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Step Up (2006) Print E-mail
Friday, 13 July 2012
ImageI admit, I absolutely hated “Step Up” the first time I saw it.  I wasn’t a fan of hip-hop movies, and other than Rachel Griffiths I didn’t know any of the actors.  One day, that all changed, well all except my stance on hip-hop.  Channing Tatum became one of the biggest stars in teen Hollywood.  Unfortunately, Jenna Dewan became known more as Tatum’s wife than a rising actress and dancer.

“Step Up” has spawned a franchise, one that should have never come to fruition.  The sequels, which by the way has a fourth one arriving soon, are more than just awful.  They are tantamount to everything that is wrong with cinema today.  However, the first film offered something that wasn’t common place at the time.  Sure, now hip-hop dance movies are beyond a dime a dozen.  But, “Step Up” is really the stepping stone used by all the others that have come since.

The story is nothing spectacular.  In fact some of the plots and character lines are downright laughable.  Still, there is a intriguing nature about this film.  Upon subsequent watches of the film there is actually some good choreography and there are few good music sequences, Drew Sidora’s “’Til Dawn” and the final showcase piece.  Tatum and Dewan certainly do share chemistry on screen, and off.

The issue with the film is the lack of decisions.  If you take a listen to the commentary track you will see immediately that nothing in the making of this film seemed to happen on purpose.  Sometimes it is scenes that just happened by accident and in most cases it is the changing of a scene and the characters’ motivations all the way up to the moment the director yells “Action!”  This lack of commitment is utterly evident in every sequence of the film.  It is no wonder why many of the lines are more than just cheesy, the actors had no idea who their characters were as they just kept changing.  It doesn’t sound like there was ever a finished script. I digress, but somehow a film did come out of the mess.  This isn’t going to go down in great cinema history, but it has developed a following and is a guilty pleasure for many, myself included.

Unfortunately, Touchstone has slacked when it comes to the video of this Blu-ray release.  Yes, this is a disappointment for fans.  I can’t say that this transfer is much better than the standard DVD. Yes, there is more resolution but that is about it.  It looks as though this Blu-ray were ported directly from a DVD master.  This is probably as good as this film is going to look given its original budget and production.  Essentially, the entire image is soft to the point were I swear I needed glasses.  It is beyond distracting.  The colors are nicely saturated and grain is left intact.  Black levels are accurate but crushed leaving shadow delineation something to be desired.  Aside from that artifacting is kept to a minimum.  It the film had a sharper transfer then this would be closer to a Disney catalog release.  As it stands, the softness is too distracting.

The audio quality is better than the DVD most definitely.  The lossless audio track brings out the rear channels, which were lost due to the frequency masking compliments of the Dolby track.  Here on the Blu-ray, “Step Up” receives a lossless track that brings the hip hop music to a whole new level.  The dance club sequence is pounding while the dramatic moments are nicely prioritized with dialogue.  There isn’t much in the way of sound design, but the original intention comes across nicely on Blu-ray.

The Blu-ray comes with the same bonus materials as the original DVD.  Materials remain in standard definition.  There are some deleted scenes and bloopers.  “Making The Moves” is a segment about the choreography.  There are a handful of music videos.  Last, but not least there is an informative audio commentary with Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan and director Anne Fletcher.  This is the commentary that will reveal just how back and forth the creation of the film really was.

“Step Up” is not as bad is you might think.  If you think back to the time in which this film was created all the other extremely lame dance films didn’t exist.  I can’t say the video is striking on Blu-ray, but the audio is an upgrade.  I recommend this for fans due to the video transfer, but as a rent for other viewers.

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