Not So Quick Thought: Sparkle

8:15 PM


Sparkle opens up with her and Sister at a club where Sparkle's trying to talk Sister into singing a song that she wrote. Sparkle is shy, and although she would love to get up on the stage herself, she can't seem to gather enough courage to do so. Sister reluctantly agree and hits the stage and turns it out in a dress that she altered  with a knife just before walking out into the crowd. After Sister's performance, the siblings rush to catch the last bus, they need to get home before their mother catches them.

I walked into the theater this morning with no expectations. I didn't want to go in thinking about the original Sparkle (which I LOVE) because I knew that by doing so, I wouldn't give this one a fair chance.  

Sparkle (Jordin Sparks)- She's an innocent. She wants to write songs, and one day get over her fear of singing on stage and become a star. Sparkle wants to be in the front, but fear holds her back. She is later talked into getting her sisters to agree to form a singing group. This, is where things begin to change for Sparkle, both personally and professionally. Jordin Sparks plays the innocent role very well, and it almost doesn't seem like she's acting, I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Some are saying that she wasn't great in this movie. Sometimes good is good enough. It has always been clear that Jordin Sparks could sing, even before she won AI. But this movie truly showed just how Dynamic this woman's voice really is. It also showed what kind of album she might want to record on her next go round.

Dolores (Tika Sumpter)- Couldn't care less about being in a group with her sisters. She's going to school to be a doctor, and that is where her focus is. It is obvious that she sings in the group out of love for her sisters, and to look out for them, since she seems to be the more level headed of the three. Tika Sumpter did a great job of playing a mad black woman, but I feel like she almost wasn't angry enough. I believe Dwan Smith still holds the award for this character.

Sister (Carmen Ejogo)- Is the star of the show, on and off stage. She's moved back home from New York, but according to her, she won't be living with her mother and sisters long. Singing? Sister doesn't care about being a singer, what she does care about is getting out. And Satin (Mike Epps) a big time comedian, is just the man to give it to her. She leaves Levi (Omari Hardwick) and his paper ring (you have to see the movie to understand this) for what she thinks is better. But Sister doesn't see that she's walking into a life that will ultimately destroy her and the life she could have had, if she weren't in such a hurry to have it.  Carmen did a great job as Sister, it's hard for me to watch anyone other Lonette McKee play this character, but it's not hard for me to give credit where it's due. In this movie, you get a larger picture of who Sister is. In the original, there wasn't a huge back story given, you were left guessing. 

Emma (Whitney Houston)- Emma wants her children to go to school, and get married. She wants them to stay as far away from music as possible. The thought of her girls ending up like her, a former singer, who fell victim to the harsh entertainment industry is terrifying, and she will do whatever she has to do to keep them away from that life. Even threatening to kick them out of her house. If you remember the original, Effie (played by actress Mary Alice) was soft spoken, and supportive of her girls, she was front row when the girls hit the stage. Well, that wasn't the case with Emma (Whitney) she raised her voice when necessary, and whispered sternly when she had too, and she knew nothing about her girls sneaking out to sing while she slept on the couch. Sadly, Whitney is playing a role that I'm sure hit pretty close to home. When her daughter Bobbi Kristina showed interest in being a singer, Whitney quickly rolled her eyes, and sighed heavily. She, just like Emma, didn't want her daughter living the life that she lived. 

Stix (Derek Luke)- His character changed the least. He managed the group, and fell in love with Sparkle. I've had a problem with Derek Luke playing Stix since it was announced that he would be doing so. Every time this man spoke in the movie, all I saw was him playing Diddy  in Notorious (we can't change the world unless we change ourselves). He was supposed to be from Kansas. However, he sounded like New York all day. Derek tried to sound like he was from Kansas towards the end of the movie, but it was too late. He'd been playing Diddy and Antwone Fisher the whole hour and a half.

Highs:
~The dinner table scene. I won't tell you what happened, but I will say, Mike Epps was funny when necessary, but the man showed that he knew when to pull it in and get serious. Is he as scary as the original Satin (Tony King)? No. But, that's ok, he was good.

~Whitney SANG the hell out of His Eye is on the Sparrow. Listen, people can say what they want about what she did, and who they thought she was as a person, but the woman still had it. In listening to her sing in this movie, you are left feeling cheated. Because there was clearly so much more to come from her. 

Lows:
~Sister's fate. It's not what you think it is. And it's the ONE thing I wish they hadn't changed.

~Fast moving. This movie moved faster than I liked because of the changes. With all of the back story given, I still felt like something was missing.

~One of my favorite lines in the original is and always will be, "sister can't fly on one wing." I don't believe that this line was placed in the right scene in the movie, but I guess we can't have everything in life. 

~The one song that didn't make it into this movie was, Giving Up. In the original Sister sang this song to a small group of people when she was at her lowest. This scene/song didn't show up in the movie.

When I first heard about the movie Sparkle being remade with Aaliyah, I immediately thought, this is not going to happen. I was hoping it wouldn't happen. I wrote about it here. Even when I heard that it was Whitney Houston who wanted to bring this film back I was still against it. All in all, the movie was good. It wasn't great, and honestly, I didn't expect it to be. Do I wish they had just let the original live? Yes. Am I mad at this attempt? No. Quite honestly, I've seen a lot worse. The scenes that moved like a flip book showing the group as they worked on making a name for themselves are very reminiscent of scenes from the movie Dreamgirls. Not a bad thing...if the movie were called Dreamgirls: Mama Please Let Me Be A Star! A critic on People.com wrote "If Dreamgirls was a diamond, Sparkle is a cubic zirconia: It feels like a cheap imitation of the real thing."  Welp!

When movies are remade, I don't go to see them thinking, or even hoping that they will be exactly like the original. But when a remake strays away from the story line, and loses some of what made the original so great, then, I find it hard to digest the new version.

I know that everyone hasn't seen the original Sparkle, and may not understand why some people were so against this remake. But think about your favorite movie, of all time, and then think about someone remaking it, and it losing some of it's greatness. It probably doesn't feel all that great. I mean, can you see someone remaking Purple Rain? Yeah, me either. 

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