Step Up
R1 - America - Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Jon Batt & Noor Razzak (7th January 2007).
The Film

I am a white, white man. When I dance it looks like a chicken with epilepsy at a rave. But it's just me, prepping up for another shot at karaoke. That's just how I roll.
This movie however, shows other types of dancing. Good dancing. Dancing that you can put in a movie without scaring the children.
As for the movie itself, it's fairly predictable. The plot is pretty weak, and the surprises are only surprises because you're still watching the movie and not yet making out with the girl you agreed to see it with because she was hot and you thought this was the best way to get her in a dark room legitimately.
You've got your bad ass brother from the hood, Tyler (Channing Tatum), and your well bred young lady, Nora (Jenna Dewan), from dance school. Thanks to an alarming (read: not alarming) twist of fate, they end up in the same place at the same time. And that place is dance school. In a further alarming (see above) twist, her partner does his ankle in and can't dance. Our unlikely hero steps up to the mark, lets everyone down, and then redeems himself.
But before you judge the movie too harshly, or before I do, there are a couple of good things. Several of the stock characters are awesome. There is Miles (Mario), a music producer at the dance school who can bridge both the main characters worlds because he is black. Good for him. He made my day because he didn't really seem to care much about where he was he would get out his laptop and crank some phat beats (told you I was white) with unrelenting success. Another is Tyler's little sister, Camille (Alyson Stoner), mainly for one scene in the middle where he admits that he's been dancing and they do a routine in their yard. She is cocky and dismissive and it made me laugh. Good times Tyler's little sister.
For reasons best known to themselves, the movie making people also have Tyler in a ballet class with 6 year old girls for a little bit. This is awesome because a) he sucks and b) some 6 year old tells him to shut up.
By the end, I liked their dancing. I didn't think I would at the start because Tyler's dancing is really, really, really white boy at a ghetto party, and Nora's is incredibly structured and kind of rhythmless. As they spend more and more time working on their routines they both take a little something from each other and tone it up or down respectively. Their final dance made me want to get up and do my epileptic chicken impression.
Overall, it's not a bad movie for one of those lazy hung over days where you and the Mrs. can't decide whether you want to see "Lethal Weapon III" (1992) or "Bridget Jones' Diary " (2001)...again, and you can probably win some points for compromising.

Video

Presented in the film's original theatrical ratio of 2.35:1 this anamorphic transfer is good but could have been much better, while the transfer is generally sharp and color nice and vivid I did find that there was some noise due to compression issues in the darker scenes and black levels weren't as deep as I'd have like them to be. I also noticed some minor edge-enhancement which is never good. Despite this the transfer isn't a total loss, which skin tones nice an natural and no evidence of print damage.

Audio

Two audio tracks are included, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 as well as a French Dolby Digital 5.1 track. For the purposes of this review I chose to view the film with its English track. As far as this track goes it's neither impressive nor terrible, it's simply average, with dialogue clear and distortion free and the music taking up the majority of the sound space. Ambient sound is used to add depth where necessary, but I never felt totally immersed by this soundtrack.
Optional subtitles are included in English for the hearing impaired, French and Spanish.

Extras

Buena Vista has released this film with an audio commentary, a collection of deleted scenes, a blooper reel, a short featurette, some music videos, a collection of dance footage and a series of bonus trailers. Below is a closer look at these supplements.

First up is a feature-length audio commentary by director Anne Fletcher, hip-hop choreographer Jamal Sims and actors Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan. The general mood of the track is quite jokey, the four participants have a fun time taking about the movie and their experience working on it, the director and choreographer talk a lot about the dance routines and the music in the film as well as provide some insight into the characters and the dance themes of the film among other things. Overall it's quite worth listening to if you really liked the film otherwise it'll bore you.

A collection of 7 deleted scenes are included on this disc and they are:

- "Tyler Has To Do Community Service" which runs for 58 seconds, Mac gives him grief about having to go to the dance school.
- "Tyler Enters MSA" runs for 37 seconds, first thing at the school Tyler asks for the director's office.
- "Mac Waits For Tyler" runs for 29 seconds, Mac plays some basketball on his won waiting for his friend to show up, but he doesn't.
- "Miles and Tyler Talk In Locker Room" runs for 55 seconds, Tyler asks why Miles' is waisting his time at the school.
- "Tyler Takes History Test" runs for 18 seconds, the class is handed out their exam papers.
- "Tyler Refuses His Share Of The Money" runs for 37 seconds, Mac pays Tyler but he refuses and blows him off because he has community service to do.
- "Tyler Gets More Community Service In Court" runs for 18 seconds, the judge punishes Tyler with an additional 300 hours of service.

A "Blooper" reel is next and runs for 1 minute 37 seconds. This features the usual mix of line flubs, missed cues and cast laughing in the middle of takes, it's short and not that funny.

Next up is "Making The Moves" a brief featurette that runs for 4 minutes 38 seconds.This takes a look at the choreography of the film as the director and cast work through the routines getting it right for the cameras. They all talk about how great the dancing is in the film and how it's like nothing we've ever seen...blah...blah, standard EPK fluff with no substance.

Following that are a series of music videos featuring music that appears in the film and also on the soundtrack, they include:

- "Step Up" by Samantha Jade which runs for 3 minutes 34 seconds.
- "(When you Gonna) Give It Up To Me" by Sean Paul featuring Keyshia Cole which runs for 4 minutes 7 seconds.
- "Say Goodbye" by Chris Brown
- "Get Up" by Ciara featuring Chamillionaire which runs for 5 minutes 7 seconds.
- Soundtrack promo which runs for 32 seconds.

Next up are some "Dance Contest" videos, these segments include:

- "Contest" which runs for 4 minutes 37 seconds, in this clip we learn that Buena Vista ran a competition on Myspace for dancers to submit videos, the winners got to appear in a music video. Here the judges take a look at some of the entries.

- "Contestant Montage" runs for 3 minutes 18 seconds and includes highlights from the various entries set to music from the film.

Next is are the "Winner Dance Videos" these are the 5 videos that won the competition and include:

- "Dancer #1" which runs for 2 minutes 13 seconds.
- "Dancer #2" which runs for 3 minutes 20 seconds.
- "Dancer #3" which runs for 3 minutes 4 seconds.
- "Dancer #4" which runs for 1 minute 43 seconds.
- "Dancer #5" which runs for 2 minutes 56 seconds.

Rounding out the extras are a series of bonus trailers for:

- "The Invisible" which runs for 2 minutes 30 seconds.
- "The Guardian" which runs for 2 minutes 29 seconds.
- "The Heart Of The Game" which runs for 2 minutes 12 seconds.
- "Invincible" which runs for 2 minutes 30 seconds.
- "Anti-piracy" spot which runs for 48 seconds.
- "Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" which runs for 2 minutes 7 seconds.
- "Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe: Extended Edition" which runs for 32 seconds.
- "Disney Blu-ray" spot which runs for 53 seconds.

Overall

The Film: C Video: C+ Audio: B Extras: B Overall: B-

 


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