On the classic comedy series “SCTV,” Joe Flaherty played Count Floyd, the cheesy host of the even cheesier “Monster Chiller Horror Theater.” More often than not, Count Floyd would introduce a new 3D horror flick created by Dr. Tongue (John Candy), a director who would simply hold objects closer to the camera to create his “special effects”.
Strangely enough, Dr. Tongue and Count Floyd came to mind while watching Step Up 3D, the latest film in the popular dance movie franchise. Although 3D films are increasingly common these days, a dance film doesn’t need those kind of effects, especially when they take away from the music and dancing.
Moose from Step Up 2goes to college in Step Up 3D
Here, Adam G. Sevani reprises his Step Up 2 role of Moose, the good-hearted kid who lives to dance. Promising his parents that the whole “dance thing” is over, he and his BFF Camille (Alyson Stoner from the original Step Up movie) go to New York University together to help each other make the transition from high school into the real world.
In a matter of minutes, though, Moose is pulled back into the world of competitive dance. After he demonstrates some impressive moves in Washington Square Park, Moose becomes part of the Pirates, a dance group run by Luke (Rick Malambri), an aspiring filmmaker. Luke treats his teammates like family, offering a home to dancers like Natalie (Sharni Vinson) who have been living on the streets.
Money is a big problem for Luke, especially since he is 6 months behind on his mortgage payments. He’s banking on Moose and the rest of his Pirates to win the World Jam, a prestigious dance contest that awards $100,000 to the best dancers. Luke will have to juggle romantic entanglements and a tight budget to keep his Pirates together.
Special effects and a weak plot diminish the moves in Step Up 3D
As far as plot goes, Step Up 3D is pretty standard stuff. Both Moose and Luke have problems with their significant others, problems severe enough to threaten their chances of winning the World Jam. It’s obvious, though, that by the end of the story, that all will be right in their respective worlds.
Of course, no one goes to a Step Up movie for the plot, and where dancing is involved, director Jon Chu doesn’t disappoint. Chu lets his cast cut loose, and their moves are, in a word, stunning. The dancing conveys more meaning than the awkward dialogue ever could.
The biggest problem of all is, unfortunately, the 3D effects. Like the infamous Dr. Tongue from SCTV, Chu looks for any excuse to throw in some cool 3D moves, like a scene in which Luke and Natalie stand on a powerful exhaust vent. It is kind of cool to see frozen slush floating in the air, but it adds nothing to the overall enjoyment of Step Up 3D.
Director Chu gets even cheesier later on during the World Jam by having the dancers reach out towards the camera. Audiences expect that kind of schlock from Dr. Tongue, but in a dance movie, it is rather embarrassing. For Step Up fans, the best advice here is to abandon the 3D glasses and watch the film without the digital effects. The dancers themselves are more than special enough without digital enhancement.
Step Up 3D, rated PG-13 for brief strong language, opens today in theaters nationwide.