The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, October 17, 2011

Footloose (2011)

Just saw the new "Footloose," and loved it. Actually had a more powerful emotional reaction than I did to the original. Kevin Bacon was a better actor than Kenny Wormald. Wormald is a better dancer, so their physical expression is comparable. But where "Footloose" shines is in reminding us WHY we dance, and by actually showing us the tragedy that motivates the city ban against (unsupervised) dancing, they sharpen the theme. Neither the original nor this new one are classics. But both are terrific.

The core story deals with a town which, due to a heartbreaking tragedy, responds by making unsupervised dances illegal. An teenaged outsider (Wormald) challenges the status quo. Dancing ensues. Very simple. But I noticed that once the basic thread of that plot was resolved, there was still ten minutes of screen time left. This was handled by use of a secondary plot--Wormald has romanced the preacher's daughter, and her ex-boyfriend has been hovering around as a potential threat. As a metaphorical representative of the "old" way of thinking and behaving, the conflict allows us to focus and release our emotions as Wormald and his friends are threatened by this, the last beat in the romantic subplot, leading to an explosion of joy and dance.

Beautifully done! B+


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