Let’s Step Up

Step Up might be the last choice for someone who wishes to spend quality time in movie theaters.  Posters in theaters showing a man standing close to a woman  as if aiming for a kiss tells that the movie is another ordinary love story. Print ads have already spoken how  predictable the movie is. If someone buys a ticket for Step Up, he will surely meet his expectation of watching a movie with formulaic plot and conventional characters. After watching the movie, he will like it, maybe.  But, at least, he will smile.

The movie caters to young audience. Kids who like High School Musical, Glee, Save the Last Dance, Hannah Montana, Hillary Duff movies  may find the same inkling for Step Up. Its themes  revolve around two messages of inspiration for this age group: Follow your dreams and follow your passion.

The story  also follows patterns of other teenage movies. These are winning a competition, a girl hoping to be noticed by her childhood friend,  and achieving the protagonist’s big dreams. It is a story of a dance group competing for  World Jam dance competition. Moose, an engineering student at New York University is  dancing at the park when he is discovered by Luke, the man behind the dance group, Pirates.  Luke meets Natalie in a dance floor.  Eventually, Natalie is invited to join Pirates. They end up falling in love but they face a big problem: She is a spy of her brother who is the team leader of Pirates’ rival group in World Jam, Samurai. Meanwhile,  Camille, Moose’s best friend  hopes to be more than a friend to Moose. Despite some members of Pirates  have left the dance group, Pirates win over Samurai in the dance competition. Moose and Camille learn that they share the same feeling.  Luke, together with Natalie,  decides to  go to California  to study film. At the train station,  his members express their support to their  leader.  Moose, on the other hand, pursues double major in college. With the permission from a school official, he can study engineering and dance at the same time.

To easily identify the good and the bad, the characters are stereotypical. The Pirates wear bright colors while the rival dance group wear black. Luke speaks in a  deep and modulated voice . It adds the charm to his masculinity. And of course, favorite characters for a feel-good movie are present such a s a happy-go-lucky boy, a sweet and nice girl, an attractive hunk,  and a gorgeous missy.

The dance is of great entertainment value as expected. They groove with the latest dance music, hip hop with some acrobatic stunts and  robot dance steps.  Their dance numbers represent the kind of trends that are seen in TV dance competition nowadays.

Their choreography is planned according to its relevance to the scenes and emotions.  One of the most  likeable scenes  in the movie is when Moose and Camille are walking around the streets while dancing. It is like watching a scene from a musical play.

What makes their productions number more engaging is the additional visual elements. Camille and Moose dance at the sidewalk holding two large paintings. The two portraits cover their upper bodies and only show their feet tapping. The  ‘slurpee scene’ is a pleasant scene to the eyes. Perfect afternoon sunlight fill the sky as Luke and Natalie blow bubbles out of their slurpee drinks. They are  standing above an air vent. Their hair fight against the air as bubbles fly everywhere. Their last dance showdown is something to look forward. Tiny light bulbs (resembling an emergency light) are  attached to their costumes. The light bulbs change from one color as their bodies move. The light  colors coördinate with their dance. It sparks curiosity how the actors manage to turn on the same color and switch colors of light bulbs together.  If based upon these movie parts, it can be said that the visual aspect of the movie is well-thought.

Never mind if the story is the similar to other movies of its kind. The dance, the spectacle, the youthful energy are enough to get  your money’s worth . Besides,  who would not  want to feel young again?

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