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.
The series Teen Wolf—based very loosely on a comedy movie from the eighties by the same name—has had two fairly successful seasons thus far. Between the rise of stories like Twilight and TheVampire Diaries, it seems to be riding on the success of its predecessors. At the very least it started out that way, before moving on to become its own story. And one of its goals was clearly to be as far away from Twilight as humanly possible. Of course there’s still the shitty romance, but unlike Bella and Edward, Scott and Allison—our new star-crossed lovers—are surprisingly well-thought out characters. When they’re not together.
It is still based around the forbidden-romance trope, though, which I find annoying. Oftentimes, the forbidden romance presents itself but does little to justify the relationship. It can—and often does—involve stalking and emotional abuse and then calling that love, but usually all this trope does is show why the relationship should be forbidden in the first place before asking the audience to agree with it. Twilight, being one of the more prominent examples, is my case in point. And all the newer shows, movies, and books riding on its success like to copy that formula, mistaking the difference between stakes and an unhealthy relationship.
Fortunately, we can thank Teen Wolf for not doing that. As annoying as the love story can be, it is one of the healthier relationships I’ve seen in the forbidden-romance trope. And even though Teen Wolf is marketed toward a female audience and that’s probably the main reason the romance between Scott and Allison is played out the way it is, it is not handled the way I would expect it to be in a love story. While a relationship with Allison may be Scott’s driving motivation, it is not what’s driving the plot.
We can give Teen Wolf credit in that it doesn’t forget to tell a story in light of the romance.