Movie/DVD Review: “Step Up”

Quote: “I’m fighting for something that’s real for the first time in my life!” – Tyler Gage

Film: Step Up
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan, Mario, Drew Sidora, Alyson Stoner, Rachel Griffiths
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Originally Released: August 19, 2006
Watched: October 25, 2008 via Netflix
Ebert Rating: N/A
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 20%
My Netflix Rating: **** (Really Liked It)
Wikipedia Entry

Synopsis

Tyler Gage is a street punk who along with his homies Mac and Skinny gets into trouble. After being caught breaking into and trashing the Maryland School of Arts with his homies, Tyler is sentenced to perform community service there. Tyler meets and slowly befriends MSA student Nora Clark, a MSA senior who is relentlessly preparing for her big performance in the school’s “Senior Showcase” in hopes of landing a spot in one of the numerous dance companies who attend the event to recruit star performers. Tyler brings a bit of the “street edge” to Nora’s refined ballet/modern dance technique and Nora’s culture “refines” Tyler’s hard street smart/hard luck edges. As the paint-by-the-numbers story dictates they slowly fall in love. Is it enough to get Nora to the top? Will the socio-economic and class divide stunt their love before it grows? Can Tyler escape the allure and problems of the streets? Watch more and find out πŸ™‚

Thoughts

Sure, the film was formulaic but it was fun. The story was nice and the dance choreographer rocked my socks off πŸ™‚ I must say though, it was really sad toward the end of the movie (no spoiler here) but the message of “staying outta trouble and redeeming oneself” is a message that resounds loudly and is definitely one that the type of people who will see this film (the young and impressionable) definitely need to hear. The big formulaic ending caps off a nice film. All in all, it’s a great film with a great story and a great message.

DVD Features

Being a music and dance movie, the DVD features on this release rule 8X over with the addition of the music videos from the soundtrack. Other than that it’s the list of usual assorted features you come to expect n these things. Here’s the listing of gems on this release:

  1. Deleted Scenes (with optional commentary track): 7 deleted scenes (approximately 4 minutes worth of footage)
  2. Bloopers: 1 minute 37 seconds worth of footage. Some funny stuff but an equal number of “lamers.”
  3. “Making the Movie” – 4 minute mini-featurette that takes us behind the scenes. It’s not the best of these I’ve seen but it’s alright.
  4. Audio Commentary track with Director/Choreographer Anne Fletcher, Hip-Hop Choreographer Jamal Sims, and stars Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan
  5. Music Videos: “Step Up” by Samantha Jade, “(When You Gonna) Give It Up To Me” by Sean Paul featuring Keyshia Cole, “Say Goodbye” by Chris Brown, “Get Up” by Ciara featuring Chamillionaire and a Soundtrack Promo
  6. Dance Contest: “Contest” – 4 minute video featuring highlights of the judging and contest process (via MySpace) for dancers getting into the Step Up film and music videos, “Contestant Montage” – 3 minutes of footage, “Winner Videos” – 5 videos, 13 minutes of footage altogether

The Verdict

This movie was good. The story and message were good but the real star of the movie is the dancing. It’s definitely worth a watch. Is it “must see?” No, not at all but it’s definitely not a time waster either. If you’re looking for a nice diversion to unwind to this fits the bill nicely.

Is the DVD worth the purchase? If you love hip-hop then I’d say most definitely. The music videos and the contestant videos from the dance contest set this DVD release apart from others. Of course you could probably find these videos (and hundreds like them) on YouTube but that’s beside the point. If you’re not much into hip-hop, dance or music then stick with the rental.

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