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Fred Wowed by Step Up 3D

Published August 6, 2010 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of respective holders
Step Up 3DStep Up 3D
Step Up 3D is a jaw dropping display of awesome talent. Calling it the best Step Up isn’t even enough. It’s the most awesome movie of the year. These dancers are the best special effects in Hollywood, and they’re real.

Review: Step Up 3D

The 3-D dancing is indeed in your face with arms and legs flying out of the screen. One great thing about 3-D editing is that they have to hold on master shots of the dancers instead of cutting it up, so you really get to see the moves. Even the end credits curve for added effect.

But, when this movie is out on a 2-D DVD, it will still be the most awesome dancing you’ve ever seen. These kids seem to float. Their routines are more like parkour than dancing. It’s become martial arts. This is some Tony Jaa stuff they’re doing, like the next level of dance movies.

The Vault is like a ninja training hideout for dancers. Enemy dancers attack with John Woo moves, and when they say battle it really conveys a dangerous threat. Only the weapon is artistic expression, not hitting each other. They’ve got weapons of light gadgets instead of ninja stars.

Some dance offs are vicious, others are sensual. That chase/tease destroys me. These kids just have super powers though. Besides gravity, they defy natural speed too. They can vary their movements slower and faster and jerky, and the background is moving in real speed so you know it’s not a trick. They do old school tango and movie musical routines too and they’re just as awesome.

The film very smartly focuses on dancing. The plot is as brief as possible to get to more dancing. The main character explains his plan to use Moose to make $100,000 to pay the mortgage in one line.

The only line of any significance an adult has in the movie is, “I’m so happy you’re done with dancing.” That’s the kind of movie this is. Guess what, dad. He’s not actually done with dancing. He may just learn that dancing is where he actually belongs more than anywhere else?

Encouraging talent is good though. That’s what this movie is about. Moose has to learn time management and his relationships suffer when he’s off dancing, but that’s a good message too. Kids do need to learn how to balance the elements of their life. Skipping class is bad but it looks to me like he didn’t. He took that test and then went dancing. Scheduling a college test at 8 p.m. seems like a reach, but I guess I had some evening exams back in the day.

The film elevates above the archetype by focusing on more important themes. The film shows people relating over their actual interests, not some contrived circumstance that only exists in movies. They’re still all hot people, but it’s good to tell kids they can find contemporaries, instead of trying to force something unnatural.

The story actually moves really smoothly. As one dimensional as the motivations (rightfully) are, the story really weaves in new characters well. It starts on Moose who we know from Step Up 2 the Streets and you hardly notice it shifts focus to new kids, but keeps Moose’s story going.

It’s a very international cast. They even have one guy from Uganda. Uganda! Don’t worry, all the stars are still white, but the hot white stars get to interact with a multi-ethnic world just like they do in real life.

The visuals are constructed like filmmakers do. There’s interesting stuff happening even when characters are just talking and relating. I was skeptical about a character shooting video in a 3-D movie. It actually looks okay though. The footage itself is clear and has a little depth to it. More importantly, whoever actually shot that is a way better videographer than you ever see in videos within movies. It’s like a professional who knows how to frame shots.

Step Up 3-D pumps you up with energy and leaves you exhilarated. This is how movies should make you feel. They just found something creative and put it in a package. It’s so easy, isn’t it? You don’t have to make something up, just capture something that’s already awesome.

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Fred Topel
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