Wednesday 1 August 2012

Best Opening Musical Scenes!

Recently heralded as showcasing the world’s biggest flash mob in the opening sequence of a movie, STEP UP 4: MIAMI HEAT is quintessentially 2012: dub-step, iPads, and a rebellious mob spirit. It also makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck, as ferocious choreography binds with bouncing low-riders and optically illusive street art to create an intoxicating mix. The opening sequence is an a clear pace-setter for the movie, which impressively manages to keep up that pace and then some for the duration.

STEP UP 4: MIAMI HEAT is the next, must-see instalment in the worldwide smash STEP UP franchise, which sets the dancing against the vibrant backdrop of Miami.

Emily (Kathryn McCormick) arrives in Miami with aspirations of becoming a professional dancer and soon falls in love with Sean (Ryan Guzman), a young man who leads a dance crew in elaborate, cutting-edge flash mobs, called “The Mob.”

When a wealthy business man threatens to develop The Mob's historic neighbourhood and displace thousands of people, Emily must band together with Sean and The Mob to turn their performance art into protest art, and risk losing their dreams to fight for a greater cause.

Don't miss it in cinemas next Friday, 10th August! In light of the amazing opening  of Step Up 4 we look at other amazing musical opening sequences:

West Side Story
‘Click, click, click, click...’ Who can forget the prologue to West Side Story? Never has gang violence been so elegant and expressively choreographed. A simmering tension between gang rivals, the Jets and the Sharks builds to a crescendo amid pas de deux, plie, and furious jazz hands, making for one of the most bizarrely accurate depictions of inner-city turf war of its time. As relevant today as it was over four decades ago, West Side Story tells a tale of territorial human nature that’s perfectly summed-up in this opening routine.

Austin Powers
Two questions you’re left with after a first viewing of Austin Powers’ opening sequence: who is this bespectacled, toothy English man, and why do all these 60s ladies love him so? And it’s these questions that form the crux of Mike Myers’ comedy in this uber-successful, late-90s franchise. Like everything else about Austin, his dance skills appear to be improvised and rough but somehow manage to look oh-so-cool at the same time. A particularly apt moment has him running around one corner to escape a gaggle of groupies, only to appear seconds later leading a marching band – classic.

Do The Right Thing
Spike Lee’s heated movie of simmering racial tension in Brooklyn that boils over on a hot, summer’s day isn’t only significant for its social and political message; it also features the big-screen debut of Rosie Perez. She’d later go on to a role in 21 Jump Street, and more recently feature in movies such as The Take, but at this genesis of her career she busted moves to ‘Fight The Power’ by Public Enemy as Do The Right Thing’s opening credits rolled out. Mixing up through swift cuts and a series of costumes – from boxer to clubber, and even aerobics instructor – Perez’s routine perfectly depicts the angry and riotous tone of the movie.

What could be better than silhouettes of Jonah Hill and Michael Cera doing their very best to dance along with funk music? All set to the backdrop of a stylish 70s colour scheme, with all its corduroy browns and mustard yellows, the pair actually don’t look half bad at this stage in the game; perhaps even slightly cool, dare we say it – kind of like the Lynx Dancing Man ad of yesteryear. Of course, it only takes two sentences of dialogue into the movie to realise that these guys are anything but cool – easy come, easy go.

South Park : Bigger Longer And Uncut
You might not expect the limited animation of Stan, Cartman, Kyle and Kenny to be expert dancers, but none other than Sweeny Todd and West Side Story composer Stephen Sondheim described South Park's big screen outing as one of the best musicals of the last fifteen years! The opening ditty 'Mountain Town' is both a sublime parody of Disney musical numbers and perfectly sets the tone for the ensuing mayhem.

The Lion King
Arguably the greatest Disney since Uncle Walt passed away, The Lion King opens with a sweeping sequences of the savannah plane, to strains of the classic Circle Of Life. One of the most iconic songs in the entire Disney library it was written by Elton John and Tim Rice, and was nominated for the Best Original Song Oscar, along with three other tracks from the soundtrack.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Be honest: you weren’t expecting this film to be included in a list of memorable dance intros, were you? It’s a bit like having a gory horror scene as the intro for a rom-com, or a comedy skit at the start of a war film, and yet here it is in all of its ever-so-slightly surreal glory. In the scene, Dr. Jones’ love interest for the duration, Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw) sings a seductive number as part of a cabaret act in a Shanghai night club. The accompanying music is a title track from the 1934 musical ‘Anything Goes’, which Willie sings in Mandarin, framing the movie’s mysterious  opening act perfectly and providing a few key takeaways about her character at the same time.

Step Up 4: Miami Heat
Bouncing low-rider's. Pounding beats. The world's best street dancers strutting their stuff on Miami's stunning Ocean Drive. Everything you want from a Step Up movie, all in cracking 3D.

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