Shall We Dance (2004)

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Keith I, Oct 3, 2004.

  1. Keith I

    Keith I FoS

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    My wife and I saw a sneak preview last night and after also seeing the Japanese 1997 version, they are almost identical. There are no significant changes, except for a few minor scenes and character background.

    If you enjoyed the original, you will probably enjoy the remake. Well, that might not be true. It's very difficult for a remake to live up to its predecessor. Some people may think Gere and/or Lopez are horrible choices. It doesn't hurt that both of them already have dancing experience. We both thought this version was livelier. Every actor was enjoyable; there were no boring characters. Although my wife doesn't really care for Richard Gere as an actor, she felt he was fine in the role of a working man bored with his life, including his job and his family. Jennifer Lopez was just fine as the lonely and frustrated dance teacher who gets her own lesson she won't forget. Of course, the supporting actors sometimes upstage everyone else. Stanley Tucci always manages to turn his portrayals into gold no matter how the movie is. Lisa Ann Walter is hilarious as a Bette Midler-type diva (sorry, Bette, she just reminded us of you in your 80s films). Susan Sarandon is low-key as the worried wife who thinks her husband is having an affair, but has the best dialogue in the film regarding what marriage really is (you married couples will look at each other and nudge-nudge-wink-wink each other). Bobby Canavale and Omar Miller shine as Gere's fellow dancing students. Anita Gillette has a nice turn as Miss Mitzi, the owner of the studio. Richard Jenkins and Nick Cannon are fine as two private investigators.

    Director Peter Chelsom doesn't go for the flash that could have been done with a movie including dancing. However, the dancing scenes are shot very well, never losing the focus of what's going on on the dance floor.

    If you haven't seen the original and have only seen the previews, you don't have to enjoy ballroom dancing (or any dancing) to enjoy the movie. I read an advanced review on the 'net elsewhere and the reviewer said he hated ballroom dancing, so he already had a bias watching the movie. If this is like you, then you probably won't enjoy the movie. There are lots of dancing scenes (and not all of the ballroom type) and they are all enjoyable.

    This movie is simply a crowdpleaser. It's probably not going to get any awards or nominations but it's a good time at the movies. The underlying theme is to do something with your life that you and your family will enjoy. Basically, it made us feel nice and warm inside.

    The 1997 movie is supposed to come out on DVD on October 12 but was postponed to February, according to Buena Vista Home Entertainment. See both versions if you have the chance.
     
  2. Joe Hsu

    Joe Hsu Supporting Actor

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    I was maybe 16 or 17 when I happened to stumble upon the original and I absolutely loved it. No offense either of the stars of the remake, but they couldn't do a better job, not in my mind at least.

    I also later went on to campaign it in my student movie groups and APA film nights ^_^
     
  3. Stephen_L

    Stephen_L Supporting Actor

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    Loved the Japanese original but I'm skeptical that the American version will follow it. Its been a long time but as I remember, the beautiful dance instructor who attracts the salaryman to enter the dance studio in the end remains a distant figure and doesn't even teach the him. I've already seen JLo teaching Gere and I suspect she'll be much more involved in the story.
     
  4. Keith I

    Keith I FoS

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    The remake is almost the same as the original. The remake will succeed (for people who have seen both versions) based on how you perceive the actors in their roles. The story and most of the scenes were nearly identical. My wife and I thought everyone played their roles perfectly. No over the top portrayals, except when the scene calls for it. Even Tucci's character wasn't as flashy as the original's actor's but still great enough to almost steal the show!

    In the original, the mysterious woman did teach the salaryman a few steps (but not a full dance lesson) and JLo does the same in the remake. I think she DOES have more screen-time in this one but her portrayal is subdued, which is a nice touch, not in-your-face melodrama.

    There is a scene in the remake where, right before the competition, she dances with Gere to calm him down, to get his nervousness out of himself. I'm not sure if this scene was in the original (and I just got rid of my laserdisc when I heard it was going to come out on DVD on October 12, then it was postponed until February!), but it was a nice touch.

    I would say to people who have seen the original to give the remake a chance. It will NOT live up to the original's expectations but don't think about the original nor compare it WHILE you are watching the movie. Clear your mind of the original before you see the remake. My wife and I were glad we took a chance because we left the theater satisfied and fulfilled. And this is cute ... a couple that enjoyed the movie so much started dancing in the aisle after the movie was over. Not thinking about acting, story, directing, etc. (i.e., dissecting the movie) this movie just made us feel good.
     
  5. Tony Kwong

    Tony Kwong Supporting Actor

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    Sounds decent enough. I heard about them planning a remake for quite some time now. I was wondering when it will come out. Not sure if I'm gonna see it thou...
     
  6. Keith I

    Keith I FoS

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    I don't know about the rest of the country but over here there is another sneak preview tomorrow (Sunday) evening. I wonder why Miramax is showing TWO previews before its regular opening? What is the strategy here? Isn't it rare to have more than one preview before regular release?
     
  7. Keith I

    Keith I FoS

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    Now that both versions are out on DVD, you can compare both movies here. My opinions above regarding the remake may need some clarification. The tone of the remake is much different from the original. Since Japanese culture plays a big part in the original, that is one big part that is missing from the remake for obvious reasons. But in itself, I liked the remake for what it is. I agree that the original is superior.

    So here is your chance to flame the remake! [​IMG] Based on some comments in the DVD forum, it deserves it!
    -
     
  8. Allen>B

    Allen>B Agent

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    WOW, did they ever drop the ball on the remake.

    (spoilers ahead)

    A few things that really thru me:


    First the positive:

    I liked what they did with the investigators assistant character. In the end I found him the most interesting thing in the movie : )

    I liked the mandatory big happy ending scene. (except that they left out the assistant)


    Now just a sample of the cons:


    The movie seemed to forget all the best parts of the original. Like a photocopy that left all the details out.

    They turned the owner of the dance studio into a closet drinker. They turned the tough girl into a nightmare. They turned one of his buddies gay. They added a son and did nothing with him. I never got the true idea behind wig-man the original did. In fact making him aggressive (see next point)

    They had wig-man fly a huge "F you all!" to his entire work group. Immediately turning this movie from something the whole family could watch (like the original) into something the whole family can't watch. WTF were they thinking of?

    In the scene where he steps on her dress and it comes off, the whole point was that he was SAVING her. A great noble act. In the US version he's just dumb and steps on it by accident. Why would they remove such a great aspect of the film? Why did they even bother with the embarrassment scene? "Sorry I stepped on your dress" "that's ok". Great idea over her understanding that he had to make that motion to save her from being injured?

    I really could go on, (most of the movie miss-cast) but as long as the original finally hit wide screen DVD I'm happy : )
     
  9. Allen>B

    Allen>B Agent

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    Guess I'm the only one that felt that way [​IMG]
     
  10. Timothy Fisher

    Timothy Fisher Auditioning

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    I was pleasantly surprised by the remake, but do not think it is in the same ballpark as the original. So much of the original was about the Japanese cultural. That simply cannot be replicated in an American remake. Nevertheless, I was pleased that the remake was generally true to the Japanese version.

    Allen's points about the remake are accurate, but they didn't ruin the movie for me. The American version was an entertaining piece of fluff in my opinion. It completely lacks, however, the cultural insight of the original.
     
  11. stephen la

    stephen la Stunt Coordinator

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    sometime in 1997 or 1998 when I was still living at home and one of my mom's friend's called saying she wanted to bring over this really funny movie she rented. called shall we dance.
    I thought it was that vanessa williams movie.. so I didn't watch it with them.
    later my mom told me it was actually a japanese movie and not the other movie I was thinking about.
    anyway.. I've hears alot about the original since then..mostly from this site. but I never saw it.

    this weekend my wife brought the remake home from a work friend who rented it and wanted her to see it.
    I didnt expect much, but I really liked it.
    possible spoilers
    I was surprised to see singer mya as one of the student's fiance. she didnt do much, I dont even think she had any lines... also surprising was to see rapper ja rule in the club.. why was he singing such an old song of his? I dont know..

    I liked stanley tuccis character a lot. he was unrecognizable to when I first saw him in costume.
    the movie is a light hearted comedy with some serious tones. like main character flirting with cheating etc.

    I expect the original version to be alot better.
    for so many people to really love it, it has to be more moving or emotional.
    the remake is just a forgetible feel good movie that's worth a watch
     
  12. Stephen_L

    Stephen_L Supporting Actor

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    Having still not seen the entire remake (I watched bits and pieces on a plane to Denver) I guess I still have a problem with the casting and cultural transfer to the American version. Japan is a country of very restrained manners; displays of affection in public even between husbands and wives are very uncommon. That's why ballroom dancing where you embrace another woman publicly is more scandalous than it would ever be in America. And for a respectable Japanese salaryman to do it is a bold step. An American, even a corporate type making such a choice would never raise an eyebrow. Secondly, in the Japanese version, the salaryman was this gray ordinary looking man, as was his wife. The contrast of this ordinary man taking the dance floor seems much more radical than handsome, charismatic Richard Gere. How sad can he be, he's married to Susan Sarandon for crying out loud! It might have been fun to see an ordinary looking guy, like Paul Giamatti run with this part.
     

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