‘Sparkle’ Barely Shines, But Teaches Timeless Lessons

I didn’t care for the remake of Sparkle. *insert sad face here*

I know. I can’t believe it myself. It was glossy and fresh with a new story line, a star-studded cast and even Whitney Houston lent her beautiful voice to scene (of course, I cried a little.). All of that, and I still wasn’t impressed. There was a little shine, but not enough sparkle for me.

I should tell you first that Sparkle is one of my favorite movies. It’s another that my mama made me watch as a child (look at the others at Ebony.com). I’m in love in with eras of the past and how we looked and lived in them. Lonette McKee as Sister, to me, was the real star of the movie even though Irene Cara as Sparkle, the film’s namesake, was the one who struggled to keep her dreams alive while falling in love for the first time and nurturing a “sick” sister.

Salim Akil’s Sparkle was stripped, too clean and lacked that “vintage” feeling, despite the costumes and sets reminiscent of old Detroit. I didn’t see the dirty pain that Sister went through with Satin Struthers in the original. Mike Epps is a great actor, but not believable as a villain. I couldn’t really follow the story either. I couldn’t figure out if seeing the original or not seeing it would have made the adaptation better. It was set in the 1960s, but for a while, it seemed to be set in today’s time. Overall, the original premise was there, but there was a completely different twist to each character.

Here’s what I liked: Jordin Sparks was excellent! We need more music from her, and she should totally consider acting as another gig. Derek Luke really embodied Stix. He has a great ability to act in these encouraging “You can do it” roles opposite women. The ladies’ clothes were gorgeous, but the choreography? Eh. I’m probably being petty though.

Here’s where I went wrong though. I didn’t do my homework on the adaptation first, so I went in expecting the original movie. All I saw were three ladies in pretty dresses singing those old Aretha Franklin songs I loved so much, so everything else from the original movie should have been there, too. Not true. Had I read early reviews or even visited the website, I would’ve known that T.D. Jakes produced the film. He’s done some great movies (Jumping the Broom, Not Easily Broken) that address relevant issues in relationships, from infidelity to guilt, but with a Christian spin, without hitting you over the head with it.

Taking that into consideration, there were several themes in the movie that now, I can see: forgiveness, faith, love and using your gifts for good. If Sparkle doesn’t do anything else for you, it will teach a lesson about following your dreams, even if you have to go against those you love. Faith in your gift to succeed is really faith in God, and that’s what matters.

Go see it if you need something to do for leisure. As long as you let the original Sparkle concept go, you’ll be fine.



3 thoughts on “‘Sparkle’ Barely Shines, But Teaches Timeless Lessons

  1. I can see your point Lisha, but I really like the remake of Sparkle!! I did the opposite and watched the remake first and saw the original the next day on BET and was totally confused. I liked the original but I felt it to be a little disjointed. I was trying not to be biased in that I liked the remake a lot, but it was evident that with the same title, they were two different films. You were so right that the original was very dark and grimy…hell I was sad most of the movie. All that said, I will most definitely have Drew watch both versions when she is of age!

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