Sparkle DVD Review
You can get and give Whitney Houston’s last movie for the holidays. Read Kidzworlds DVD review of Sparkle!
By: Lynn Barker
What if you were the real star behind a singing sister act but you had to believe in your own individual talent to succeed? That’s the task for Sparkle (Jordin Sparks) in this “follow your dream” film.
Story Goes: It’s 1968 in Detroit and groups like The Supremes rule the airwaves. Shy Sparkle (Jordin Sparks) writes some hot music but hides behind her more outgoing older sisters. She sings backup with Sister (Carmen Ejogo) and Dolores (Tika Sumpter) but never feels like a star until cute agent Stix (Derek Luke) takes a shine to her and her songwriting and reps the group.
The girls’ mom Emma (Whitney Houston) is very religious and also doesn’t want her girls to relive her mistakes. She was a singer and never made the bigtime. She doesn’t support Sparkle’s dream, worries that Sister is making a bad choice in men when she hooks up with a showy and controlling music producer and Dolores just wants to make enough money to go to medical school and dump showbiz.
The trio is starting to hit big when Sister’s abusive marriage ends in tragedy. Dolores and Sparkle move out of mom’s house and finally Sparkle gets the courage to try for success as a solo singer/songwriter. Stix and Sparkle reunite in California and he encourages her to do a solo concert even when Mom probably won’t show up. Finally, Mom comes around. Will Sparkle wow them at her show? Will her dream live?
Special Features: We got the DVD which contains:
A Tribute to Whitney Houston – This is a heartfelt testimonial from almost all of the castmembers and filmmakers.. some speaking over scenes featuring Whitney. We learn: It was the right time for Whitney to play the mom. The director and screenwriter were blown away to get to work with the legend who was casual and motherly and told everyone, including Jordin Sparks, how special they were. Everyone felt that Whitney’s music was “the soundtrack of our lives”. A very touching tribute.
A Dream Come True: Bringing the Story to the Screen – Some of the same filmmakers talk about the very long journey to getting the re-imagining of the original 1970’s Sparkle film made. It was Whitney’s idea and, originally, a studio wanted Aaliyah to play Sparkle but, after her tragic death in a plane crash, the deal was off. The director explains why he set the film in 1960’s Detroit. Whitney Houston also talks about how much the film’s story meant to her. Wish there was more on-set action or behind-the-scenes tidbits but perhaps that is on the Blu-ray.
Director’s Commentary - Salim Akil’s commentary is kinda weird. He talks like a fan watching the movie. “I love Jordin’s smile” or says things about what was in his head while shooting on a particular day. He doesn’t say too much but, for a once-listen, it’s different at least.
Wrapping Up – If you enjoy the Motown 1960’s sound and love good stories about underdogs fighting for their dreams, you’ll like this film. If you are a Jordin Sparks or Whitney Houston fan, it will also entertain you. The 1960’s styles and hairdos alone are a hoot.
The extras could have been more interesting but the Whitney tribute is very touching and heartfelt. The Sparkle DVD would make a good holiday gift for the right friend or family member. DVD gets 3 stars.