I do love dancing even if So You Think You Can Dance is slowly killing all the fun in watching people dance. I saw Step Up (2006) with my friend only a few days before my grandma passed away and Step Up 2: The Streets (2008) on a Valentine's Day date with the same friend. It only made sense to go to Step Up 3D together, especially when Avatar and Alice in Wonderland are making 3D films oh so enjoyable. The first two films in this franchise were better able to combine story and dancing than Step Up 3D, which has the weakest plot and worst acting of the three films. Fortunately, it has far superior dancing that is actually enhanced by 3D. It must be difficult to find talented actors who are incredible dancers because the film's stars, Rick Malambri and Sharni Vinson, are excellent dancers but are pretty inept at relating emotions. The only actor more miscast was Joe Slaughter, whose complete lack of character awareness was frightening. Step Up will be forever linked to So You Think You Can Dance because the television show's egotistical judge Adam Shankman (director of 2007's Hairspray) at least had the bright idea to cast former contestants in featured dance roles. Step Up 3D is a useless film that is only made bearable by the visually spectacular dance sequences. The overwrought plot only hurts the film and the weak acting make the non-dance scenes practically unbearable.
Robert "Moose" Alexander III (Adam Sevani) links Step Up 2: The Streets to Step Up 3D. He has just moved to New York from Baltimore to attend New York University with his best friend Camille (Alyson Stoner, best known for being the little girl in Missy Elliott's Work It music video). Moose is leaving dance behind and plans to study engineering. During orientation he finds himself away from the group and stumbles on upon a dance battle. He meets Luke (Malambri), leader of the dance crew House of Pirates. Luke and his crew live together in a warehouse that they can no longer afford. They are hoping to win the World Jam competition and the $100 000 grand prize to keep their home. The same night Moose meets the crew (that includes SYTYCD's tWitch and Martin and Facundo Lombard as the Santiago twins) a young girl posing as a runaway (Vinson) is welcomed into the crew by Luke. No one is aware that Natalie (Vinson) is actually the sister of Luke's rival Julien (Slaughter). Moose soon begins neglecting his studies and his friendship with Camille to train with the crew. Everyone is optimistic until Luke finds out the truth about Natalie and everyone's future is jeopardized.
Unlike Step Up and Step Up 2: The Streets I feel that Step Up 3D relied too heavily on story, and this may be due to the incredibly weak acting. By the end of the film the power of the dancing was almost neutralized by the film's over-reliance on plot and cliche. There is nothing positive to say about the story, acting or dialogue whatsoever but the dancing was pretty incredible. The 3D effects were worth it but the film is hardly worth the elevated price of admission. My friend and I have agreed that Step Up should release a Good Parts Version of the three films that only includes the dancing. I was afraid that So You Think You Can Dance had dulled my appreciation of dance and that was not the case. I am just sick of the television show and I refused to watch the final episodes this week. It is great that dance is being featured in film and on television but sooner or later audiences are going to want a decent story to go along with the dancing.
My rating: 1 star out of 4 for the film, 4 stars for the dancing.