Step Up DVD: Review By Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

This film was successful because Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan have a lot of chemistry.
  • OVERALL
    3.0
    WORTHY
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE GOOD
This film was successful because Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan have a lot of chemistry.
THE BAD
Certain parts of this film were very cheesy.
THE FEATURE
Although not breaking any new ground, Step Up is a Romeo and Juliet like story centered in the hip hop and classical dance worlds. Tyler Gage (Channing Tatum) plays a thuggish type who also happens to be a very good dancer. When he gets in trouble for trashing a school for the Performing Arts, he is sent there to do his 200 hours of community service. He catches the eye of Nora Clark (Jenna Dewan), she catches the eye of him and when Nora needs a new dance partner, Tyler is more than eager to fill in. One can tell that he has always longed to show people that he's more than just someone from the street.

Well, surprise, surprise, opposites end up attracting. However that brings along it's own problems. Nora's mother wants her to either get a job dancing (which is what the showcase she is practicing for will hopefully do), or she has to attend a regular school and seemingly put her dreams on the backburner. For Tyler, his problem is that he really has talent, yet utilizing that takes him away from his friends and his neighborhood. This says nothing of the fact that when Tyler and Nora's world's start to really collide, questions of this relationship working become all the more important.

In the end, things work out how you might expect for these characters, but even in it's familiarity Step Up has a very fresh vibe.
THE EXTRAS
Deleted Scenes and Bloopers

None of the deleted scenes seem to really say much about the characters. They seem like they were most likely taken out of the film because they were redundant. At 103 minutes, Step Up is certainly long enough and considering how well worn this story is, these aren't scenes that many people will miss. I could see younger folks who were enamored with this movie be very excited over these extras, so it was nice of the DVDs creators to put them on here. The bloopers examine messed up moves, blown lines, and bad deliveries.

MySpace.com Dance Contest Videos

"Making the Moves" Featurettes

This segment of the DVD looks at the making of this movie. We see how the actors got cast, what director Anne Fletcher was looking for, how the actors felt about the moves they were learning and just about everything else. This is one of those featurettes where almost every aspect is touched on a little bit, however it really isn't long enough to go into that great a depth in regards to certain aspects of the characters (and actors).

Music Videos

There are 4 videos on here. One is with Ciara featuring Chamillionaire for the song "Get Up." There is another one with Sean Paul and Keyshia Cole for the song "(When You Gonna) Give It Up To Me." There is a video for Chris Brown and his song "Say Goodbye," and lastly, we have Samantha Jade performing the title song to this movie.

Audio Commentary

Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan and Director/Choreographer Anne Fletcher handle this commentary track quite nicely. They talk about the film, picking up the moves, what it was like dancing for 12 hours a day, and basically in 103 minutes they give us a nice thumbnail sketch of this production. I think it's interesting how Fletcher was able to move up from choreography to directing, but when you think about it it really isn't that much of stretch. Both jobs require you to block movement, deal with human beings, and utilize your performers emotions to get the most out of them.
THE VIDEO
Widescreen screen - 2.35:1. Enhanced for 16x9 Televisions. This film had both a street look and a more refined one for the school scenes. What I most appreciated about the way that Director of Photography Michael Seresen shot this is the fact that there were a lot of wide shots. This film was tightly edited by Nancy Richardson, but viewers can really tell that the actors are doing their own moves in a lot of the scenes. This made it very easy to put together their whole performance and really appreciate what was happening on screen.
THE AUDIO
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. French Language Track. French and Spanish Subtitles. The soundtrack for this movie was fine. Perhaps if I was more into hip hop music I would have appreciated it more. I just am not able to get into this kind of R&B music. I didn't hear any glitches in the audio or other noise hits that got my attention. Also, the way this movie was mixed, I could hear everything perfectly without having to turn up the sound that loud.
THE PACKAGE
The front cover image of Tatum and Dewan in the middle of a dance move was the exact same image utilized on this movie's one-sheet when it was released. The back cover showcases more images from the movie, it gives us a description, a Bonus Features listing, a cast list and technical specs. All in all, the packaging for this movie is pretty typical looking, but I don't think they need to step things up that much for a dance film.
THE FINAL WORD
If I wasn't given Step Up on DVD to review, chances are I would probably have never seen this movie. Yet, again I was highly impressed with the performance of Channing Tatum. While he does very good work as Tyler Gage in this film, I think his most interesting performance was that of Antonio in A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints. He is so ferocious in that film and then to see him here, it's as though he is playing a very distilled version of who that character might have been. He and Jenna Dewan are both very good actors, but they are also surrounded by such actors as Rachel Griffiths who give this this film a tone of legitimacy that it otherwise might not have had.

All in all, it seems that solid casting, a fresh take on an old theme and a belief in this material is what has made Step Up one of the sleeper hits of 2006.

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