The revival of the 1976 film, Sparkle, which starred Irene Cara and Lonette McKee gets an update with the Sparkle 2012 version; loosely based on the Supremes. The movie follows the rough lives and careers of singer Sparkle, which introduces Jordin Sparks as an actress; and her sisters, played by Carmen Ejogo and Tika Sumpter. Having moved from Harlem to Detroit in 1968, Sparkle is vibrant and tries to illustrate the looks and styles associated with the time.
What makes this version different from the 1976 one is the redo of mother Emma, played by Whitney Houston. The scriptwriters seemingly reinvent the wheel by creating a saved and sanctified middle class-character, who was never able to find her glamour and elegance in the spotlight of the music industry, instead of the plain Jane domestic from the 1976 film. Houston’s character reverberates as a black cloud hanging over her daughters throughout the movie.
While Sparkle dazzles with its pizzazz and bright lights, there are some mis-shots also. The writers do not do a believable job of keeping within the sign of the times – the sets look mostly modern and there is a scantily clad mentioning of the events that occurred as well. The dialogue is punchy in parts and uses phrases that are more recent than old school.
On a positive note, Sparks and Ejogo’s performances are showstoppers; while the buzz created by Houston adds to well, the sparkle. Houston’s rendition of “His Eye Is on the Sparrow,” thumps as the heartbeat take-away from the movie and impresses despite the hoarse vocals of Houston whose final curtain call came prior to the movie’s release. The vacillation of Houston between catatonic and radiant is striking, and will undoubtedly be discussed by critics and fans alike.
Sparkle imparts a “cautionary tale” to all of us – celebrate our talents and not allow them to go to waste because as far as we know, we only get one ride on the merry go-round of life.
Sparkle 2012 receives a PARL
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