It's taken me a long time to come to grips with this cinematic weakness - or maybe it's a blessing.
I like dance movies, especially if the music is bouncy and it makes the characters happy. That's an infectious film sequence for me. And honestly, "Footloose" is a dance movie/musical, whether you're referring to the 1984 version or the 2011 film.
Is it necessary? Nope. But it's fun all the same. And as a critic who barely goes a week anymore without seeing a remake or a "reimagining," it's time I accept that remakes are a phenomenon that's going to be around for some time as long as they keep making money.
There's no Kenny Loggins or Kevin Bacon cameo here, but even the camera angles of the original movie pay homage to the original. And yes, the yellow Volkswagen Beetle is back, along with scenes of dancing feet seen through the steps of bleachers, the solo dance scene in a warehouse and even the original Loggins rendition of "Footloose" as well as Blake Shelton's remake. And you'll also get to hear a new "Almost Paradise," along with an adorable version of "Let's Hear it for the Boy" sung by little girls.
Kenny Wormald, the newcomer chosen from hundreds of candidates, plays Ren, who has relocated to a small southern town from Massachusetts. To his dismay, he discovers that the local minister/member of the school board (Dennis Quaid) has led a ban on dancing and loud music.
The minister's daughter Ariel (Julianne Hough, of television's "Dancing With the Stars") is a wild child who sneaks out from under her father's watchful eye. She's seeing a tough-as-nails racecar driver, but she can't take her eyes off Ren.
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And if you know the plot of the first movie, then you know the plot of the second one. In fact, you'll probably be able to guess it even if you haven't seen the first and don't plan on seeing the remake. That's OK, though. This isn't a plot-driven movie. It's about rebellion used as a cover-up for hurt, and, of course, about how important music and dancing are to young people everywhere.
Is it a social statement? Heavens no. But it is a movie with a social conscience and more than a smidgen of spirituality. It's great good fun, with music that's a tribute to the past while remaining timeless.