It Came From the Drive In: Staying Alive
Back in 1976, Nik Cohn wrote an article called â€œTribal Rites of the New Saturday Nightâ€. The Article told of a young man who was considered the King of a Discotheque in Brooklyn called 2001 Odyssey simply by his amazing Dancing Skills.
One Year Later, a movie adaptation was made which was released as Saturday Night Fever.
The Film was a MASSIVE Success with John Travoltaâ€™s memorable performance, the rather unexpected rough story, and the soundtrack by the Bee Gees and many other Disco artists. The film has been Remembered, Parodied, and Referenced many times after the filmâ€™s release and has been recognized as a bit of a Cultural icon for the Disco Era.
(Plus I thought it was really goodâ€¦I canâ€™t believe Iâ€™m saying that about a Dancing Movie.)
So with the filmâ€™s massive popularity, itâ€™s pretty obvious that a sequel would soon follow directed by (oddly) Sylvester Stallone and it shares the title of the most popular song from the SNF soundtrack: Staying Alive.
Taking place 6 years after SNF, Tony Manero (John Travolta) lives in Manhattan as a Dance Instructor where seeks to become a part of modern dance productions on Broadway to hopefully makes his Big Break in Dancing.
I’ll get probably the biggest issue with the film immediately. This film almost completely forgets about the First Film. The Film has barely any connections to its predecessor. It has a few scenes involving Tony’s Mother and some bits of the first film are hinted at, but are never fully addressed. Plus, I think this film wasn’t necessary. SNF works as a Stand Alone film and this film didn’t really add anything to it.
The Character Tony seemed a little bit similar to how he is in SNF, mainly regarding how he interacts with women. Although, I wouldnâ€™t call that an improvement for him. In SNF, he had a moral struggle/identity crisis which was the main focus of the film and really gave a sense of this characterâ€™s personality. In this, it pretty much was a generic goal that he wanted to achieve. It didnâ€™t add anything to Tonyâ€™s personality and it makes him a bit like Kelly from the Breakinâ€™ Movies. (His dance practice outfit reminds me of her as well.)
One of the most popular things about Saturday Night Fever was the Soundtrack.
It contained at least 6 songs by the Bee Gees along with many other Disco songs and was a massive success spawning the hits â€œMore Than A Womanâ€, â€œNight Feverâ€, â€œHow Deep is Your Loveâ€ and, of course, â€œStayinâ€™ Alive.â€ Plus, itâ€™s one of my all-time favorite film soundtracks.
This film’s soundtrack on the other hand…wasnâ€™t very good.
Staying Aliveâ€™s soundtrack also had the Bee Gees in it, but the songs were not as memorable or good as SNF. Every song on here sounded like the same generic â€™80s rock music. Plus they threw in Stayinâ€™ Alive probably just because of the Title of the film. (Either that or itâ€™s reminding us of the better film.) I do have to admit, it would be very hard to top SNFâ€™s Soundtrack, so I knew that this aspect wouldnâ€™t hold up very well.
If there is one thing that both films have in common, (Aside from Travolta & the Bee Gees) they are both Dance Movies.
Whether it is on the Dance Floor of the 2001 Odyssey or on a Broadway Stage, Tony Manero gets to show off his moves for all to see, Movie viewing Audience or everyone around him in the films.
In Saturday Night Fever, You can tell that when he instantly touches the Dance Floor, all of his troubles go away as he starts to dance away through the night showing that itâ€™s pretty much his passion and itâ€™s what heâ€™s truly best at so far in his life. It really seems like he knows what heâ€™s doing since he puts a large amount of energy into his dance moves and John Travolta does a great job with it. Plus throw in the aspect of how 2001 Odyssey is treated similar to a Fantasy World, and it makes him look like heâ€™s a god of Dancing.
In Staying Alive, he doesnâ€™t have as much of the charm or the skills as he does in SNF. He mostly dances in practice sessions for a big show that he got involved in. The dancing it the film is very generic. It seems like sometime you would probably see in a High School Play. It really seems uninspired and it comes off similar to something you could see in a Step Up film or something from the Breakinâ€™ Trilogy.
FINAL THOUGHTS: To Quote Gene Siskel “This is just PG Dazzle and is just a bunch of Star Filters and Smoke.” and I agree with him. I really enjoy Saturday Night Fever, but this film takes some of its best aspects and renders it to be a very Generic film to show off some really bland Dance Scenes in 90 minutes of film. Overall, I didnâ€™t like the movie. If you want to see a Travolta dance flick, just check out SNF instead. Itâ€™s much more entertaining than this film.