The purpose of redoing something, one would think, is to improve upon it or make it better somehow. This definition holds true unless, of course, the redoing is of a movie in which case the definition changes slightly. In that case, a remake means that the characters will be the same, as well as the situations that the characters are in, but the movie will be missing some vital piece that makes the original, well the original, and marks any attempt of redoing it blatantly as a remake. The new Footloose movie is no exception to this rule.
The new Footloose is a remake of the 1984 movie of the same name, which starred Kevin Bacon and John Lithgow among others. The basic plot of both movies is that a teenager, Ren McCormack, played by Kenny Wormwood in the 2011 version, moves from the city to the small Midwestern town of Bomont, where, after five kids die in a car accident that is the result of drinking at a dance, public dancing for anyone under the age of 18 is prohibited. Used to dancing in the city, Ren has a hard time adjusting to the small town atmosphere, and therefore is labeled as trouble, especially when the preacher’s daughter takes an interest. But like all movies these days, it has a happy ending, with Ren getting a school dance put together and the girl.
The 2011 version of the film takes the aforementioned definition of a movie remake to a new level. From the red cowboy boots Ariel Moore wears, portrayed by Julianne Hough in the 2011 version, Lori Singer in the 1984 version, to the scene where Ren dances out his feelings in an abandoned warehouse, everything is basically the same. Even the way the the movies begin, a few minutes of closeups on peoples shoes while they’re dancing, are the same. It was as if the old movie was put through a slightly dysfunctional xerox copy machine that produced a remake that was essentially the same, but also is missing something. This vital piece is the soundtrack.
Granted the songs used for the most part were the same songs or covers of the songs used in the original version, and save for a horribly done cover of holding out for a hero, the songs were okay. This is where the the vital piece goes missing. In the original, the songs on the soundtrack were literally made for the movie, making the soundtrack a musical translation of the story. The songs, most notably Footloose by Kenny Loggins, became huge and instant hits. The new version loses some of the charm the original had for this reason.
Since the songs are already hits, it seems like, as in other movies, the music was just dropped in to fill in gaps between dialogue with no real thought put into the placement of said songs. Overall the new version wasn’t necessarily bad as remakes go, but it just seemed kind of pointless to me. However, if you do plan on seeing the new version, do me a favor and see the original first.