HTF REVIEW: "Footloose" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Oct 2, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    [​IMG]

    Footloose




    Studio: Paramount
    Year: 1984
    Rated: PG
    Film Length: 107 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
    Subtitles: English, Spanish



    The music is on his side
    This year's final quarter brings a handful of most
    requested musical titles from Paramount's 70s and
    80s catalog. Unfortunately, there seems to be a
    bit of unevenness as far as the quality of these
    releases. More on that in a moment.
    As much as Saturday Night Fever became
    a music stapele of the 70s era, Footloose
    has become a classic for the 80s, with its music
    loaded story of cultural differences, change and
    acceptance.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Ren (Kevin Bacon) hasn't had an easy life. His
    father has walked out on him and on his mother,
    Ethel (Francis Lee McCain). With no means of support,
    Ren and Ethel are forced to leave Chicago and seek
    refuge with relatives in Bomont, a small town
    somewhere in the Midwest. Things go from bad to
    worse as he is immediately labeled as an "outsider."
    Furthermore, the town is greatly influenced by a
    powerful minister, Reverend Moore (John Lithgow),
    who believes music and dancing is the ultimate sin.
    You see, following an automobile accident five
    years ago, in which several of the town's drunken
    teens were killed, the council passed a law
    forbidding dancing.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Still, Ren is a likeable person and he manages
    to make a few friends including Willard (Chris
    Penn), and most notably Ariel (Lori Singer), the
    reverend's daughter. Ariel is beautiful but very
    tough. Despite the jealousy her boyfriend, she
    and Ren become an item, and together they fight
    the town council and make a campaign to overturn
    the rules against music and dancing.
    How is the transfer?
    Watching Footloose wasn't exactly the
    experience I had hoped for. First of all, the
    copy I received from Paramount was mostly defective.
    Large blocks of artifacts showed up throughout the
    film, and the picture froze up on me several times.
    I am going to guess that these problems are limited
    to the disc I received.
    The other problem is that this transfer is pretty
    lackluster. After looking at how perfect Saturday
    Night Fever
    looked, and how decent Grease
    came across on DVD, you can immediately see that no
    great effort was put into the transfer of Footloose.
    The biggest problem here is how aged the film
    looks. As the film opens, we see Reverend Moore
    giving a sermon. You can immediately see how dull
    this transfer looks. Not only is there a lack of
    picture detail, but the white church walls are filled
    with noise. Look at the faces of the townsfolk who
    sit in the pews -- you can see how dull the picture
    has become. Facial tones take on that ugly red color
    that make the entire film look dated. You'll see how
    bad things look in another scene where Ren and
    Willard are talking in the school's cafeteria. The
    entire scene is dull, dark, and a little too red.
    When you look at some of the darker scenes, such as
    the one at the Hi-Spot hangout, you notice how much
    picture detail is lost in all the surrounding
    blackness. In addition to all of this, there's a
    noticeable amount of film blemish littered all
    over the print.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    The 5.1 surround mix is about as uneven as the
    transfer. Some of the film's energetic songs sound
    better than others. At it's best, songs like
    Holding out for a hero and Let's hear
    it for the boys
    come across with nice bass-heavy
    response and fairly good LFE channel support. Some
    of the other songs sound nearly as good, but lacking
    punch. The 5.1 mix does manage to effectively put
    the song dialogue squarely in the center channel
    with the front channels driving the music. Depending
    on the song, the rears either effectively help
    support the song or just add reverb echo. Otherwise,
    during the film's action scenes, the rears fall
    mostly silent.
    You know, some may say that I am being too critical
    of what I see and hear with some of these catalog
    releases. While I certainly understand studio
    economics, my fear is the approaching HD-DVD format.
    If studios don't start doing a better job cleaning
    up these films now, they are going to spending the
    money to do it down the road. I could imagine how
    bad a popular film like this one would look under
    the magnifying glass of a High-Def format.
    Special Features
    [​IMG]
    When the studio lists Special Features as
    subtitles, 5.1 surround and Widescreen -- you
    know you are in trouble. The truth of the matter
    is that there are no Special Features on this DVD.
    What bothers me the most is Paramount's recent
    lack of interest in putting trailers on their DVD
    product. At the very least, every DVD should come
    with the film's original trailer. Why? Because it
    is an essential part of that film's history.
    Final Thoughts
    I suppose with some major catalog releases coming
    out of Paramount's vault, the studio had to make
    some important decisions as to which ones were to
    receive the highest priority of restoration. Though
    I absolutely agree that Saturday Night Fever
    deserved the most attention, and was somewhat
    disappointed by the transfer of Grease, I
    can't help but feel more let down by the overall
    transfer quality of Footloose.
    [​IMG]
    Still, perhaps we should thank our lucky stars
    that this film is finally available on DVD and hope
    that in years to come, the film will finally be
    done right on the next video format.
    Release Date: October 8, 2002
     
  2. Will K

    Will K Screenwriter

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    Wow, this is disappointing. Paramount has really dropped the ball on transferring some titles(and yes, they are leaving off a lot of trailers). Here's to hoping Flashdance fares better.
     
  3. MichaelG

    MichaelG Second Unit

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    Hmmm, I am definately going to wait and see if people that buy find the transfer different, assuming that Ron's copy is somewhat defective. I was interested in buying, but I am waiting to see what others think about this after this review. Thanks for the information.
     
  4. Piers C

    Piers C Stunt Coordinator

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    Ron,
    Will you be getting a replacement disc from Paramount? If so, pls post any follow-up comments if time allows.

    Did your trip out West give you any insight on the transfer process for a "catalog" release? I am curious as to why these releases would be so uneven - is it just resources/people spread too thin?

    Thanks for the balanced review as always!
     
  5. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    You know, I don't think the folks at Paramount
    are too happy with us as of late.

    The last thing I want to do is bother them
    for a replacement copy.

    I'll just buy one of my own.
     
  6. Frank Sadler

    Frank Sadler Agent

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    Sigh Sigh Sigh [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  7. Kyle McKnight

    Kyle McKnight Cinematographer

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    I'll be buying this one, though I do wish the trailer was included. The DVD will beat out watching it on TV or VHS anytime.
     
  8. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

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    I'm dissapointed in this release and that of Grease. Haven't read a Saturday Night Fever review yet, but I imagine that won't be great news either.

    What has happenned to Paramount?
     
  9. Frank Sadler

    Frank Sadler Agent

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    Something bad has happened to Paramount. I don't like it at all.
     
  10. Peter McM

    Peter McM Supporting Actor

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    Ron--

    Any hopes for a better review with Flashdance? And when can we expect to see it?
     
  11. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    I opted not to review Flashdance.
    I just have too many DVD titles sitting here
    and I can only do so much from each studio.
    I mean, I'll see what I can do (I have a copy
    that I bought already), but I would expect other
    websites will have their own review in the next
    12 hours.
     
  12. R. Kay

    R. Kay Second Unit

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    Ron, c'mon, you watch dvds for a living!
    I'm sure you can squeeze in Flashdance between all the other movies you watch.
    You think that maybe you should have skipped 'Mr. Limpet'???
    What's next, a review of 'Dorf on Golf' with Tim Conway instead of the LOTR 4 DVD Edition ?
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Chuck L

    Chuck L Screenwriter

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    Nice to know that the dumping on the consumer, and the longing for titles since the dawn of the DVD hasn't really paid off in lines of DVD-Consumer since 1997 loyalty.

    Though I am not interested in this title, it does seem as if they pick and choose which films they really want to do well.

    It is a shame that Saturday Night Fever, a film which hasn't even been re-issued like Grease has, would be getting all the glory.

    What really concerns me is when they pull this on the Star Trek crowd, but then again, that seems to be the folks that they are the most concerned about.
     
  14. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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  15. Peter McM

    Peter McM Supporting Actor

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    R Kay:

    This site isn't Ron's living. He has a regular job which takes priority.

    I appreciate the job you and the others do, Ron. Truth be told, I'll be getting Flashdance anyway. I only hoped for an expert critique--and you're the best we all know.

    Keep up the good work.
     
  16. Peter McM

    Peter McM Supporting Actor

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    Thanks, Crawdaddy![​IMG]
     
  17. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Guys,
    I viewed my copy of "Flashdance" this afternoon and Jennifer Beals never looked so good.[​IMG]
    Crawdaddy
     
  18. Mark Bendiksen

    Mark Bendiksen Screenwriter

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  19. Jason Whyte

    Jason Whyte Screenwriter

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    [​IMG]
    There's an upcoming signature if I've ever seen one. [​IMG]
    Oh, and my typical Canadian Buyers Beware:
    [​IMG]
     
  20. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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