Footloose Through the Years

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Craig Brewer directs a remake of the 1984 musical with a delightful combination of dance choreography and realistic and touching performances. Like the original, the 2011 adaptation of Footloose follows a city kid named Ren McCormack (Kenny Wormald) as he moves to the old fashioned and uptight town of Bomont, Tennessee, where he winds up rebelling against its laws banning dancing and rock music. Julianne Hough plays his love interest, Ariel Moore.
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures
April 25th, 2012

"Footloose" Through the Years

--"Footloose" was an original movie when it was made in 1984. Because of its originality, "Footloose" has not only remained popular through the years, but has come to be considered one of the most iconic films of the 1980s. Because of its immense popularity, a remake of "Footloose" was made in 2011. While the almost thirty years between the two films has made some changes necessary, the remake still retains many important aspects of the original.

The basic plot remains the same in both "Footloose" movies. A teenage city boy named Ren moves to a small town where dancing is banned by law. Ren petitions for the right to hold a school dance and teaches the people in the town how to dance and have fun. In the process, he falls in love with Ariel, the daughter of a strict Reverend.

While the basic plot of the movie remains the same, the remake gives the audience a greater understanding of the characters' motivations. In the remake, the audience learns that the Reverend has caused the town to ban dancing because of the deaths of several teens, including his son, following a loud party involving drinking and dancing. The remake also gives a reason for Ren's rebellious behavior and his presence in this new town by explaining his mom's death after a long battle with cancer. Both of these changes add depth to the characters and give clearer motivations for their actions.

The remake maintains the original movie's theme of music and dancing. However, the types of music the characters listen to are different in the remake. The characters' style of dance is also different. This is partially because each movie reflects the style of music and dance that was popular when it was released. This helps young audiences relate to the message more.

The 2011 version of "Footloose" also comes with a revamped wardrobe. The clothes the characters wear in each film reflect the styles of the decades in which the films were made. This is another way that the modern filmmakers attempted to help young audiences relate to the new film. They wanted young people watching "Footloose" to identify with the young characters in the movie.

In an attempt to stitch the two movies together, several of the iconic outfits from the original movie were repeated in the remake. Ren's outfit for the first day of school, a button-down shirt with a loose-fitting tie, speaks to his casual but cool character. The remake also maintains the famous red jacket tuxedo at the end of the movie. Audiences also see Ariel wear her rebellious campaign T-shirt in both movies.

The remake also has most of the same characters as the original film. Ren, Ariel, the Reverend, and Willard are all there, along with most of the same minor characters, too. Since the characters of the original film were so beloved, the remake would have faced harsh criticism if the characters were vastly different.

The original "Footloose" is full of classic scenes, as well. The remake kept most of these popular scenes, only changing them a bit to help modern audiences relate. Some of the famous scenes in both films include Ren's barn dancing scene, Ariel playing chicken with the tough crowd, and Ren teaching Willard how to dance.
The remake also retains the pivotal scene of the original "Footloose" film. Ren meets with the town council to confront them about lifting the ban on dancing. However, Ren acts differently in this scene in the remake than he does in the original. In the original, Ren is passionate and fiery, whereas he is more calm and collected in the remake. However, the scene still has the intended effect on the plot.

The very last set of scenes is almost exactly the same in each of the movies. Ren and the other teenagers win the fight and get to have their school dance. They all dance and celebrate their victory and their youth.

Overall, the remake of "Footloose" was very true to the original film. The filmmakers retained the same overall message and retained the classic "Footloose" scenes and images that audiences have come to know well. The remake even has Ren driving the same yellow Volkswagen Bug. While the remake got all the details right, it did still deviate from the original story in some areas. However, these deviations made the plot deeper and gave viewer greater understanding of the characters. Even though the original remains a classic, the "Footloose" remake introduced the story to a whole new generation.

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