As much as I’ve liked many of the movies this summer, I’m getting so tired of all these remakes and adaptations. It’s OK if it’s a book adaptation that’s never been done before (Cowboys and Aliens) or a prequel that takes a new look at characters we know (X-Men: First Class), but some of these adaptations are driving me up the wall. Something tells me the new Footloose is going to be one of the latter.
I just rewatched the 1984 movie this past week (my boyfriend had never seen it, believe it or not), and the one thing you can say about it is that it makes a really good point about dancing and youthful expression… that it doesn’t always lead to sin. If you look at the last moments of the film, there are barely any couples dancing and definitely no grinding. It was just them celebrating. In the new film’s trailers, most of the dancing looks super sexual, which almost proves the Reverend’s point, doesn’t it?
The other big thing about this movie is that the modern setting doesn’t work. In the original, the teenagers in that town felt very cut off from the rest of the world. They had to leave the town limits to interact with any other type of community. With the new movie being contemporary, you have to ask the question… in the internet age, does it really matter that they aren’t allowed to dance? It’s not like they can’t learn dance moves (and plenty of weightier sins) online. The trailer makes it seem like getting the school dance comes down to the principle of the thing, but it just feels forced. More than skewing Ren’s mission, why did the town just ban dancing? There are plenty of other, more dire aspects to being a teenager nowadays that terrified parents can forbid their children from doing. With sexting, blowjob parties, Duke Nukem Forever, Google Image Search with the safety filters turned off… dancing and rock music seems really low on the list, doesn’t it?
I’m also very hesitant about the actors. Like I said, I just rewatched the original this week, and while the movie can get on the cheesy side (Ren letting out his passionate angst with a dance montage, for instance), there is oodles of charm in the story and the way they presented it. A lot of that had to do with the actors, and I just don’t think the replacements are up to snuff. Kevin Bacon owned that role, and this newcomer Kenny Wormald just doesn’t have that presence. While I know all of the main young characters in the original were way too old to be high schoolers, three of the four new leads look ever older. The only one that looks even close to being a teenager is the Chris Penn replacement Miles Teller, and even he’s 24! Like I said, the original cast looked old, but here’s the filmmakers’ chance to do something different by making the characters seem young, and they didn’t. And I’m sorry, but Dennis Quaid is no John Lithgow.
But probably the biggest issue with the trailers is that it’s almost exactly the same movie, even down to the yellow Volkswagon beetle with the trick door. Nothing feels original and nothing feels new, except maybe that Ren is apparently Australian (I think). I get that they’re trying to tempt people with the lure of nostalgia, but that’s going to make it very, very easy to compare it side-by-side with the original movie. I highly doubt it’s going to be better than the original at doing what the original did best.
This is how I feel about remakes… are you making a movie that does something truly original while still staying true to the older film or are you just modernizing an better movie so that you can get asses in the seats? If it’s the latter, than you represent what I hate about the film industry. Congrats. Footloose 2012 might be the former, but I’m not holding my breath.