By Gordon Meyer
If you’re a fan of the current generation of hip-hop and break dancing, odds are pretty good you’ll like STEP UP 3D (aka STEP UP 3 for those watching on more traditional 2D displays). The story by Amy Andelson and Emily Meyer, is about a freshman at NYU who ostensibly is there to major in electrical engineering, but is a brilliant street dancer. His parents, of course, want him to abandon his dancing, even though it’s a passion, but “Moose” (Adam G. Savani) will have none of it, especially after he literally runs into Luke (Rick Malambri), the leader of a group of street dancers on his way to freshman orientation. Rick convinces Moose to dedicate all his non-school hours to prepping for a world class hip hop dance competition, which coincidentally, is the only way Luke can save his warehouse-based dance club from foreclosure by greedy bankers. Three guesses what the dramatic climax of the film is – and the first two don’t count.
But let’s face it. With a movie like STEP UP 3, the plot, such as it is, is merely a framework for the multiple dance pieces – which are admittedly spectacular. Not only is the dancing world class, including acrobatics worthy of Cirque du Soleil, they are really well shot by director John M. Chu with a kineticism that only adds to the already substantial energy.
Movie Rating: *** (mainly because the dance sequences are such magnificent eye candy)
The Show Off Factor
This is a movie that was clearly designed for the 3D medium. Although there are times when the use of 3D borders on gimmicky, overall Chu places and moves his camera in ways that show off the dancing and enhance the experience. The combination of music video pacing and eye popping visuals makes this a 3D Blu-ray that can make your friends drool, even if they’re not into hip hop and break dancing.
Show Off Rating *****
As has been the case with Disney’s 3D BD titles so far, the 3D and 2D versions are on separate discs with no bonus content at all on the 3D disc. The bonus features are OK, but nothing to jump up and down about if you’re looking for really good filmmaker insights. There’s the “complete” fictional documentary about street dancers that “Luke” was working on as part of the story, plus the usual collection of music videos, a “making of” short about those music video and deleted scenes.
Bonus Feature Rating: **
Overall title rating: *** ½
Viewing Platform: Custom-built personal computer powered by an AMD Phenom II X4 CPU, EVGA/NVIDIA GeForce 480 graphics adapter with 3D Vision and LG Flatron W2363D display.