Footloose (2011) Movie Review, Written by: Karen Benardello
Directed by: Craig Brewer (‘Hustle & Flow,’ ‘Black Snake Moan’)
Starring: Kenny Wormald ‘(‘Center Stage: Turn It Up’), Julianne Hough (‘Burlesque,’ TV’s ‘Dancing With the Stars’) and Dennis Quaid
Some films so perfectly capture the voice of a generation that even the mention of remaking it brings criticisms by loyal fans. ‘Footloose,’ which helped launch Kevin Bacon’s career when it was released in 1984, is one such movie. Teens were able to relate to Bacon’s rebellious character, Ren MacCormack, who tirelessly questioned the authority of the adults running his town. The new ‘Footloose’ remake, which was directed and co-written by Craig Brewer and is being released by MTV Films, surprisingly stays true to the original, in both plot and moral standpoints.
The ‘Footloose’ remake, much like the original film, follows Ren (now played by Kenny Wormald) as he moves from a northern city to a small southern town. After his mother died from leukemia, Ren leaves Boston to move in with his uncle, aunt and two young cousins in small-town Bomont. Experiencing culture shock, Ren doesn’t understand why Reverend Shaw Moore (portrayed by Dennis Quaid) has implemented ordinances that enforce a curfew and prohibit loud music and dancing among Bomont’s minors.
Ren discovers that a few years before he arrived in Bomont, five high school seniors died in a car crash while driving home from a party. While he understands the town is still mourning the students’ deaths, Ren is determined not to bow to the town’s status quo. As a result, he challenges the dancing ban, and revitalizes the town’s spirit. In the process, he falls in love with the reverend’s troubled daughter Ariel (played by Julianne Hough), who also opposes the dancing ban.
While the ‘Footloose’ remake doesn’t differ much from the original musical-drama, in terms of the characters and plot-line, Brewer was able to successfully modernize the tale while staying true to its important message. While known for helming the drug filled drama ‘Hustle & Flow,’ Brewer proved his talent as a filmmaker by capturing the rebellious feelings of the current high school generation in ‘Footloose.’ Ren, Ariel and their friends, including Rusty (portrayed by Ziah Colon) and Willard (played by Miles Teller), still remember and think about the students who died in the crash. While they understand their parents’ determination to protect them, the young friends want to experience the fun aspects of high school. They also want to make, and learn from, their own mistakes, without having to worry about their parents continuously watch them.
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