I have to admit an addiction for dance films, they can look pathetically bad I'll have to resist not to see them!
I really don't care about the weak script and the stupid excuse of a social plot.
Why? Oh why? would you ask. I have a very simple answer: the body doesn't lie, the acting can be awful, the 20 minutes(or more like in this one) of good choregraphy would make you dance in the streets, it's like the film is talking to my guts more than to my unconscious.
So why the dance films are so bad, I wondered!
I came to make a comparison with films about boxe which are mainly good (and that I also adore!(the body doesn't lie)). Boxe is a very dramatic sport, it's theatrical by essence because of a very simple opposition, which fills the necessity of a goal and an obstacle present in any fiction, while dance is unilateral so there is no other obstacle than the inner one of beleiving in oneself(oops that's also probably another reason that makes me like dance movies)which mean that it is more difficult to make it visual while the oppostion in the noble art is obvious!So a good dance film needs the best scriptwriters on earth,and most of the time they're rather cheap productions. I remind you that I am not talking about musicals which have very important budgets! Billy Elliot was pretty good though
Ok let's stop talking in general terms: step up II has the most amazing choreographies that I have seen in films for a long time, it's fantastically dramatized in the urban landscape. the script is pretty classic( slightly boring and expected) for those genre movies.
So the beauty of the dancing helped me forget about the vacuity of some of the characters, especially the popular boy meant to become the protagonist's love interest! First he's too old for her( a 35 guy playing an early twenties guy!!), then he's ugly , and looks like a guy escaped from a boys band(I can't stand those adults dressed like twelve years old)! I would also have loved a less manichean script. Classical dancing is the enemy (where in Save the last dance a good marriage was created between those two types of body expression!). The film is completely oriented in hip hop culture which isn't mine, though I am fascinated by it, especially the street art, breakdance and djing, but can't stand the attitude and aggressivity that goes with! I watched this film in a cinema filled with rappers related girls and boys who never stopped chatting and didn't shut their phone while eating pop corn ! Anyway I was struck in awe by the last scene under the rain which became like a giant collective heart beat, and I wondered why is it so catharsitic and cinematographic to dance under the rain!Water is emotion and makes a wonderful sound , it's like nature is doing tapdance on the concrete of our cities! I thought about Shaara and zatoichi, two Japanese movies that release the energy positive, or negative thrown in the film by collective dance and tap dance under the rain, and of course of singin in the rain!In Step up II I adore how all the characters are kind of erased by the dancing and they just become figures, how they lose personlity and how the camera doesn't focus at all on some kind of dramatised subjectivised dancing where you see their fears and how they could fail, no you just see something unexpected and absolutely perfect and magic and that's what showbusiness is about, at the end you're on stage and you forget everything to become this character or this movement, you tend to perfection and need at one point to loose your humanity to become something bigger, that link all of us to paganity, transe, to express, to deliver a speech that only the body can let go, and that only the body can understand, the heartbeat, the pure essence of living and being alive!