"Step Up 3D" Movie Review (2010)

8/14/2010 Posted by Admin

"Step Up 3-D" 

Movie Review

Directed by Jon Chu, Written by Amy Andelson and Emily Meyer, 93 Minutes, Rated PG-13.

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti


Who would've thought the best use of 3-D yet in film would be a "Step Up" movie?

Heap praise on "Avatar" all you want, but where James Cameron used his "revolutionary" 3-D to compensate for what were honestly rather plain action sequences and a dramatic plot that really didn't call for 3-D, Jon Chu, director of this film and its predecessor, "Step Up 2: The Streets," for the first time shows how effective 3-D can also be in films not driven by action or animation. The 3-D looks great in every scene, not just the ones where one expects it, and though he fully embraces its more gimmicky aspects (bubbles floating out of the screen and then popping out at the audience, for example), he also adds depth to even the simplest of moments and, oh boy, does he make these dance sequences look outstanding.

The film concerns Luke Katcher (Rick Malambri) and The Pirates, a dance crew that lives and practices together but that are made up of people from very different styles and walks of life. The apartment/club/studio the crew lives and works in is in danger of foreclosure, so Luke recruits two particularly impressive dancers, Natalie (Sharni Vinson) and Moose (Adam Sevani, of the second film) to join his crew and compete in a $100,000-prize dance competition.

But the plot doesn't really matter. It's often formulaic and the handful of romances that pop up don't carry a lot of purpose beyond vaguely moving the film forward. There are a few bits that really work, though. For instance, Luke fancies himself more of a filmmaker than a dancer--he runs the studio primarily to honor the wishes of his late parents, who helped struggling dancers escape from obscurity and really express themselves. He films interviews with his fellow dancers and edits it together with their dancing, and his dedication to revealing the nature of their love for dance and what it does for their lives--how crucial it is for their personal expression--really takes the film into a different level. It stops being about showing off cool dance moves and actual gives the audience a brief idea of why these people do what they do (besides the cliched "I just have to do it"). It also speaks to how Chu himself probably feels about the work he does with these films.

The film completely comes to life during its dance sequences, though. They're just kind of cool at first glance, but they gradually build and build and the added 3-D makes them even more astounding. They're never repetitive, either. We go from hip-hop to tango to one of the best moments of the film and one of the finest dance sequences in a film of the last few years, a jazzy dance sequence all filmed in one shot that provides one of the few honest and heartwarming romantic moments in the film.

Sure, it's a pretty goofy movie, but it's fun, lighthearted, and the skill displayed in the film's best dance sequences is just too entertaining not to enjoy. It's one of the more enjoyable fluff films of this year.

Grade: B-

View the trailer for "Step-Up 3D" below. What are your thoughts?


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