It's been a while of slogging through the past year of 3D after 3D movie coming out, and most of them are not rushing out to see, since the movies themselves aren't worth the trouble (and some, like Last Airbender
, threaten to derail the old-new technology that is raking in the bucks). But sometimes one should see a 3D movie if it merits it, or looks to be like the gimmick of it will make it worthwhile- yes, gimmick, it really still is even with the merits with Avatar and Toy Story 3 in the format- and Step Up 3D is one of those movies.
This isn't a review where I can talk about the film in terms of its
'canon' placement in the series, in large part since this is the first Step Up
movie I've seen. Then again the films are only somewhat connected through a couple of the characters (Moose and Camille, from Step Up 2 the Streets and Step Up respectively), and it can be watched pretty much on its own terms. And who comes to these movies for the plot?
The story is the most clichéd thing about it: a guy has his own kind of, uh, 'family' of dancers called The Pirates who dance the pants off anyone they come across, except maybe the Samurai, who will face off against them. But does the guy, closet filmmaker Luke, know that the girl he's falling for is really the sister of the nefarious douche who runs the Samurai dancers? Oh no, what will happen, especially considering all of the dancers are counting on this final 100 grand payment at the competition to save the loft?
Indeed the story was not the reason I went out to see this, and aside
from some laughter at some of the plot twists and almost ALL of the performances (they range from competent to laughably WTF, like pulling out the rejects from Electric Boogaloo from the Hot Tub Time Machine), but how nuts the dancing could get. To be fair, who really follows who these cast members or characters really are? Who cares as the characters flirt with one another with floating-in-the-breeze slurpees? One is more well-versed in the work of the composer, Bear McCreary
, oddly enough of Battlestar Galactica fame.
(this wall-of-boombox is a sight, considering it's every boombox left in civilization)
Believe it or not, this isn't really all technically *dancing*. It's crazy choreography, and there should be a difference distinguished between the two. When a dance number turns into a demo reel for TRON 3D (the finale), it isn't dancing really, not the kind that can be enjoyed like from the old days of dancing musicals. After a while it just turns into a lot of manic movements, often like robotic dancing (Domo Arrigato) and other weird things. At one point a dance group keeps wooshing black smoke, which of course is just right (and wrong) for 3D.
But there are some moments when one can stop laughing or just being
entertained at the ludicrous 'bustin' of moves and how some of it turns into 'Beat It' (like the music video, such as a 'dancing fight' in a bathroom where the Samurai crew gang up on Moose in the bathroom), or some moments when one can stop laughing at the character turns (hey, if a character can have a double major in Engineering and Dancing at NYU, why can't another go to film school in NYC, supposedly in this world there are only film schools in California and they accept based on crappy document, oh nevermind), and it is genuinely fun. It is mostly harmless, and not offensive to certain sensibilities of intelligence like High School Musical movies. It's a goofy movie for young people that does feature a couple of genuinely amazing moments; when Moose and Camille stop at an ice cream truck and have a song turned up loud and do a *real* dance number on the street, it turns for a moment into the bright whimsy of a Gene Kelly number.
Those moments aren't many, and often the movie just goes from one stupid scene to another. But if one can leave intellectual high standards at the door and take in a movie that is just silly 80's-dance-movie inspired fun, then it's a good time. And the 3D makes things pop and groove in the dance numbers, and somehow works for the benefit of the material.