Step Up 3D (2010)

Fresh from his troop’s victory at The Streets, Robert “Moose” Alexander III (Adam Sevani) has dropped dance to his father’s relief in favour of electrical engineering at New York University. After encountering a dance battle on campus, however, Moose has soon left childhood study-buddy Camille (Alyson Stoner) to the books and made his way back onto the dance-floor with budding filmmaker Luke’s (Rick Malambri) House of Pirates. Talked into competition for World Jam (seriously?), Moose soon finds himself with whole new set of obstacles as he must overcome vendettas, mutinies and the seemingly inevitable closure of head pirate Luke’s warehouse. Luke, however, is busy having sexy thoughts about newcomer Natalie (Sharni Vinson), a talented dancer with connections to rival street dancers House of Samurai.

The latest instalment in the hugely successful Step Up franchise, there is a lot of pressure on Step Up 3D to up the ante in terms of not only dance but also character. While the previous two outings have never ceased to impress with their excellent footwork, a lack of any clear throughline has left each instalment struggling for an emotional centre. While continuing Moose’s story should have provided that very backbone, a fumbled introduction and disproportionate allocation of screentime leaves the movie with more protagonists than it can handle. That said, although Step Up 3D takes a while to find its feet, a few montages in the Step Up franchise is back on solid ground as a plot rises from the deep and school and dance are once again allowed to take their respective sides of the ring.

Up against Brit-pic Streetdance 3D for dimensional supremacy, however, it will take more than a few lunges at the camera to justify this third outing for the franchise. Ditching the humble high school playground for a ridiculously unrealistic warehouse, the dancers are gifted with gimmick’s galore in an attempt to win over desensitized audiences; The token ‘alone dance’ is present and correct, only this time situated in the preposterous ‘speaker room’; the requisite training montage takes place in a padded room; and the competition-winning finale is prepped in the groansome ‘graffiti room’. You see, a water-soaked number was used last time – and therefore demoted to an earlier dance off in this film – leaving a delightfully silly lights display to trounce the competition this time around.

However, while Step Up 3D might seem relatively by-the-numbers, there is – as usual – a lot to enjoy here. The dance sequences are reliably spectacular, while some of the enthusiasm even makes it off of the dance floor for a change. Although not always entirely convincing,  Sevani definitely has an infectious presence – the familiarity earnt from his turn in Step Up 2: The Streets going some way to endearing his character to audiences. While the other characters play their roles with competence, Sevani boarders conviction as he resists being sidelined for the generic romance between Luke and Natalie.

How does it fare against it’s competition, however? While Streetdance 3D recieved positive reviews (not least from me), its less ambitious sensibilities stilt it in comparison to Step Up 3D‘s extravagance. Everything is super-sized for this movie, the final dance number making the streetdance finals look resoundingly half-hearted and the character’s angst quickly eclipsing a few cameos from Britain’s Got Talent contestants for dramatic oomph.

Amazing soundtrack, spectacular choreography and some exhilarating camera-work keep audiences in the right direction even if the destination is nowhere in sight. With two films under its belt, it was always going to take something special to keep this franchise fresh and while the 3D gives it a little novelty, it is good to know there is something a little more substantial at work here too.

 

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

One Response to Step Up 3D (2010)

  1. Pingback: January 2011 – It’s on like Donkey Kong « popcornaddict

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