'Step Up 3D': Why every dance film, movie musical should follow suit

Step_UpImage Credit: Disney After seeing Step Up 3D, I’ll second what Owen Gleiberman said in his review: “Step Up 3D isn’t, in dramatic terms, a very good movie, but it’s the first film in a while to use 3-D as more than a marketing ploy; it points toward an original way of making a musical.” So often we think of 3-D as things flying out at the audience, but really, it’s about bringing us into the action. You feel like you’re on the dance floor during the battles, and when a member of a crew steps out in front of the others, it’s like you’re the one she’s serving. You’re able to appreciate the moves like never before because you actually get a sense of the motion — the speed, the flexibility, the control. My first thought when I left the theater was “I wish they could’ve released Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo in 3-D.” But now, I’m sitting here practically tearing up imagining the chance to experience Mikhail Baryshnikov’s airtime in Giselle, the Nicholas Brothers’ mind-blowing unpredictability leapfrogging over each other down stairs into splits in Stormy Weather, and Gene Kelly’s masculine fluidity tap dancing on roller skates in It’s Always Fair Weather and fusing flamenco with ballet in Anchors Aweigh.

Just as Step Up 3D can use the technology to bring us on the floor (or into the cheering crowd), movie musicals could use it to envelop us in their world, so when we succumb to the notion that emotions are best expressed through song, the payoff is even bigger. If we felt like we’re standing on that street with Gene Kelly in Singin’ in the Rain, his joy would be truly palpable. Imagine sitting between Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor when she starts singing “Come What May” at the end of Moulin Rouge (or standing beneath Kidman when she makes her “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” entrance), and tell me your heart doesn’t stop. Take me to that place, and keep your floating bubbles, balloons, and ICEE beverages (all three used in Step Up 3D).

If you saw Step Up 3D, do you agree that the dance sequences were a good use of the technology? Did you leave wishing you could have seen other dance movies/movie musicals in 3-D? A few other questions while I’m asking…

• Did you spend the whole movie puzzled by how much Adam G. Sevani (pictured, with Alyson Stoner) sounds like Michael Cera?

• Did you doubt that that many NYU freshmen would be wearing NYU apparel?

• Did you laugh when the House of Samurai cornered Moose (Sevani) in the men’s room not to beat him up but to lure him back out into the club for another battle? I’m all for non-violent confrontations, but it’s like, wait five minutes, boys. I’m pretty sure he’s coming back out.

• Did you wonder why anyone would take a train from New York to California? (Airport security is a bitch for surprise I’m/we’re here! movie endings.)

• Did you know what a Finger Tutter was when you saw it listed in the credits?

Comments (45 total) Add your comment
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  • Hellen

    Live dance performances are ALWAYS in 3-D. People should check one of those out.

    • Cathy H.

      I would love to go to more live dance performances but a ticket to a live dance performance costs $30 to $80 and a movie ticket to step up 3d costs $12. I’d like them to make a ballet movie and/or a lyrical/contemporary movie in 3d. I also liked seeing New York City in 3d. I felt like I was there with them and that’s the first time I experienced New York City without actually being there.

    • Aly

      you can’t actually sit on the stage, you know.

  • birv

    My question is… will the 3d movies lose their magic when you take the dvd home? PS- Hooray for Gene Kelly…Gene Kelly Hooray!

  • Devin Faraci

    3D is just a gimmick.

    • Johnification

      Right now, mostly. The article though, if you read it, was about ways to possibly make it more than a gimmick, and I thought we were talking about that. I guess you didn’t read it.

  • Nitin Jain

    3d is the next very “in” thing so its good to adept the same asap

  • Sarah

    I want to go see “So You Think You Can Dance” live… $112 for the cheapest tickets =( So, yeah, it would be nice to see dance in 3D onscreen since I certainly can’t afford the real thing.

    • Ellen

      where r u going to see the show. We paid less than $60 in CT for great seats. Go every year!

      • dragan


    • Alison

      I paid $47 for my tickets…not sure what type of venue you were looking into, but in CT, I don’t think there were any tickets higher than $60 or $70.

  • Quixotic

    Yeah, Step Up in 3D. Now my life is complete. Ugh.

  • HA! NYU

    as an NYU junior who has not seen the movie (yet, let’s be honest), I say yes you doubted correctly if more than, say, one person was wearing NYU garb

  • Julz

    Hated it, hated it, hated it in 3D. I actually walked out of the theater and said I can’t wait until it comes out on DVD so I can see it the regular way. I wanted to focus on all of the dancers but you really couldn’t. It was done so that you had to focus on those right up front.

    • miss k

      I completely agree! I didn’t walk out but I wanted too. 3D made some of dancers in close up look scary and snake-like. And I couldn’t really concentrate on the moves. Total waste of time and money in my opinion. Rent it if you do want to see it.

      • Samantha

        AGREE!!!!!!!!!!! 3D was a bad move.

  • Aly

    I would have used our first introduction to the Moulin Rouge as an example. That scene is so dizzying in 2d already. Imagine being in the middle of the action, especially when Satine makes her big entrance.

    • Mandi Bierly

      You’re right. I added.

  • JMaG

    Most of the movie, I didn’t believe half the things the actors were saying with their cheesy lines etc. However the 3D definitely enhanced the movie, which as of late most of these
    “3D” movies have failed to do this. This is a great example of where it should be used.

  • Sean S.

    Agree that 3D is put to great use in this otherwise mediocre film. For me, this film is one of the three best uses of the technology since it’s revival. Hopefully, in the future, 3D will be reserved for films that warrant and benefit from it’s use. Would love to have had/seen Moulin Rouge in 3D.

  • cam

    everything other than the dancing in the film was mostly silly/dumb, but still enjoyable. but the dancing was amazing!

    I really liked moose and camille (alyson stoner) and wish they’d make a fourth more focused on them. :)

  • Kiwibee

    I like to see Flashdance in 3D. LOL

  • Jonathan F.

    2D movies can do a perfectly fine job of making you feel “in the action”

  • bubbles

    Unfortunately, all I could see was Step Up 3, since apparently my theater is not equipped for 3D!

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