Step Up 3D

17 Aug

Title: Step Up 3D
Year: 2010
Director: Jon Chu
Writers: Amy Andelson and Emily Meyer, based on the characters by Duane Adler
Starring: Rick Malambri, Adam Sevani, Sharni Vinson, Alyson Stoner
MPAA Rating: PG-13, brief strong language
Runtime: 107 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating: 4.0
Rotten Tomatoes: 65%

I won’t go ahead and call Step Up 3D a disappointment, because it really isn’t, I mean, I didn’t like it much, but the thing is, I didn’t like it because the plot was seriously weak, and the acting was pretty terrible. But people don’t go see this franchise to see a kickass plot and/or Oscar-worthy acting, they go because of the dancing sequences that look seriously wicked. And, in Step Up 3D, the choreography is as good as it’s ever been, if not better, and the whole film is pretty damn stylish, and fans of the franchise will, I would imagine, definitely dig the latest entry, but to those of us who aren’t necessarily the hugest supporters, and/or prefer to get our dancing fix from TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance, this will be a film we wouldn’t really mind skipping.

Good dance films don’t always have tremendous acting, and I know it would be foolish to expect that from all of them, and some, like this one, do rely solely on the dancing, but what differentiates those good dance flicks from this very mediocre one is that, in those films, the dancing sort of moves the plot along, stuff is said in the dance moves that the actor’s aren’t talented enough to make sound believable with words. There are some bits in Step Up 3D when the dances move along the plot and help the actors tell the stories, that whole dance number that was set up to a remix of Fred Astaire song is a pretty good example, but for the most part the dances, though quite fun to watch, stand alone, and don’t do much to further help move along the storyline.

The first two entries in the franchise were quite profitable, the first one made nearly $115 million on a $12 million budget, the second one had a gross of nearly $150 million, and this one, even though it has only spent two weekends at the box office, has made less than $45 million so far, which means it will end up being the lowest grossing installment in the franchise by a fair bit, and that’s something to say, considering this one had the added cash flow that comes from the pricier 3D tickets. I think this is all because, what with the aforementioned So You Think You Can Dance and other dance-related forms of entertainment being available now, audiences are getting their dancing fix elsewhere, and won’t be willing to put out the cash for something they can see on their TV’s, unless it can offer something more, and, as I just said, this one’s all cool dance routines and no plot, and you can get all of that without so much as moving from your couch at home.

I hate action flicks that are just a plot to get to the next explosion, so it would come as no surprise that I’d hate the plot in this one, which involves the dance crew trying to save their studio, because they only use it to, every fifteen minutes or so, get involved in some intricate dance sequences that, while it may look pretty cool, does nothing plot-wise, in that sense this one could have been better off as a series of YouTube videos, because really, even though they use the plot to get from Dance Scene A to Dance Scene B, both of those parts would have been just as good if enjoyed separately.

The cast is full of mostly unknown actors and, as I said, they don’t have that much acting chops, nor are they given a material anywhere close to good for them to shape a good character out of. Adam G. Sevani, the main male castmember, has some charm to him, but his character isn’t developed at all, so that’s really all there is to it. And I won’t speak of the rest of the cast because it’s kind of downhill after Mr. Sevani.

I must, however, say this for Step Up 3D, and that is that the 3D is actual 3D, and not some cheap conversion done in post-production, and that’s something to applaud, because most movies nowadays are just doing the cheap conversion to try and reel in the cash from the pricier tickets. This one may not be enjoying that much success financially, but at least the 3D was done right, and it actually wasn’t a bothersome 3D like 90% of the films that employ the technology nowadays, so that’s actually a huge kudos I’ll give to this film. Unfortunately though, that’s also the only real kudos I’ll be giving it.

Grade: C+

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