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Movie Review: Step Up Revolution (2012)

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Talk about the next level. Step Up Revolution is 99 minutes of pure unadulterated fun – a gigantic music video featuring talented DJs, street artists, special effects people, parkour and stunt men, as well as dancers of all styles and races (choreographed by Travis Wall), who incorporate many forms of art, with one form slowly and beautifully flowing into another, coming full force at the viewer in beautiful 3D. It is a leap from the previous movies in both ambition and execution, and it is a visual feast, from which it is impossible to look away.

Plot

The Mob is a flash dance crew that ‘terrorizes’ sunny Miami with its ‘inappropriate’ dance numbers in the middle of busy streets. The feisty dancers are looking to win a contest for 10 million YouTube hits, and to reach that goal they go further and further to blow the minds of the onlookers away, impregnating gallery paintings with pulsating life, and dancing under a shower of fake dollars. Sean, the leader of the Mob (Ryan Guzman), who has to make ends meet as a waiter, notices a modern-day Cinderella at a beach party. Her name is Emily (Kathryn McCormick); she can dance and that’s enough for him to feel a little tipsy. But Emily turns out to be the daughter of the real-estate developer (Peter Gallagher) who wants to take down the area to build another posh hotel. A compromise has to be reached – and what better way to reach it than to showcase the dancer’s extraordinary skills?

The Critics

The reviews just yesterday for Step Up Revolution were non-existent and now that they are here, they are poor: it’s one of those ‘silly kid movies’ with a ‘moronic plot’. It’s just seems really ironic to me how the issue of being invisible, faced by the characters in Step Up Revolution, is mirrored in reality with the movie’s reception. It’s funny to see how Magic Mike was so popular with the critics while Step Up Revolution gets panned, even though both movies are about people who want to follow their dreams in a troubled economy. The dancers in Step Up Revolution are outcasts, constantly criticized by family members and having to take on the worst jobs available because, believe it or not, most types of art take up a lot of time if one wants to be good, let alone be the best.

In the case of Step Up Revolution the critical reaction is marred by overall confusion of form and content. Since the form freaks the critics out, they are dubious about the story which basically is this: art people are struggling, always have been, always will be. What’s moronic about that, I don’t know. Had this been about a suicidal masturbating junkie artist, drowning in greys and greens, shot with a shaky house-art camera, it would have been deemed a masterpiece. That’s how profound modern criticism is, yes – another blog post altogether.

The Urban Fairy Tale

I personally look at this movie as an urban fairy tale musical. It has a classic fairy tale plot (girl meets boy; there is a problem; there is a happy ending), types of characters (rich girl, poor boy, mean corporate magnate, etc.) and run-of-the-mill conflicts (dream vs. reality, passion vs. reason, etc). It’s funny how we’ve seen two Snow Whites this year and no one even squealed, while a wave of bile is about to engulf Step Up Revolution because it’s ‘childish’.

The movie is comforting and uplifting – something not very popular with lovers of ‘serious’ cinema. It doesn’t take risks (expect for the mind-blowing stunt and dance sequences that took years of blood, sweat, and tears to perfect) – very very ‘bad’. Why critics approach a musical as if it’s begging to be nominated for some high brow award is just beyond me. What I think they are missing out is the fact that even though Step Up Revolution may not be ‘art’ itself, it is a moving-grooving monument to the Arts, alive and kicking, dynamic and colorful, perfectly suited for the modern art consumer, but not less enjoyable at that.

Verdict

Anyone with eyes to see, ears to hear, and limbs to gyrate will be moved and moving – both at the same time. The ticket office is the place to show respect to the astounding collective creative effort that Step Up Revolution is. Bravo, and don’t read any of the reviews. They are pure snobbery.

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About Sviatlana Piatakova