Footloose (2011) (Blu-ray Review)

Boasting high-energy dancing, an inspirational story and an impressive cast of rising stars and screen veterans, writer/director Craig Brewer’s (Hustle & Flow) modern update thrilled audiences of all ages with its combination of youthful spirit and infectious fun.  Newcomer Kenny Wormald stars as Ren MacCormack, a city kid transplanted to the small town of Bomont where dancing has been outlawed.  Ren goes up against Bomont’s reverend (Dennis Quaid) to challenge the ban with the help of the minister’s daughter (Julianne Hough, “Dancing with the Stars”) and in the process reminds the entire town that dancing is more than youthful exuberance—it’s a celebration of life.  The film also stars Andie MacDowell (Beauty Shop) and Miles Teller (Rabbit Hole) and features an outstanding soundtrack with musical artists including Blake Shelton, Big & Rich, Ella Mae Bowen and more.


The film opens with a young boy named Bobby Moore and a car full of his teenage friends driving home after a night of partying and hit a truck head on causing a fiery and deadly crash.  Bobby’s father, Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid) is the town reverend.   After Bobby’s death, Reverend Moore spearhead’s a movement to outlaw unsupervised dancing in the town of Bomont, Georgia.  Bobby has left behind younger sister Ariel (Julianne Hough), who was once a good girl but has turned into quite the rebellious teen.  She is secretly dating bad boy racer Chuck Cranston (Patrick Fleuger), and breaks the no dancing ordinance whenever she can.

Ren McCormack (Kenny Wormald) moves to town from Boston after his mother passes away from cancer.  Ren receives a ticket for disturbing the peace with loud music in the car he fixes up on his very first test drive.  Things in Bomont are much different than they were back in Boston.  Ren makes friends with local Willard Hewitt (Miles Teller), and quickly catches the Ariel’s eye.  Ren gets on Chuck’s bad side leading to a school bus race.  Reverend Moore attempts to forbid Ariel from seeing Ren.  Chuck eventually breaks up with Ariel after smacking her around a bit and the Reverend is quick to blame Ren.  Ariel and her father have it out in the church where she tearfully explains that her father is incorrectly blaming Ren for all their problems, just as he has done with Bobby.

Ren decides to challenge the law, and Ariel provides her Bible to assist him.  In his appearance before the town council, Ren finds an unlikely supporter in Ariel’s mother (Andie MacDowell) – who insists he be heard.  Although the city council votes against him his employer at the cotton mill points out that the mill is just outside the city limits of Bomont and it would be a perfect location for the prom Ren wishes to hold.   Ren asks Reverend Moore to allow the congregation to send their teenagers to the prom and respectfully asks to take Ariel as his date.  The prom ends with everyone dancing to the Footloose song.

As a fan of the original Footloose, I was not happy to hear about a remake.   It seems to me that far too many movies are now being remade and plenty of them are being ruined in the process.  Not everything needs to be remade, rebooted, or reimagined for a new generation.  If the original film seems too dated for the current generation, so be it – just let us old folks who remember the 1980s and rocked out in our acid washed jeans to the Footloose theme song continue to enjoy the original version.  That being said, the 2011 Footloose did a lot more right than I expected.  I don’t feel like Kenny Wormald was trying to be Kevin Bacon, and Dennis Quaid wasn’t doing a John Lithgow Impression.  I was able to think of it as a new movie, although I knew what was going to happen.  Miles Teller was an excellent choice for the kid who couldn’t dance.  You have to like the kid who can’t dance, and be happy for him when he’s finally ready to get out there and boogie.

Julianne Hough was also a good choice for Ariel.  Obviously, after being a two time champion on “Dancing with the Stars”, she’s a great dancer, but it turns out she’s a decent actress as well.  Kenny Wormald was also a good casting choice for the lead.  He and Julianne Hough make a cute and believable couple that you want to see together at the end.  The filmmakers made some good choices in casting, but nothing about the film blew my socks off.  They didn’t do anything new and exciting.  Nothing about this remake offered anything better than the original version so to me, if you aren’t going to to take some risks and make it your own, it doesn’t necessarily need to be made.  If you saw Gus Van Sant’s remake of Psycho then you know what I’m talking about.  If you can get by the very 80s feel of the 1984 Footloose, that one is just as good if not better than this “updated” version.  I don’t know that I really needed an updated Footloose.


Footloose is presented on Blu-ray in 1080p High Definition.  Paramount’s transfer of the 2011 Footloose is has excellent clarity in both natural and artificial light, and dark scenes.  Flesh tones are accurate and consistent and black levels are even throughout. The film overall had a great deal of texture and the exact amount of grit that you would expect for this type of film.  I often noticed the different types of denim the actors were wearing and felt immersed in the dusty Georgia landscape of Footloose.


Footloose is presented in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio with subtitles available in English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese.   Dialogue is clear and consistent throughout the film.  Footloose is as much about the music as it is about the dialogue and it opens with a loud and active song.   The audio is well balanced in all areas – whether it’s a school full of rowdy students, school buses racing, or a crowd of teenagers dancing.


The special features are adequate in number but they just didn’t really interest me.  The movie was enough, and it was fairly enjoyable but there was nothing in the features that added to the experience.

  • Jump Back: Re-Imagining Footloose – Cast and crew discuss the 1984 Footloose, hiring a director for the 2011 Footloose, Casting the new film, and the differences between the two films.
  • Everybody Cut:  The Stars of Footloose – An in depth look at casting the film, specifically Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Dennis Quaid, Andie MacDowell, Miles Teller, Patrick John Flueger, Ziah Colon, and Ser’Darius Blain.
  • Dancing with the Footloose Stars – A featurette about the dance and choreography, with specific details preserved from the original Footloose.
  • Deleted Scenes – The following deleted scenes are available with director commentary: Ariel and Rusty Drive, Ren’s Gym Flip, Reverend Shaw’s Speech, Willard’s Bloody Nose, and Roger Argues with the Moores.
  • Music Videos “Fake ID” Music Video by Big & Rich, “Footloose” Music Video by Blake Shelton and “Holding Out for a Hero” by Ella Mae Brown.  Footloose Rap – Emily Whitcomb’s Footloose-inspired Rap video.
  • Commentary by Director Craig Brewer – Director Craig Brewer discusses his love of the original Footloose, locations, and the cast for the 2011 Footloose.  This is an interesting commentary worth listening to, after first viewing the film.


In my opening I said that movie makers should stop re-imagining movies and it made me laugh that one of the special features was titled re-imagining footloose.  The 2011 Footloose was a decent movie but I think I would have been just as happy to pop in the 1984 Footloose.  I have to admit that this version offers a very sharp looking Blu-ray and impressive audio and video quality.  The original Footloose isn’t a movie I would watch very often but it’s one I look fondly back on.   If you liked the original Footloose then you should definitely give this one a try.  If you’ve never seen the original that’s okay too since no prior knowledge is necessary to enjoy this one.  Give it a shot and you might like it!

Order your copy today!


1 Response to “Footloose (2011) (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    Well said. A year ago, I would not have thought I’d be a big supporter of both versions. Things change. 🙂