Salim Akil’s 2012 Movie: *Sparkle*

Sparkle – It’s no High School Musical or extended version of Glee.

No. Even those labels would be an insult to what the movie Sparkle really is.

Here you will see that on Friday, August 18th 2012; a day after the movie was released, I had my online purchased ticket and was ready to jet!

Basic Information:

Directed by:

Salim Akil

Produced by:

Debra Martin ChaseTD Jakes|  Whitney HoustonCurtis WallaceSalim AkilMara|  Brock Akil

Written by:

Mara Brock Akil| Howard Rosenman

Based on Sparkle by:

Joel SchumacherHoward Rosenman

Starring:
Jordin Sparks – Main Character (Sparkle Anderson)
Whitney Houston – Mother (Emma)
Derek Luke – Music Entrepreneur, Sparkle’s Boyfriend, Levi’s Cousin (Stix)
Mike Epps – Comedian (Satin Struthers)
Carmen Ejogo : Sister (Tammy Anderson, Sister)
Tika Sumpter – Dee (Delores Anderson)
Omari Hardwick – Stix’s Cousin, Tammy’s “Sister” ‘s Boyfriend (Levi)
Cee Lo Green – Local Singer (Black)

Music by:

R. KellyCurtis MayfieldKier LehmanAndré DeJuan

Studio: 

Stage 6 Films

Release date(s) :

August 17, 2012

Running/Duration time:

116 minutes – 1hr & 58 minutes; 2hrs.

Rated:

PG-13 for mature thematic content involving domestic abuse and drug material, and for some violence, language and smoking.

Movie Categories/Genre(s) –

Drama| Music| Romance|

The Movie:

Overview: 

This 1976 film remake is set in the 1960’s, where three stunning and independent sisters try their luck at celebrity in a singing group. Their first of many hurdles however, is sneaking out of their mother’s house. As heavily publicized, the late great, Whitney Houston shines a new light on the role as the no nonsense mother in her final on screen performance. And named to play the role of Sparkle, is Jordan Sparks, the Season 6 American Idol winner. Pinpointing her debut role as an actress but, revisits being the last one standing in the movie, when her group is significantly narrowed down after being forced to face their priorities.

Sparkle glitters the road to becoming a star, among getting signed to major record labels like Columbia Records, with the excitement of living one’s dreams. The camaraderie of sisterhood, the hushed crowd creating a trembling silence while taking in the groups first performed notes, the background tension of their manager getting them on stage by the “skin of his teeth” and the art form that is created before your eyes as the girls discover vigorous appreciation, gives Sparkle it’s charm and luster.

Originality:

Justifiably and quite honestly, I’ve yet to see the 1976 film version of Sparkle and therefore will decline my opportunity to be an ultracrepidarian. Thus, I turn to a more knowledgeable source: Amber Anderson of the Huff Post who says:

Many of the updates made to this remake gave it female empowering layers. Naturally, the look of the film overall was enhanced by a bigger budget and, with modern technology being where it is today, in terms of things like lighting, camera capabilities and angles. But, the remake has a lineup of new choices that also enhanced it. Some of the particular spotlights, include:

The Mother (Effie vs. Emma)

1967: Mary Alice

The previous mother played, by Mary Alice, portrayed the role as a much softer and less confrontational figure, who’s humble lifestyle of a maid and nanny effected her daughters as an example of how not to live. And, although she loved them, it unfortunately paled in comparison to the time and attention she was able to give the families she worked for.

2012: Whitney Houston

Whitney’s role was that of the strict mom who wanted better for her daughters than to relive her stardom chasing past, that she found taxing and unforgiving.

Sparkle


1976: Irene Cara

Sparkle’s counterpart prominent talent was only singing and snuck around to hotels with her boyfriend, Stix.

2012: Jordin Sparks

Sparkle dazzles the big screen as multi- talented singer, pianist and song writer, who’s essentially an all around good girl.

Sister: Lonette McKee vs. Carmen Ejogo

Dee/Delores: Dwan Smith vs. Tika Sumptor

1976 vs 2012: Both sisters, Sister and Delores, have much more positive developments in their lives than the original characters that they portrayed in this year’s rendition of the movie.

Satin Struthers: Tony King vs. Mike Epps

1976 vs. 2012: Satin, the bad boy of the film’s charter, was given deeper roots defining what provoked his violent temper against Sister. Where previously, Satin’s role hadn’t even offered the decency of an explanation for what triggered his domestic violence and Sister never fought back.

Levi: Dorian Harewood vs. Omari Hardwick

Stix: Philip Michel Thomas vs. Derek Luke
1976 vs 2012: Stix and Levi, also had much more positive outcomes than previously.

1976 vs 2012: Sparkle 2012 didn’t focus on the inevitable hurdle sexism and racism would have added to a female group of color’s journey to achieve stardom. But, this too added to the creation of a more empowering film, plus they switched the goal of being an opening act for Ray Charles to open for the Diva, Aretha Franklin.

Believability: 

Keeping in mind that I am a music fanatic and after seeing the movie went and bought several tracks off of the album, I will tell you that each song in the movie, you will FEEL, but that doesn’t subtract from the ability of believability within the entire movie itself.

Houston’s role as a strict and struggling mother is something I know she’s mastered over the years. I admire her triple threat and star quality performance she brings to the screen. She not only knocks out her version of “His Eye is On the Sparrow,” but she stays true to her roots as a songstress and a good mother from beginning to end. At the end of the day, to hear a legend of her caliber perform with even a percentage of her full capacity of talent, is still better than most and it still felt like a privileged experience.

Sister, played by Carmen Ejogo, stole the show in this film. Her performance was captivating with her beauty, dominating confidence, edgy boldness, charm and spunk. She shook fear’s hand with wide eyes and introduced herself to a being she’d never met before. And, her sheer enjoyment of playing the role of a musical entertainer came through the screen.

Although Jordan Spark’s performance was a little shaky and safe at times, I think she did a commendable job for her first, huge, featured role.  There are part in the movie that are terribly noticeable of her inexperience as an actress, but she makes up for it as the movie’s plot builds.  Sparkle genuinely shined brightest in her singing performances where she seemed to be most comfortable and really came alive.

Tika Sumpter, as Delores, the middle sister, did, at times feel like the odd character. Perhaps it was due to the fact that she wasn’t entirely looking for fame as her sisters were; it felt as if she had her own story. Nevertheless, she gave her part the feisty and sophistication spark it needed. Doing an impressive job at holding down a strong and solid performance amongst the big named cast.

Satin or Mike Epps, showed his deep roots as an actor who can portray more than just the funny or cowardly man. He was superb in stirring up the scene. And, the reliable performances of very attractive Omari Hardwick, as Levi and Derek Luke, as Stix, are always official. I was constantly watching and waiting to see their skills blaze throughout the movie.

Overall:

I would pay again to have the Sparkle experience once more in a movie-theater! When the movie comes out on DVD I will be purchasing it and watching it on long road-trips. If remaining in the theater after you’ve watched the movie just to watch it again, wasn’t illegal and/or wrong, I would have sat there and waited for it to play again!
My grandmother, as cost-sensitive as she may be even said she would pay to see it again.
If you don’t fall in love with the music, as dynamic and moving as it is, you’ll at the very least be infatuated with the story-line; a little drama, romance, and action.

Need a little bit of glitz-glam-and-Sparkle in your life?

Well you’ve found the movie that’ll do just the trick.

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