Step Up 3
In an attempt to step up the urban dance series Step Up, director Jon Chu filmed the entire third installment in 3D. But is it enough to revamp and steer Step Up 3D against the direction of other predictable dance movies or gimmicky 3D films? To my surprise, Chu does an innovative job utilizing technology that works to the dance routines' advantage, adding an enjoyable and visually stunning experience.
Let's face it: if you're looking to watch a dance movie, it's not really all that relevant what the plot is. But just to get it out of the way, the story follows Moose (Adam G. Sevani) who has given up his love for dance to attend New York University and pursue a career in electrical engineering. His childhood best friend Camille (Alyson Stoner) joins and pushes him to take advantage of the college experience, finally leaving their pastimes behind. Seconds into orientation, Moose finds himself in a dance battle where his talents are recognized by Luke (Rick Malambri) the leader of the House of Pirates. Luke recruits Moose to help his diverse dance team win the World Jam dance competition so they could use the prize money to save their studio loft.
Along the way, there are mini sub-plots such as the romance between Luke and the mysterious Natalie (Sharni Vinson) the slow fallout between Moose and Camille's friendship and the intensifying rivalry between the Pirates and the House of Samurai. Suffice to say these plot lines are melodramatic, and don't truly contribute much to the dance sequences in between. Sevani's acting is awkward; it's as if Michael Cera got a tan and learned to bust a move.
Watching Step Up 3D is like watching MTV's America's Best Dance Crew in 3D, all the stuff in the middle of the actual dancing are filler material that you couldn't care less about. But when you do get to the dance scenes, the visuals are vivid and intriguing. Every movement draws the viewer into the routines with dancers nearly jumping off the screen. A choreograph towards the end of the movie has dancers in LED tracksuits that are Tron-esque, making sitting through 90 minutes of film worth the wait for a cool and mesmerizing sequence.
The Blu-Ray and DVD combo includes bonus features in the second disc, which is truly where the meat of the package is. In "Extra Moves," viewers go behind the scenes of how dance sequences were shot, rehearsal footages and more of the talented cast working their bodies. Features also include music videos for the film's soundtrack as well as a making the video compilation for each song. Technically, you could watch the extras and be as fulfilled as watching the whole movie, but might as well give the film a shot while you have it handy.
Step Up 3D does what it is meant to do: please the crowds with eye-popping choreography to the year's beat-tastic tracks. Though it comes off more like a drawn-out music video since the story is unimportant, the film is still an exciting visual experience best for friends and families alike.
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