While more than twenty-five years have passed since Footloose made its theatrical debut in February of 1984, one has to wonder why Hollywood felt it needed the remake treatment. While the music might sound a bit dated for some, the title song (among others), still has a zippy feel for the mid-eighties that any MTV fan of that time should recognize. The 2011 remake modernizes the familiar tale, with director Craig Brewer (Hustle and Flow, Black Snake Moan) recognizing how times have changed, without tinkering too much with the dancing that helped make the original Footloose a classic.
Boston teen Ren McCormack (Kenny Wormald) has arrived in Bomont, Georgia to spend his senior year living with his Uncle Wes (Ray McKinnon) and Aunt Lulu (Kim Dickens). Having watched his mother slowly die of leukemia, and his father leave the family when she became ill, Wren is a wounded young man. Being a city kid, Wren feel like the small town of Bomont is the most backward place on earth. As it turns out, Bomont is as wounded as Wren. Three years earlier, the town lost five of its best and brightest in a car accident after a dance. In response, the town council enacted more stringent rules of conduct that included an eleven o’clock curfew, and a ban on public, unsupervised dancing for minors.
One of the kids killed in car accident happened to be the son of the local preacher, Rev. Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid). Devastated by his loss, Shaw was influential in getting the stricter rules passed, and sees them as they only way to protect the town’s youth. While most of Bomont’s teens have begrudgingly accepted the rules—occasionally finding ways to skirt them—the reverend’s daughter Ariel (Julianne Hough) acts out. She’s dating local loser Chuck (Patrick John Flueger), having sex, drinking, and raising hell whenever possible. However, despite Ariel’s relationship with Chuck, there’s something about this new kid from Boston that intrigues her.
Meanwhile, Wren has found a friend in Willard (Miles Teller), a fun-loving redneck who’s indifferent when it comes to dancing. In a short time, Ren and Ariel forge a tumultuous yet caring relationship. Together, they decide to challenge her father and more specifically, the town’s ban on dancing.
Footloose doesn’t cover a great deal of new ground, but it offers good fun. Craig Brewer wisely sticks closely to the source material, appeasing the original films fans, while updating the plot enough to make his mark on the project. Also to his credit, Brewer cast dancers in the two lead roles as opposed to actors. As a result, the movie is filled with slick dance routines; these are people who know how to move. Admittedly, the acting doesn’t exhibit such ease. Kenny Wormald fails to maintain a consistent Boston accent and Hough doesn’t offer much more than her piercing blue eyes and white smile. Nonetheless, the two have chemistry, and dance very well. The supporting cast including Dennis Quaid, Ray McKinnon, and Kim Dickens turn in fine performances, but are given little to do. No matter though, in the end, Footloose is about the dancing.
Presented in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, Paramount’s 1080p transfer is excellent. The film has a lush appearance, with greens and yellows courtesy of cinematographer Amelia Vincent. Textures are strong throughout this error free image.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio matches the video presentation note for note, with crystal clear dialogue, and a soundtrack with plenty of oomph. Full and bombastic, the bass leads the way.
English, English SDH, French, Spanish, and Portuguese subtitles are available.
The following special features are included:
- Audio Commentary: Director Craig Bower discusses his involvement in the project, his love of the original Footloose, making the movie relevant for this generation, shooting locations, the cast, the story’s themes, etc.
- Jump Back: Re-Imagining Footloose (1080p, 14:46): This is feature has cast and crew discussing the original and moving on to explore the hiring of a director for the new movie, casting this version, writing the script, costuming, music, shooting locales and more.
- Everybody Cut: The Stars of Footloose (1080p, 12:59): A closer look at the casting of Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Dennis Quaid, Andie MacDowell, Miles Teller, Patrick John Flueger, Ziah Colon, and Ser’Darius Blain.
- Dancing with the Footloose Stars (1080p, 12:39): A closer look at the movie’s choreography.
- Deleted Scenes (1080p, 6:54): Ariel and Rusty Drive, Ren’s Gym Flip, Reverend Shaw’s Speech, Willard’s Bloody Nose, and Roger Argues with the Moores. Available with optional director commentary.
- Music Videos (1080p): “Footloose” by Blake Shelton (4:24), “Fake ID” by Big & Rich (3:32), and “Holding Out for a Hero” by Ella Mae Brown (4:22).
- Footloose Rap (1080p, 2:01): Emily Whitcomb’s Footloose-inspired Rap video.
- UV Copy.
- DVD Copy.