Six months ago, the world was mourning the loss of one of music’s brightest stars. Now it’s time to see if Whitney Houston’s last project truly does “sparkle.” “Sparkle” opens in theaters Friday.
Six months ago, the world was mourning the loss of one of music’s brightest stars. Now it’s time to see if Whitney Houston’s last project truly does “sparkle.”
“Sparkle” opens in theaters Friday.
Houston’s death came as production for the film was winding down. It was said to be her “comeback.”
“Sparkle” brought Houston together with Jordin Sparks, winner of “American Idol” Season 6. In the movie, Sparks plays Houston’s daughter, Sparkle Williams. The two stars seemed perfectly matched in the remake of the 1976 film.
“Sparkle” marks Sparks’ film debut, whereas Houston had already struck massive success with “The Preacher’s Wife” (1996), “Waiting To Exhale" (1995) and the blockbuster “The Bodyguard” (1992).
Houston was a natural on the big screen. Her role as Rachel Marron opposite Kevin Costner ("The Bodyguard") was brilliant. No other woman at the time could have played that part any better.
Houston had been a driving force behind the production of “Sparkle” since she had acquired the remake rights in 2000. Aliyah was originally who Houston had in mind to play the role of Sparkle, but plans were put on the back table after the singer was killed in a 2001 plane crash.
Sparks was a good choice for the lead role. Irene Cara had the role in the original. Both have spectacular voices.
Set in 1960s Motown, the film depicts a young woman (Sparks) from Detroit and her two sisters (Carmen Ejogo and Tika Sumpter), who form a girl group. Family issues, success and relationships plague Sparkle’s attempts at fame, but perseverance and inner strength keep her moving forward.
It sounds a lot like “Dreamgirls” to me. Both have been said to be loosely based on The Supremes. I don’t know how I would feel about that if I were Diana Ross, though.
As for the music of “Sparkle,” I’m not quite on board yet. Here you have incredible singers, but I’m not so sure the music is as good as it should be. That’s a major difference from “Dreamgirls” — those songs just seemed to resonate. Jennifer Hudson became a phenomenon singing Effie’s “And I’m Telling You.”
Sparks does good with Ejogo and Sumpter on “Something He Can Feel,” but it’s no En Vogue, which took that song to new heights in the ‘90s.
Sparks does stand out when she sings solo, especially the tracks “One Wing” and “Look Into Your Heart.” This was the girl we all fell in love with on “American Idol.”
As for Houston, she soars on “His Eye Is On The Sparrow.” It’s a beautiful touch to a film that meant so much to her. I truly believe she felt her star would sparkle again. Truth is, it never stopped.
David T. Farr is a Sturgis Journal (Mich.) correspondent. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find The Farr Side on Facebook.