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Thursday, 8 July 2010

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - StreetDance




The title of the film I am reviewing is a bit of a conundrum, for it is being officially marketed (i.e. force fed) to the masses as StreetDance 3D, but for a number of reasons, first being principly against the consumerist attitude with which 3D is being marketed, and two because I'm stingy and like the £3.50 matinee at the Strand, who for good prices, lack a 3D screen, so I saw the 2D version. Once again, it was another one of those cases where I got those "ha-ha" smarmy looks for buying a ticket to a girly dance movie, but thankfully there was an empty auditorium waiting for me so I could resolve myself and not have suspicious looking men inch gradually closer to me. Also, either my memories wrong or the projectionist (poor bugger) has made another mistake, for the film I saw was missing a scene described at the end of the film's plot on Wikipedia. Furthermore, DO NOT stop movies before people leave the movie unless the final credits have finished. Anyway, post rant, I'll get down to the synopsis, but really, this is a classic case of a film that could be dismissed so easily by people sneering at it, so don't overlook it because of the posters or the plot. The story goes that Carly, played by Nichola Burley takes over her streetdance crew after her boyfriend and leader Jay leaves the crew. Without money and numerous of the crew leaving with Jay, Carly manages to convince Helena to use space to practice their routine for the streetdance championships in one of her halls for free, on one condition: Carly is to include some of Helena's ballet dancers in the routine. Now, if you think you can guess roughly how the plot goes, you're probably right. There's no denying that StreetDance (minus the 3D) is pretty nuts-and-bolts on the predictability scale. However, that is not to say that the script is horrible by any means. Yeah, the plot's typical enough, but screenwriter Jane English has done a really good job, like Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, of telling an old story in a new and interesting way. By using the streetdance culture as a catalyst for a film, StreetDance feels new and exciting despite the fact it is, by all means, a relatively predictable film. Of even greater achievement is the soundtrack which really suits the style of dance and culture they are trying to achieve in the film. Personally, I was ("NOT") planning on downloading the soundtrack after having seen the film, but to my surprise thanks to trusty Wikipedia, ever great source of information, I found out that the soundtrack was composed by N-Dubz. That was a big shocker for me, for although they only perform one song on the soundtrack itself, the soundtrack as a whole was incredibly catchy, and there were moments throughout the film where I started bopping my head for periods, only to realise I was doing so well into a dance sequence. As someone who is not a fan of N-Dubz at all, I extend my hand in congratulating Dappy, Tulisa and Fazer for really doing a great job here. The acting too is good, particularly from lead Nichola Burley, who has the most to handle as Carly, what with coping with boyfriend Jay leaving and attempting to successfully lead a streetdance crew. I love how with Carly Jane English has written a thoroughly well-rounded character, for many of the others are cardboard cutout stereotypes, and Burley plays Carly as a three-dimensional human being. As opposed to being the perennial optimist that is always seen in these films, she has her doubts and anxieties, and does show emotion, which is obviously what good acting is all about. But what would StreetDance be without the dancing? The movie revolves around the streetdance culture and competition, and as such, with a script revolving around this, you'd like to think the dancing would be good, and boy, is it good. With dancing from the best of British talents such as Diversity, Flawless and George Sampson, they truly do perform the routines brilliantly. As Charlotte Rampling's Helena mentions in the film, its all about the emotion on display in the dancing. The dance routines display the emotion of the dancers/characters as they evolve and progress with grace during the course of the film, building to a grand climax which has to be one of the best dance scenes in film history. A big pat (not cow pat) on the back must go to the choreographers, who have done a marvellous job in bringing this to life, cinematographer Sam McCurdy for capturing it well, Tim Murrell for not editing it like those Bourne wannabes and also the costume department and designer Andrew Cox. The only real flaw with the film as I have said is the predictability of the piece and how the screenplay revolves around the dance routines and not the other way round. It's not a great film, but I can't complain too much. For a £4.5 million low-budget Brit-flick, it really looks fantastic and I've much rather see this 100 times than a Transformers film once. I'm so glad that a film like this has done so well against lumbering epics like Prince Of Persia and Robin Hood. If I was to compare it to a movie, it would be Purple Rain, which is not a fantastic movie, but has some amazing music and is a brilliant star vehicle for Prince. There's no more films like this by pop stars anymore, so hey, this may as well be our generation's Purple Rain, and is destined for cult classic status.


The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 7.5/10


The Thin White Dude's Self-Diagnosis - Very pleased


PS: I think this is another of my "pink" moments as I call them, where I get really excited about things that would probably have me labelled as gay, but who care's, go see the movie! Really, I mean it!

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