This weekend I finally got around to watching the new Footloose movie. I’ve been saying I wanted to see it since it came out last year, but being the original 1984 Footloose lover that I am, I was extremely hesitant. I just knew this remake would be a letdown. And although it definitely wasn’t as good as the original, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. If you’re a fan of the original Footloose like me or just a dance movie lover, I would definitely recommend this movie.
The movie follows high school senior Ren (played by Kenny Wormald), who transfers to the small Georgia town of “Bomont” (I thought the original took place in Texas, but I could have just imagined that) from Boston when he comes to live with his aunt and uncle after losing his mother to Leukemia. He meets and instantly is attracted to the local “wild child” and preacher’s daughter, Ariel (Julianne Hough), and also befriends the lovable Willard (Miles Teller), who is a big source of comedic relief in the film. Ren is taken aback by the town’s strict laws for teenagers which include a nightly curfew of 10:00 pm, a ban on dancing and on listening to rock and roll or loud music. These laws are the result of a car accident that took the lives of several high school seniors (including Ariel’s only brother) after a party three years earlier. The town elders blame the party’s dancing and music for the deaths of the teens, hence the ban on all things fun to teenagers in Bomont. But of course the teenagers rebel against the laws and always find a way to sneak in a dance montage at the local diner or blast some music out in the Georgia countryside.
Part of the reason I liked the remake was because (almost) everything was exactly like the original. I even wondered at one point if the movie was line for line the same. They kept all of the good songs from the original like “Holding Out For A Hero”, “Let’s Hear It For The Boy”, “Almost Paradise”, “Dancing In The Sheets” and of course the title track “Footloose”. Most of the songs were remade by modern artists but they found a way to mix almost all of the old songs in at some point throughout the movie. Also, I was floored when I saw that the wardrobe for the final Prom scene was identical to what the characters wore in the 1984 version. Ariel in her light pink, ruffly, chiffon dress and Ren in his cute maroon with black trim blazer. Classic!
The film did have some differences from the original, though, like the focus on the relationship between Ren and his deceased mother, which I don’t remember being in the original. Also, Ren had a major Boston accent in the remake (Kenny Wormald is actually from Boston) and Kevin Bacon sure didn’t talk like that in the original. The dancing was of course more modern which means there was way more grinding on the dance floor in this one than in the original (kids these days). But the biggest disappointment for me was the infamous scene where Ren dances in the warehouse to relieve all of his pent-up stress and anger. You know which one I’m talking about, ladies. Here is the original scene in all of its Totally Awesome 80’s glory.
Does it get any better than that? I just don’t think so. So that I don’t spoil the ending for anyone who hasn’t yet seen the movie (has anyone really NOT seen Footloose??) I will only say it was exactly like the original, which is pretty much the best part of the movie. Overall, the movie was enjoyable but if you haven’t seen either movie, watch the original.
Now if you will excuse me, I’m going to go turn on some Kenny Loggins and shout “LET’S DANCE”!