It is always difficult to remake any film. This is especially true of one so iconic as the movie Sparkle. Additionally, high-rate performances by the cast in the first movie make this film difficult to reproduce. The question is, how could it be made adaptable for today without compromising the grittiness of the original story?
Surprisingly, writers Mara Brock Akil and Howard Rosenman did not stray much from the original storyline. The plot still centered around three beautiful sisters who aspired to be singers. Although set about a decade later than the first movie, the girls are still parented by a single, very religious mother. Although still quite protective, the mother in the new Sparkle is more financially stable and established. In fact, she has a nice home and makes a living as a dressmaker. Additionally, the girls lived in Detroit, the home of Motown (probably more appropo for the late ’60s) instead of Harlem. In fact, the only big change in the movie script is the fate of Sister, the lead singer of the group. For some this may be good news, while others may be disappointed that the writers did not take more liberty with the story.
Many kudos to the actors and actresses of this film. Deserving high praise are the performances of Jordin Sparks (Sparkle), Mike Epps (Satin), and the late Whitney Houston as the girls’ mother. Tika Sumpter also adds a lot to this film in her role as Dolores, the third sister. She is extremely witty, sassy, and strong. At time she clearly outshines Carmen Ejogo who plays the key role of Sister.
Although Derek Luke did a fine job as he does in every project, he did not seem the best fit as the love interest of Jordin Sparks. In truth, his age worked strongly against him, and the chemistry between the two was just not believable. Additionally, Michael Beach is less than intriguing as the wordy but dull pastor.
A musical film, the songs and singing are almost as important to this movie as the plot. First, songs made famous in the original movie have been remade for this new release. This includes tracks like “Something He Can Feel”, “Jump,” and “Look Into Your Heart.” Nonetheless, there are also new songs added to the soundtrack which were written and produced by R. Kelly. Whitney Houston also sings a moving rendition of the famous hymn, “His Eye is on the Sparrow.” As with the first movie, viewers will enjoy a concert as much, if not more than the story itself.
Sparkle (2012) was a project of Director Salim Akil, T.D. Jakes, and Stage 6 films.