You know how they say some experiences are similar to having your teeth pulled? That pretty much sums up 'Step Up 3D.' Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are fans out there who enjoy these movies, why else would they continue to make them? I also don't object to this film simply because it's a dance movie. No, I dislike it because of the total disregard for any type of original story. Instead of coming up with something original, 'Step Up 3D' follows a story arc similar to an episode of The Dukes of Hazzard, where the boys have to win a race in order to save Uncle Jesse's farm.
The Story features a group of street dancers all living under the same roof, this is all made possible thanks to their leader, Luke (Rick Malambri). Luke is an aspiring film maker who has been working on his first documentary on why people dance. The movie starts by introducing us to Moose (Adam Sevani) and his friend Camille (Alyson Stoner). The two of them are starting their first semester at college together. That's pretty much all the back story we get. Moose is distracted by a shiny pair of shoes, so he decides to follow the dude wearing them to get a better look. In the process, Moose ends up battling one of the best street dancers in New York, and winning. This catches the attention of Luke (who happens to be filming random dancers in the park), and he invites Moose to join his group and compete in the big dance off with first prize set at $100,000! Along the way, things are made complicated for Luke as he meets a young lady named Natalie, (Sharni Vinson) who brings some baggage to the group, and the bank threatens to foreclose on the apartment for late mortgage payments. Luke and the gang must win the battle if they hope to save their home!!
It's a cookie cutter story that can easily be implanted into pretty much any situation, 'Step Up 3D' just chooses to apply it to a dancing movie. The sad thing is that this story can actually be engaging if interesting content is surrounding it; take a movie like 'Happy Gilmore' as an example. Both movies share the same basic structure, where the hero must raise money to save something from being foreclosed on by a bank. The difference is that 'Happy Gilmore' was filled with funny and interesting characters, while 'Step Up 3D' fills space with characters we learn nothing about, who barely contribute anything to the story. I know it may seem like a reach to compare this film to a comedy, but when you look at how similar the stories are, it's not that far fetched.
I strongly disliked this movie. How is it that a group of broke people living together have the money to customize an apartment to each of the members dance styles? Further, how does a dude walking through the park or dance club, going right up to people and filming them, without asking, not get his ass kicked?
I'll admit it, I found the dance moves featured in this film to be fairly impressive. I know I can't pull off anything even remotely that awesome. For that reason, fans of dance films should have no trouble enjoying parts of this movie. For those of you who have no interest in dance, this movie will probably not appeal to you in any way.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Step Up 3D' arrives on 3D Blu-ray as a three disc set packaged in a standard blue case and holographic slipcover. The first disc is the 2D Blu-ray version with all of the special features. Disc two is the 3D Blu-ray version with no special features. Please note that the 3D disc only plays in 3D players, this will not play in 2D. Disc three features the DVD and digital copies of the movies on the same disc. The Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D versions of the film are both region free while the DVD/digital copy disc is locked to region 1 only.
'Step Up 3D' arrives on 3D Blu-ray with a strong 1080p/MPEG-4 transfer that should please fans of the movie. I had fairly high expectations for this release due to the fact that it was actually filmed in 3D rather than being converted in post-production. So how does this stack up?
I must say that 'Step Up 3D' looks very nice on 3D Blu-ray. I was impressed with how vibrant the colors were and the accurate skin-tones. I also enjoyed all of the skyline shots of New York city, especially the night time footage, the colors of the lights in the buildings and the bottomless blacks were a sight to behold. Overall, I found this to be a very clean release that was free of most digital artifacts (shy of a few instances of banding).
The 3D elements were also very impressive. Throughout the entire film, depth was consistently strong, I really noticed the distances between objects in the scenes looking out over crowds of people or shots with New York city in the background. Texture and detail also remained very strong in 3D. Notice how you can see every stitch in Moose's hat or the tiny imperfections in the bricks of some of the buildings featured. I also found colors to be equally as strong in 3D as they were in the 2D version of the movie (yes, I did watch this twice). Ghosting was not a big issue, but did pop up from time to time, most noticeably in some of the close-up shots.
Overall, I found this to be a very clean transfer with strong colors and good detail. Not surprisingly, the 3D elements were very strong, I'm encouraged to see how well films actually shot in modern stereoscopic 3D transfer over to the format. Hopefully we get more of this with future releases like 'Resident Evil: Afterlife' and 'Piranha!'
'Step Up 3D' features the same DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track for both the 2D and 3D versions of the film and overall, this is a strong soundtrack. As expected with a dance movie, this is basically a long music video and I found the music to be very clear with some strong bass effects. Speech is mostly clear and centered (shy of a few times where characters off camera talk) but overpowered at times by the loud, bass heavy music featured in the film. After watching, I felt like I had spent a long night at the club.
Overall, I found the surround effects to be on the light side; there are some off camera effects in the battle sequences but overall, I found them to be lacking a bit.
'Step Up 3D' features a fairly lackluster set of special features. Fans of the movie will be disappointed to hear that no director commentary is featured. Here is what you will find with this release.
Overall, I didn't enjoy this movie. I found the story unoriginal and had a hard time buying into the premise of the film. It starts with our main character following shiny shoes!! Aside from the film itself, this is a fairly strong release in terms of audio and video. The 3D is very good throughout, creating a great sense of depth, and the DTS-HD Master Audio track will have your home theater sounding like the local night club in no time. Toss in a few extras and this release should appeal to fans of the movie. For everyone else, this is one to avoid.