Footloose’ face-off: may the best dancer win

When “Footloose” was released in 1984, it was a hit and made Kevin Bacon a bona fide star. The film contained some of the 80’s best and most varied music, which led to a hit soundtrack and even spawned a Broadway musical. Now, the film is being remade, which sparks the question for devoted fans and newcomers alike: will the remake be as good as the original? Or will it be better?

The stories of both versions of “Footloose” are similar: they begin with a teenager, Ren McCormack, who has moved from Chicago to a small town in the west, in which a tragic accident from years ago made dancing and rock music illegal. Ren and his new friends and classmates want to do away with the law and have their senior prom. It is not long before Ren falls for Ariel, whose overprotective father, Reverend Shaw Moore, is the authority figure in town and enforces the ban on dancing. Ren uses his skills at dance to try to change the town laws.

In the new film, the story is the same, but the dancing and the music are modern.

Julianne Hough, who gained fame on TV’s “Dancing with the Stars,” stars as Ariel in the new movie, said that director Craig Brewer “did [the original] justice” by keeping in mind the attitude, “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”

“We make it more in depth to understand. Ren’s mom is gone and Ariel’s brother is gone, so the tone of the movie is set in the first five minutes,” Hough, a Utah native, said over the phone, her dog barking in the background. “You can sympathize with the parents because they want to protect their children.”

Where Oscar-nominated actor Kevin Bacon played the young Ren in 1984, relative newcomer Kenny Wormald will try on Ren’s dancing shoes in the remake. Hough said the cast and crew worked together well.

“We were a bunch of kids at summer camp,” she said. “The director, producers, actors

all clicked. It was a perfect combination of everything. We were lucky.” Hough also voiced her confidence in the new film’s ability to please the fans of the original, saying that the crew worked hard to include the best of the old film, while including new material for the remake.

“People who saw the original will be impressed,” she said. “I loved this movie more than anything. It is hard to come across a good teenage movie that has a moral message and heart. I am so proud of it. It was definitely rewarding.”

But how will audiences react to a movie remade from a what is considered by some an 80s classic?

“I think that is it going to be interesting since it involves new cast members and music,” junior Sarah Jane Chabak said. “Being a dancer, I know that it is sometimes hard to keep songs in their original form. With the new movie, the songs might be changed, which might upset people who really liked the first version. Personally, I am excited to see this movie, but chances are I am going to compare it to the original.”

Junior Sam Lazewski is also a dancer and is interested in that aspect of the new film.

“I am interested to see how they have modernized such a classic dance film,” he said.

Others are not so enthusiastic.

“I’m afraid it might wind up being like the remake of ‘Fame,'” sophomore PJ Argento said. “They might try too hard to make it edgier and modern, and cause it to lose the charm of the original.”

But some fans might fulfill Hough’s hopes by enjoying both versions of “Footloose.”

“I have not seen the original Footloose, but I am looking forward to seeing this one,” junior Elizabeth Parr said. “I think it will be fun, and I might even want to see the original one because of it!”

Catherine Chidiac can be reached at catherine.chidiac@student.shu.

Pirate Life Editor Erin Bell contributed to this article. She can be reached at erin.bell@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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