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Besides the Supremes comparison, one can't talk about Dreamgirls now without revisiting its notorious Oscar snub; though it received eight nominations, the most for any film from 2006, it was shut out of the Best Picture and Director races entirely. Was the oversight justified? While Dreamgirls is certainly a handsomely mounted, lovingly executed and often vibrant film adaptation, it inspires more respect than passion, only getting under your skin during the musical numbers, which become more sporadic as the film goes on. Writer-director Bill Condon is definitely focused on recreating the Motown milieu (down to uncanny photographs of Knowles in full Diana Ross mode), he often forgets to flesh out his characters, who even on the Broadway stage were underwritten and relied on powerhouse performances to sell them to audiences. (Stage fans will also note that numerous songs are either truncated or dropped entirely from the film.) Condon has assembled a game cast, as Knowles does a canny riff on the essence of Diana Ross' glamour (as opposed to an all-out impersonation) and Rose makes a peripheral character surprisingly vibrant; only Foxx, who never gets to pour on the charisma, is miscast. Still, there are two things even the most cranky viewers will warm to in Dreamgirls: the performances of veteran Eddie Murphy and newcomer Jennifer Hudson. Murphy is all sly charm and dazzling energy as the devilish Early, who's part James Brown, part Little Richard, and all showman. And Hudson, an American Idol contestant who didn't even make the top three, makes an impressive debut as the larger-than-life Effie, whose voice matches her passions and stubbornness. Though she sometimes may seem too young for the role, Hudson nails the movie's signature song, "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," with a breathtaking power that must be seen and heard to believe. And for those five minutes, if not more, you will be in Dreamgirls' thrall. --Mark Englehart
On the DVD
The two-disc edition of Dreamgirls includes videos, documentaries and other behind-the-scenes features. Diehard fans will love the almost two-hour "Building the Dream" documentary, which goes into loving detail about how the film got to be made. But it's the shorter segments that really capture the viewer's attention. The two auditions included in the set are a contrast in style. Pop singer Beyonce Knowles sells herself in full hair, makeup and costume; that she is a tad pitchy at times is almost beside the point. Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose's audition is a tour de force; singing strong and with conviction and passion, Rose is fully in character regardless of the fact that she isn't dressed for the role. Oddly enough, the audition tape of Jennifer Hudson, who won an Academy Award for her breakthrough role as Effie, is nowhere to be seen. Sure, we all know what a powerhouse she is today. But it would've been nice to see what the filmmakers saw in her back then, when her competition included her American Idol castmate (and that season's winner) Fantasia Barrino. Hudson's performance of "Effie, Sing My Song"--which was not seen in the theatrical release--is included in this set, as are 12 extended musical numbers. Another nice touch is the inclusion of a dance rehearsal choreographed by Fatima Robinson (who has worked with the Backstreet Boys, Mary J. Blige, and Michael Jackson). Watching the rudimentary piece (with stand-ins subbing for the stars) come together gives the viewer appreciation for the intricate work that goes into each 3-minute musical number in the 130-minute film. Also included are a sequence of enhanced storyboards, a look at how the film's editor went about editing the picture, and a look at how the costumes played a part in the film. --Jae-Ha Kim
Other Musicals on DVD
More Motown on DVD
LOVEEE me some Jennifer Hudson! She belts a song like nobody else!Published 6 days ago by Laura P. Jolley
used copy!!!beware !!!!!! bought as new !!!!I hope it works !!very sad!!!Published 12 days ago by Doug M.
It's s terrific thst sometines I judt plsy the songs! The best music, and clothes, and... too wonderful! Loved the cast! Thanks a million! Read morePublished 13 days ago by Janis Jackson
|Topic||From this Discussion|
|What about Beyonce.... ? ....||
LIZ COME ON NOW LETS BE "REAL" BEYONCE ALTHOUGH A VERY BEAUTIFUL AND TALENTED SINGER DID SHINE IN DREAMGIRLS BUT HER ACTING SKILLS ARE LESS THAN MEDIOCRE. SHE IS VERY OVEREXPOSED AND EXPECTS TO STEAL THE SOPTLIGHT EVERYTIME. SHE HAS ALOT OF SUPPORTIVE FANS BUT WE HAVE SEEN HER IN OTHER... Read More
Mar 21, 2007 by ANTOINETTE YOUNG | See all 12 posts
|Why on 2 discs||
That's a really good question. I'm willing to bet that disc 2 is the same disc that ships with the SD set. They save some by volume and by not changing the packaging. But it does seem that blu-ray's main advantage over HD DVD (50GB vs 30GB) isn't being used to advantage.
Apr 30, 2007 by Kevin Murphy | See all 4 posts
|HD and Blu-Ray Only?||
No this version is not just HD and BluRay. This version is just DVD format with a second disk loaded with extras.
May 3, 2007 by Leah Talley | See all 2 posts