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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Footloose
Footloose
Paramount // PG // October 8, 2002
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted October 26, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Although rather charmingly cheesy and dated at this point (dig those shots of tappin' feet behind the credits), "Footloose" still offers a terrific performance from Kevin Bacon and a fairly fun - if familiar - plot. Bacon stars as Ren MacCormack (Kevin Bacon), a kid from Chicago who finds himself stuck out in the middle of nowhere when he has to move to the tiny town of Bomont.

Once firmly stuck in small town life, Ren finds that the town is dominated by Reverend Shaw Moore (John Lithgow), who has outlawed activities such as dancing and general fun. Of course, teenagers being teenagers, they still manage to find a way around the adults and do entertaining small-town things, such as...race giant tractors around the local fields. There's also the Reverend's daughter, Ariel (Lori Singer), who - as all Reverend's daughters are in movies - is seeking a little fun, too. With the help of his friend (an early performance from Chris Penn) and some of the other local kids, Ren pushes against the town establishment to change their rules on dancing and get a prom for the town's teens.

The performances pretty much save the day here. Bacon's lively performance really transforms a not particularly well-written character into an enjoyable hero. Lithgow's character changes rather quickly at the end, but he plays the character well, never going as far over-the-top as the character could have been portrayed. Supporting performances from Lori Singer, Sarah Jessica Parker and Chris Penn are also quite good.

"Footloose" is working with an old formula, but director Herbert Ross and his cast transform the material into something fresh. While a bit dated in spots at this point, the film still manages to entertain.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Footloose" is presented by Paramount in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The film's opening scenes reveal a noticable amount of wear and other issues. Although I thought these concerns would clear themselves up further into the movie, they unfortunately never went away completely. Sharpness and detail are only fair, as daylight scenes appear inconsistently defined, while some low-light or dark scenes can look murky.

As for problems with the image quality, the biggest concern is the print used. While some stretches appear crisper than others, the majority of the film shows a fairly considerable legion of specks, dirt, marks and a few other faults. As for other noticable issues, there's a fair amount of mild edge enhancement present, not to mention some additional artifacts.

Although I doubt this film ever offered a bright, lively color palette, I equally doubt colors looked as muddy and bland as they do here. Flesh tones also appear rather off in several scenes. This isn't a completely terrible presentation, but it's certainly apparent that the film elements need some work.

SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack fares a bit better. The dialogue generally sounds clear, although any line loudly read starts to sound rather shrill. Surrounds aren't put to any noticable use, but the new remixed soundtrack does serve the score well, opening it up in the front speakers. This isn't anything groundbreaking, but it's certainly better than this film has likely ever sounded anywhere.

MENUS: Both main and sub-menus are about as basic as it gets.

EXTRAS: "Footloose" does not contain any supplements, likely due to the fact that director Herbert Ross passed away late last year. Still, a trailer or some other basic materials would have been nice.

Final Thoughts: "Footloose" entertains despite itself; it's a silly, old-fashioned picture that still manages enough energy and catchy tunes to carry it along surprisingly well. Paramount's DVD is, unfortunately, not exactly pleasing - the film doesn't appear to be in particularly good shape and there aren't any supplements (not even a trailer), but the remixed audio is fairly good. Recommended for hardcore fans of the film.

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