I don’t know what it is, but for some reason I got the overwhelming urge to roll my eyes when I first saw the preview for Battle of the Year.
Part of my exasperation definitely comes from a seeming lack of originality. Going by the trailer, it seems the creators decided to place the script for Step Up into a blender with Miracle and Remember the Titans, then poured the contents into a Mighty Ducks mold in order to make this film. I mean, I don’t think I need to see this movie to give an effective rundown of the plot:
- The best of the best (with egos to match) are assembled
- Washed up, failed, or otherwise unlikely coach is assigned charge of the team (because after gathering the best of the best, it makes sense to have the worst of the worst lead them, obviously)
- Said coach is a real hard ass and the team hates him
- The “team” is comprised of hotheaded individuals working toward their own glory rather than being a unified group
- Through hard work and time together, everyone learns respect and trust to make a true team
- The climactic event comes: Team performs with more heart than anyone and wins in one way or another. If they don’t actually take the title they’ll still learn their lessons and grow as people, like in Bring it On, or they’ll be the crowd favorite, like in Cool Runnings.
Really though, I don’t mind formulaic movies all that much. They can still be good and I’m sure none of the movies I used to illustrate my points were the first to employ these plot elements. So what is rubbing me so wrong about Battle of the Year, then? I think it’s the way dance itself seems to be treated.
On the one hand, I like that dance is shown to be exciting and challenging. Too often for my tastes, the performing arts are treated as frivolous and boring in movies, so I’m happy to see that’s not the case here. I’m also glad that dancing isn’t shown as something men should be ashamed of participating in, but in this packaging, I think something has gone amiss.
This movie seems to be all about the competition of dance and not about its creative roots. These men aren’t exploring dance as an art form, they’re making it into yet another show of ego and superiority. Men apparently don’t dance to do something creative; they dance to show how much better they are than each other. The fact that the choreographer in the preview is a woman shows that the creative aspect of dance is still a woman’s domain, and the men are merely the athletic performers who put on the show.
Also, as MadameAce pointed out, the movie also stars one of the most famous domestic abusers of the day, Chris Brown. What’s the first thing he does when the only female character shows up? Make a sexist comment. So yeah, not a whole lot going for this flick right now.
If anyone ends up seeing this movie and I’m wrong about it, feel free to let me know, but as of right now I won’t be giving it either my time or money.