.
Overall this movie was more fun and was surprisingly less edgy and had less danger. The scene where Ariel's d-bag of a boyfriend and his buddies throw a brick (or was it a rock?) through the bedroom window of Ren's young cousins was gone. However, the hit Ariel gets from her d-bag boyfriend was there as was the one she gets from her dad, both of which felt more jarring to me now than when I was a kid (what does that say about me? Don't answer that.)
This one did get some things right though. The best change they made was moving the location to Georgia which makes SO MUCH SENSE. Listen, I live in the deep south. I love it here and I love the people but if something like this were to take place it wouldn't be anywhere outside of the deep south.
Gah! I can't believe I saw it and actually liked it. Does this mean I might actually be wrong and end up liking the Hunger Games adaptation? Nah. Not a chance.
For a review rooted in a bit more reality, check out what Tracy wrote for examiner.com