All you have to do is Dream

Saturday, December 30, 2006

This is my much anticipated Dreamgirls post (anticipated by me at least). I was torn about calling it "Stepping to the bad side"  or "All you have to do is dream", the movie's official tagline. I chose the former, because seeing a film version of this fantastic musical is really a dream come true. Pun intended, hehe.

Well, as is usual on Christmas Day, my family (my parents are visiting Seattle) went to the movies to see a brand new movie (and probable Oscar hopeful). We went a little later than usual and there was a whole lotta people. Who knew so many folks skipped Christmas dinner? Anyways, the movie I dragged everyone to see was Dreamgirls. I've been waiting for this flick for over a year and I was more than a little excited (and fearful, after Phantom you just never know how these things will turn out).

Let me first clear up a few points I wan to say about the movies. Beyonce is just ravishing. I mean this girl is ridiculously beautiful. She's a knockout as Deena Jones, from the beginning as a poor and innocent teenager up to when she's a glamorous star. And she an sing and dance fabulously. Wow. Nuff said. Her acting probably could be better, but I think she did an OK job. She is a huge name and I think casting her in this role was not a mistake.

I also have to confess I worship Anika Noni Rose (Lorelle). She won a Tony award for playing the daughter in Caroline or Change, one of my favorite musicals of the last few years. She plays Lorelle, the most underdeveloped of the three principal Dreamgirls, bur she still manages to steal a few scenes here and there.

The real revelation here is Jennifer Hudson. She has a very powerful voice and she makes every moment of hers on screen exciting. She's a force of nature which makes "And I am telling you" a crowd pleaser, even if the scene isn't very spectacularly filmed. At the theater I saw it in, people actually applauded at the end of this's number, it was wild. There is already Oscar buzz going around and the smart money is on her. Eddie Murphy is also wonderful in his role as a "Little Richard" wannabe, and him and Ms. Hudson provide the comic heights and most heartbreaking moments of the film. I hope they both take home Oscars.

Now about the film. The truth, I thought it started out ok, got better, then it didn't finish very well. What used to be the second act of the musical makes for a somewhat sluggish and ultimately unsatisfying second half to the movie. It gains so much energy particularly after "And I am telling you", it's a shame it goes to waste by spinning off so many storylines and unnecessary scenes and dialogue that just don't wrap up the story in a tight and convincing way. The actual final scene is actually pretty crappy in my opinion. The final musical number is great, but the whole idea at the end is not well executed. A shame really, it's mostly and entertaining film.

I know my opinion is skewered here, I couldn't help but compare the adapted screenplay to the original musical libretto. Still, I think some of the choices made for it's translation to the screen could have been better conceived. All in all, it is a fun movie, and seeing Ms. Hudson and Eddie Murphy is well worth the price of admission. Enjoy!

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