Step Up 3 (Blu-ray Combo Pack)
Directed by John M. Chu
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 1080p AVC codec Running Time: 107 minutes
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 French, Spanish, Portuguese
Subtitles: SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese
MSRP: $ 39.99
Release Date: December 21, 2010
Review Date: December 12, 2010
With the release of the third film in the Step Up series, one has to wonder if the producers of these movies truly have anything else to say. This third entry has the same basic plot of the previous two films: rival street dance crews face off against one another in a big dance-off for a major prize. Along the way love blossoms, and there are betrayals afoot, secrets revealed, and last minute changes of heart in an attempt to save the day. This isn’t to say that there isn’t real talent involved. The dancers in these films are rhythmically adept and tremendous athletes, but making another predictable film in this series only this time in 3D can’t be the only rationale for its production. Or at least, it shouldn’t be.
Moose (Adam G. Sevani) and Camille (Alyson Stoner) are beginning their freshman year at New York University, but Moose can’t resist the throbbing music of the streets and soon meets up with Luke (Rick Malambri), the leader of the Pirates who have hopes of winning the $100,000 grand prize at the first annual World Jam. Their chief competition is the Samurai clan headed by his one-time best friend Julian (Joe Slaughter). Luke meets a terrific dancer Natalie (Sharni Vinson) who’s spent the last three years in London, and she’s impressed not only with his moves and his cool crib called the Vault but also his talent as a documentary filmmaker. She wants him to enroll in film school in California, but his number one priority is making sure his crew finishes first at the World Jam because the prize money will pay off the five months’ mortgage due on his place.
Why do these writers (this time it’s Amy Andelson and Emily Meyer) kept concocting these trite scenarios around which all of this great street dancing must fit? Why not just film the dancing and forget about all the predictable break-ups and make-ups, the ridiculous lapses in logic (Luke and Julian were longtime best friends, but he never knew Julian’s sister Natalie; Luke can’t afford to pay his mortgage but he has a room with a wall full of expensive, high end sneakers and another room filled to bursting with boom boxes of every size and shape), and the tedious, obvious come-from-behind victory when the poverty-stricken Pirates pull out new outfits for their final jam bedecked with hundreds of LEDs and lasers! Director John Chu and five listed choreographers for the movie have staged all of these contests (three different rounds of World Jam) for the 3D cameras, so there is a great deal of in-your-face moves as these artists spin, flip, pop, and lock to an incessant beat. But, while it may be fun to have hands and feet (not to mention, bubbles, balloons, and water droplets) poking out at you in 3D, in 2D, the routines appear to be much less interestingly shot than in the previous two movies since the 3D cameras are shooting constantly from the front rather than moving over, around, and through the sea of bodies flipping and twirling in every possible direction. In fact, the film’s best musical moments don’t even involve the street dancing but the two back-to-back songs that convey however faintly the really joyful pairing of sound and image: “Be True to Who You Are” as the two divided couples ponder their unhappiness and “I Won’t Dance” in which Adam Sevani and Alyson Stoner do their best to channel some of the charm and sophistication of former movie couples Astaire and Rogers and Marge and Gower Champion when they each performed routines to that song only this time with a street dance vocabulary. (One suspects producer Adam Shankman who directed Hairspray had a hand in this homage.)
For the lead in a dance movie, it’s curious that the producers have selected basically a non-dancer, Rick Malambri. He can strike a good pose, and his torso is put on display continually either shirtless or in form fitting tees, but he seems ill at ease among some of these great movers and shakers in his crew. Adam G. Sevani returns from the previous movie as Moose, and while he’s a better dancer, he tries too hard to be endearing and soon becomes cloying. Sharni Vinson attempts to make something meaningful out of her cardboard character, but the script defeats her. As the best dancer of the main players, however, she certainly emerges as the film’s MVP. Joe Slaughter playing the sneering, wicked Julian fittingly dresses all in black, and he’s missing only a long, waxy handlebar mustache for him to twirl to complete his Simon Legree characterization.
The film has been framed at 1.78:1 and is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. Sharp and very detailed and boasting terrific black levels with excellent shadow detail, the image quality is just a hair shy of reference quality. Overall, the picture is pristinely clean, but contrast occasionally gets just a bit hot. The film has been divided into 18 chapters.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix channels all of that incessant music through the entire soundfield with concise precision. With all of the bass in the hip-hop music, the LFE channel will have plenty to do. The sound design fails just occasionally to envelop the soundstage with all of the potential ambient sounds of the New York City locations. The music does its job of engulfing us constantly, but other city sounds like passing cars or crowd cheers during the various jams do not. Dialogue is clearly reproduced in the center channel.
All of the bonus features are presented in 1080p.
“Born from a Boom Box: A Luke Katcher Film” is the 11 ¼-minute documentary film which is Luke’s submission to film school. Referenced several times during the movie, it’s shown here in its entirety.
"Extra Moves" is introduced by producer Adam Shankman: 7 ¼-minutes of dance routines edited together from behind-the-scenes footage shot during the making of the movie.
There are eight deleted scenes which may be watched individually or in one 24-minute grouping. They are introduced by director Jon Chu.
There are eight music videos tied to the music used in the film. They may be watched in one 29 ¾-minute bunch or individually. They are “Club Can’t Handle Me,” “My Own Step,” “Already Taken,” “This Girl,” “This Instant,” No Te Quiero,” “Irresistible,” and “Spirit of the Radio.”
“The Making of the Music Videos” is a montage of interviews and behind-the-scenes glimpses at the making of the music videos above featuring such performers as Jrandall, Laza Morgan, Trey Songz, Sophia Del Carmen, Sophia Fresh, Flo Rida, and Wisin y Yandel. It runs 7 ¼ minutes.
There are 1080p trailers for Disney 3D Blu-rays, You Again, and Secretariat.
The second disc in the set is the DVD release of the movie.
2.5/5 (not an average)
The story is hackneyed and instantly forgettable, but the dance is the thing here, and if you’re a fan of all of the different types of street dancing, Step Up 3 will be right up your alley. The 3D release of the movie will likely be a more desirable rental for those with three dimensional set-ups as the obvious construction of the dance moves for 3D is the very reason for the existence of this film.