I was born post-Footloose, and yet still very much was born in the 80’s. I have heard the song, danced to its rhythm, and sang to its tune, but just until recently, I had not fully experienced its story. I decided it was time that I hunker down and add it to my Netflix queue.
So, I did just that. I watched every second and soaked up every storyline. And when the final scene came upon my screen, I was attempting to dance just like the characters, only 27 years later in different shoes.
Were there moments that were cheesy? Yes. But, isn’t that what the 80’s era is known for: corny trends that all make a comeback. So, we shouldn’t be all that surprised that Footloose, the 1984 classic film, would follow in the footsteps of all other 80’s favorites, by returning to the scene.
Most people that experienced the original film felt any number of emotions when hearing of the remake: anger, disappointment, sadness, and most likely pessimism; a skeptical stance that the second could never settle in the same league as the first. I get it. After seeing the first, I proudly belonged to that crowd.
Then, I had the opportunity to attend an advanced screening of the new Footloose. I thought about my favorite scenes, characters and stories from the first, and assumed I’d leave longing for the movie made long ago. Instead, I left with an extra spark in my step, more hope in my heart, and a fondness for the fads that I wish had never faded. There is morality and innocence in this movie that is uniquely heart warming and uncommonly portrayed. In order for you to form your own opinion, I highly recommend racing to the theaters on October 14th when it premieres.
In addition to experiencing the film, I had the opportunity to sit down with Julianne Hough and Ken Wormald, the two leading actors, and Craig Brewer, the director, to get their feel for the film. As far as Julianne and Ken were concerned, they were as down to earth as Ariel and Ren, their characters, which left me feeling more like I had just talked with friends rather than rubbed elbows with royalty. It was a breath of fresh air, to say the least. Both are professional dancers, and so their style and swagger had to be tamed in order to accurately portray the skill that a pair of seventeen-year olds might actually own. They had a respect for the original that was beautifully balanced with an aspiration to make the remake authentically its own. When chatting with Craig, I became in awe of the character behind the camera. His honesty, heart and humility struck me most. He explained how he had every single line from the original movie memorized, and that a lot of soul went into re-scripting scenes without stripping their substance. I left these three individuals invigorated, knowing that when spirits of that sort are embedded with such good intention, you can’t go wrong by giving the second a chance, after all, isn’t there a time and a place where we all need to cut loose?!