"Let's Dance!". It's been forty years since Kevin Bacon (Flatliners) shouted those words at the end of the feature film, Footloose. Forty years since Ren McCormack (Bacon) took on the town council of Bomont, led by Reverend Moore (John Lithgow; Cliffhanger), to request to hold a school dance despite the town's ban on dancing and rock music. To celebrate this milestone anniversary, Paramount Pictures is releasing the movie on 4K for the first time with the combo pack hitting retailers on February 13, 2024.
Ren and his mom moved from Chicago to the small, rural town of Bomont to live with Ren's Aunt and Uncle, and from the start he is labeled a troublemaker. Driving around town, listening to loud music - something that is banned in Bomont - he makes enemies of many of the locals. When he shows an interest in the Reverend's daughter, Ariel (Lori Singer; Short Cuts), he also angers her boyfriend, As Ren and Ariel grow closer, Ren decides the town's conservative ways are antiquated and campaigns for the high school to hold a prom. Of course, this brings a lot of heat down on him and his family but it wins the respect of many others, including Ariel and the students.
Bacon and Lithgow are pretty good but Singer and the rest of the cast aren't particularly animated when speaking. Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and The City) stands out in her smaller role and it is obvious why she landed other roles after this movie. Christopher Penn (Reservoir Dogs) showed some potential as small towny, Willard, who has two left feet but his career didn't take off like Bacon's and Parker's did.
The 4K disc presents the video in 2160p resolution with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Since Footloose had uneven video quality from the beginning, the 4K, while trying its best, can't offer too much in the way of excellent picture quality. One moment the the video is hazy and dull and the next minute it is cleaner with more details and better coloring. It gives the film an uneven look and makes one wonder if they used different types of cameras to shoot various angles of the movie.
The DTS-HD master audio 5.1 doesn't fare much better except with the soundtrack, Dialogue is muddy, and ambient noise is simply ok. The music, especially the rock songs, offers multilevel tracks that make it easy to hear numerous instruments playing simultaneously. While this aspect isn't typically extremely important, for Footloose the music is paramount and two songs were even nominated for Best Original Song Oscars that year.
Sadly all the special features are ported over from previous releases and are housed on the accompanying Blu-ray disc. The 2011 Blu-ray features are 1080P, and the DVD-aged features are 480P. Those features include the following: Let's Dance! Kevin Bacon on Footloose, From Bomont to the Big Apple: An Interview with Sarah Jessica Parker, Remembering Willard, Kevin Bacon's Screen Test, Kevin Bacon Costume Montage, Commentary by Kevin Bacon, Commentary by producer Craig Zadan and writer Dean Pitchford, Footloose: A Modern Musical - Part 1, Footloose: A Modern Musical - Part 2, Footloose: Songs That Tell A Story, and Theatrical Trailer.
Footloose is a feel-good film with heart and a great soundtrack. While the script is cheesy at times and the dancing leaves a lot to be desired, the film harkens back to a more innocent time in filmmaking when everything wasn't about sex and drugs in teen movies. For those of us who remember when Footloose came out, this release is a walk down memory lane and offers a slight improvement from the previously released version.