So the other night, I just happen to flip on the TV and caught the very beginning of the Footloose remake. I never saw it in the theater but I was curious as to how it might stack up against the original. Also, when the remake first came out, I had heard that the filmmakers really tried to tip their hats to the original… same yellow VW bug, all the characters names were the same, it still took place in the same small town as the original and so on and so forth…
Now, in a lot of big super hero movie productions – especially the Marvel Avengers universe movies – the film producers go an awful long way to throw comic book fans Easter eggs here and there – or special nods that only true die hard comic book fans would get or spot. Why am I bringing this up? Well, that was one of the problems I had with this remake… it just seemed to me, as I continued to watch this movie, the producers either wanted to pay homage SO much to the “classic” (and let’s be honest – original) film so much or they were so afraid to piss all of us 40 or somethings off, that they quite nearly filmed the EXACT SAME MOVIE but with different actors.
Sure, some of the specific details changed from the original to the remake… Ren’s family situation is different. There’s dirt racing instead of farm tractors. And you get to SEE the accident that changed the small town forever in the first few minutes of the movie. Oh, and probably the BIGGEST change from the remake was that this time around, BLACK PEOPLE actually lived in the same city and hug out with Ren.
But what didn’t change? Almost everything else. Ren still drive the VW – only I did like the fact that he fixed it up himself. He still wore his leather tie. Ariel still had her red cowboy boots and Ren still did his comical “solitary angry dance in the train station”. Ariel and Ren even wore the same dang clothes for prom… Ren with his red tuxedo and Ariel with her shoulder strapped dress. The thing that seemed to bother me the most though was the fact that much of the dialog WAS THE SAME. Word. For. Word. I almost got the feeling that the actors might have felt slightly embarrassed having to recite the same lines other actors (sometimes better actors) said twenty some years earlier.
It also seemed as though the movie really couldn’t decide what time frame it really wanted to be in. One one hand, there’s iPods instead of tape decks and there’s SOME modern hip-hop dancing but again, it seemed as though the producers didn’t want to piss off those of us that remembered the original fondly and with reverence… many of the dance sequences were almost entire rip-offs of the original with a few “new moves” thrown in to show that they were still in the present. But that was the problem… at least for those that saw the original.
I didn’t mind that they decided to film a remake of Footloose. I was upset that they didn’t come up with a brand new and modern take on Footloose.
Given how so many sectors of this country are becoming militantly “Christian Conservative”, the film producers could have REALLY pushed that envelope and gave that aspect of the film a much tougher, more modern take on this tale. The problem is, when the original came out, there was no FOX News, no Hannity, no Glenn Beck so all of the suppression of teenage freedoms in the name of religion in that movie are VERY, VERY tame in comparison to what we deal with these days so the same circumstances couldn’t possibly exist in a modern Footloose like the movie depicts. Again, it wanted to be modern but it also wanted a firm foot in the past of the original as well. In the end, that was just made for an awful, awful mess.
The good news, however, is that because Hollywood is devoid of any more truly creative and original stories… in a few more years, we’ll be subjected to yet ANOTHER Footloose re-remake all over again.