So I got to see the two first episodes of the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers today on Hulu. Announced in December of last year, the "LXD" has been billed by director John Chu as the world's "first online dance adventure." Finally today we got to see what the heck Chu has been talking about, and it doesn't disappoint.
The plots are fairly simple but effective — high school boy pines for the popular girl, two friends discover a secret warehouse. The acting is fine, propelling the plot, and giving more weight to the dancing. I've long felt that the director of a dance movie typically has to pick between a dancer who can't act or an actor who can't dance. Chu seems to have done a good job prepping his dancers to fulfill their acting duties adequately.
As expected, the dance scenes in the two episodes are amazing,
featuring b-boy Luigi and martial artists / traceurs
Travis Wong and Jeremy Marinez.
The b-boy scene in Episode One is just perfect. Having the b-boys dance in black suits and back-lighting them changes the whole feel of what they are doing, giving it an elegance and a grace that b-boying often lacks. It's a fantasy dance sequence that every wannabe dance star has dreamed of doing at their prom, including pwning that cocky bastard that was with that girl you were in love with.
The martial arts / parkour scene in Episode Two was more conventionally staged. What Travis and Jeremy do with their bodies does completely defy gravity, as promised in the plot. For sure, they have super-powers that Chu captures perfectly in the simple scene.
I'm still not sure how the larger plot of various super-powered dancers being assembled by the LXD and presumably their upcoming battle with some evil dance force is going to play out. Making a dance battle into some sort of epic struggle will be hard to do without seeming completely melodramatic and sentimental.
But I really enjoyed these first two installments, and can't wait to see what is coming next.