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TooMuchFlavour » Featured, Reviews » Street Dance 3D review – the reprise

Street Dance 3D review – the reprise

It’s incredible that it’s now been almost two years since Street Dance 3D was released in cinemas. With George Sampson, Flawless and Diversity as headline acts fresh off Britain’s Got Talent it’s also been two years since attitudes changed towards dance acts taking the quick route to fame on TV talent programmes – because these days everyone does it.

Back then Too Much Flavour also had a different editorial attitude towards street dance as the current UK dance scene began to transition into the mainstream, keeping in mind that Street Dance 3D being a UK film would also be responsible for the rest of the nation to decide they too were street dancers and they too would set up their own companies, crews and classes.

Update: Read a review of Street Dance 2 3D!

Some attitudes may never change when it comes to respecting how it was before the media took notice of UK street dance, and accepting how things were going to be in the future (today), which is why you can read below in a revised version of our Street Dance 3D review from our old site (see here to view it with the original site layout) from two years ago…

Street Dance 3D review – from Too Much Flavour, May 2010

Every so often a trend comes along that’s so big a film has to be made to cash in on. Is Streetdance 3D worth the money? Discuss on our blog.

Streetdance 3D is a first. It’s the first dance film to be shot entirely in 3D beating Step Up 3D to the box office, have a worldwide release and features a cast of genuine street dancers.

Carly (Nichola Burley), a dancer working part time as a sandwich maker, is in love with her boyfriend Jay (Ukweli Roach), while her dance crew has qualified for the UK Street Dance Championships. But everything is thrown into turmoil when Jay decides he’s leaving the crew to focus on other aspects in his life, leaving inexperienced Carly to run things. With no team leader and nowhere to train, she’s left in jeopardy.

One day, when Eddie (George Sampson) is late for work she’s left to deliver sandwiches herself, ending up in the unlikely presence of Helena (Charlotte Rampling), head teacher at the Ballet Academy, after dropping off her latest consignment of sandwiches who agrees to let Carly use her dance facilities for free – only on the condition that her unmotivated ballet dancers can join them.

Predictably, tying in with the movie’s strapline, their ‘two worlds collide,’ taking a little bit of everything that’s worked in past dance films and giving it a London accent and a sparse sprinkling of humour.

The producers are venturing into uncharted waters by doing a British dance film and because of this you get the impression that certain sacrifices were made. Namely, character development and plot complexity in order to make way for a chart friendly soundtrack.

This is a glossy film: There are gurning smiles, group hug moments, served with a use of language that never quite rings true. The over use of “We’re a streetdance crew” “Me and my streetdance crew” and the general overuse of “streetdance” as a buzzword is repetitive as it is annoying, it almost seems as though we are being given “streetdance 101” and yet somehow misses the real authenticity of the world it tries to portray.
It’s not just the glorious colours on screen that makes it glossy, but the costume too. They’ve done a good job in styling, getting the right flavour of swagger over the cheesey portrayals of leg warmers and leotards that so often crop up when the notion of dance hits the big screen.

The most frustrating ‘gloss’ for many will be the casting of Nichola Burley as main character. Whilst easy on the eye, the role is insubstantial; her Northern accent contrasts too much with the rest of the cast, and with no back-story to the character it simply feels as though the producers conceded to making it less London and more UK audience friendly by casting a northern lass to to give it nationwide appeal. It doesn’t work. It’s like an English character in an American film – forced and inauthentic. Burley’s expressions grate too – whilst London dancers will understand the familiar front and screw faces dancers put up when confronting their rivals, audiences are left with Burley’s sneering upper lip in place of a mean mug.

It’s also a shame more lines weren’t given to our own dancers. We don’t really get to know much about their characters at all. Brooke (Brooke Milliner, one of the few dancers in the film to use their real name, along with Lil Steph) is one of the core members of Carly’s dance crew, and has two lines in the whole film. While the camera centres on him throughout, you’re expecting him to say something before one of the lead characters cuts him short.

The producers also did a good job of recruiting the best UK choreographers. Kenrick Sandy of Boy Blue Entertainment and Kate Prince of ZooNation are responsible for most of the routines on screen, Will Tuckett for the ballet. There are no two step routines, but properly thought out dance sets. If you’re scrutinising it as closely as we were you can try and spot who choreographed which routine. Kenrick’s choreography is the easiest to recognise, although some of the choreography style doesn’t translate equally amongst some of the dancer’s abilities.

Flawless, who did their own choreography, danced consistently as it was their own style.

Thanks to the films pro-UK music approach to the soundtrack, many of the routines feel like they’ve had to concede genuine street routines to watered down pop promos to match the music provided. Aside from Mikey J, composer for Boy Blue Entertainment, nobody else on the soundtrack were specifically dance routine composers. Had a couple of familiar dance tracks that aren’t on the soundtrack CD been licensed then at least the on screen action would hold some weight instead of counting against it – Pixie Lott – not your typical street dance song. A shirtless routine montage from Richard Winsor would have genuinely been breath-taking in its mixture of capoeira, contemporary and breaking were it not for an N-Dubz song playing over it.

The soundtrack also provides backing to the montages – a staple part of every dance film, but here, a little over done. I counted 10 in total, but they added precious little to the narrative, leaving sizeable gaps in the storyline to speed through their improvement process.

For those attracted to the film to watch the headline appearances will find they’re only advertised to make it more appealing, cast because they’re the hot groups at the minute. Diversity have just a minor cameo. George Sampson‘s character was written in to provide appeal for its teenage market. Akai was a last minute cameo filmed after the wrap and Flawless as the Surge are cast as mute anti heroes.

People new to street dance may well feel disappointed in this movie. Driven by its soundtrack, flaky script and patchy cameos, it might be 3D, but there’s no depth to it. The visuals have depth. The story does not. Don’t get carried away in the hype, you’ll be asking too many questions afterwards.

Now read a review of the Street Dance 3D DVD!

Streetdance 3D cast

Who plays who in Streetdance 3D?

Main cast/supporting dancers:
Carly – Nichola Burley
Tomas – Richard Winsor
Jay – Ukweli Roach
Fred – Frank Harper
Aaron – Ashley Banjo
Eddie – George Sampson
Helena – Charlotte Rampling
Madame Fleurie – Eleanor Bron
Mr Harding – Patrick Baladi
Shawna – Teneisha Bonner
Boogie – Lex Milczarek
Mack – Kofi Agyemang-Prempeh
Gabe – Hugo Cortes
Chloe – Sianad Gregory
Bex – Jennifer Leung
Isabella – Rachel McDowall
Justine – Rhimes Lecointe
Aimee – Sacha Chang
Frankie – Bradley Charles
Steph – Stef ‘Lil Stef’ Nguyen
Brooke – Brooke Milliner
Michael – Jeremy Sheffield
Dancing Kid in Shopping Mall – Akai Osei-Mansfield

Aaron’s Crew (Diversity):
Jordan Banjo
Ian McNaughton
Jamie McNaughton
Matthew McNaughton
Mitchell Craske
Sam Craske
Warren Russell
Terry Smith
Ike Ezekwugo
Perri Kiely

The Surge (Flawless Entertainment):
Marlon Wallen
Anthony Duncan
Nathan Kabongo
Paul Samuels
Allan Kabeja
Christian Alozie
Leroy Dias Dos Santos
Simon Smith
Paul Steadman
Nathan Gordon

Finalist Crews / Dancers:
Karizma
Peridot
Status
Juke Box Juniors
Persuasive

Finale Supergroup
Duwane Taylor
Minica Beason
Calvin Francis
Jasmine Cox
Jonathan Hart
Jade Hackett
Carrie-Anne Ingrouille
Jeffrey Felicisimo
Sarah Richards
Jasmin Saulo
Choreographers
Kenrick Sandy (Boy Blue)
Kate Prince (Zoonation)
Will Tuckett

Judges:
Mark Pembroke
Paulette Minott
Simeon Qsyea

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