One of the best studio-produced dance films in recent history

A review of Step Up 2: The Streets by my friend Kat Green, a filmmaker whose opinion I trust.

StepUp2_the_streets.jpg
Still: copyright Touchstone Pictures 2008


Step Up 2: The Streets – One of the best studio-produced dance films in recent history

by Kat Green
February 19, 2008

I know.  I know exactly how ridiculous this sounds.  But I’m completely serious.  The storyline is totally forgettable, but the movie is packed with awesome dancing, shot with an amazing understanding of camera movement, beautifully lit, playful with things like frame rate without being too heavy handed with it, and cut in such a way that it is fast paced, but doesn’t let you miss any of the important aspects of the dance.

For some reason, there was a weird cross section of people in the theater this afternoon, kids, nannys, girls my age, and then a few random older men by themselves.  By the end of the film, everyone was cheering and clapping.  Simple proof that nobody can resist a well done dance-off in the rain!!!

I did a little research into who shot and cut it.  It’s the cinematographer, Max Malkin’s second or third film, but the editor, Andrew Marcus, has a lot of experience doing really creative stuff (Hedwig, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and weirdly, a bunch of Ivory Merchant movies).  Anyways, my guess is that the result is the combo of good camera instincts from somebody younger that understands the dancing better, and a really capable editor that has good pacing, but isn’t completely ADD.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Step Up 2 should be required viewing for anybody interested in the development of dance on film.  It uses classic techniques, but also incorporates new ideas without the dance-sacrificing clumsiness that is usually involved in trying to cut the standard urban teen dance film for modern pacing.

Click here to see clips from the movie on the New York Times’ website.

Here’s the trailer of Step Up 2: The Streets

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