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"Dreamgirls - (2 Disc Edition)"
Reviewer:
Wayne Klein
Studio: Dreamworks Home Video/Paramount
Genre: Musical
Release:
5/4/07
Special Features: DVD Exclusive Jennifer Hudson Performance 12 Extended and Alternate Scenes Music Video "Listen" by Beyoncé Knowles "Building The Dream" Feature-length documentary Image Gallery with over 1,100 images Dream Logic: Film Editing Dressing The Dreams: Costume Design Center Stage: Theatrical Lighting Dreamgirls - Beyoncé Knowles screen test Ain't No Party - Anika Noni Rose audition Steppin' To The Bad Side - Fatima Robinson choreography audition Previsualization Sequences
Review:

If you think you hear a strain of Motown style tunes in "Dreamgirls", you're not mistaken. Based on the Broadway musical of the same name, "Dreamgirls" essentially took the story of The Supremes before and after Diana Ross dominated the trio and used that as its template to build the foundation of this musical on. The story focuses on the rise of the group first as back up singers for "Thunder" Early (Eddie Murphy in his Oscar nominated performance) but soon branches out on their own when it's clear to their manager Curtis Taylor (Jamie Foxx) that the ladies connect much better with audiences than Early. Initially the powerful Effie (Jennifer Hudson) is the focal point for the group but she is soon replaced by Dena (Beyounce Knowles) the leaner more statuesque of the Dreamettes. Effie, though, won't go without a fight or at least a song. Director Bill Condon does a terrific job in adapting the musical to film. While the film was virtually ignored at the Oscars (the film remember received the most nominations but nearly walked away empty handed for all the big awards), it's not for the quality of the film. Condon stages his sequences quite well and elicits winning performances from first time actresses Beyonce Knowles Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx and a surprisingly powerful performance by Eddie Murphy as R&B singer James "Thunder" Early.

***

Image & Sound:

All that glitters is."Dreamgirls" in a fantastic looking transfer. Colors are bold and flesh tones excellent. Detail is top notch as well. The sound also deserves a standing ovation. The 5.1 and 2.0 mixes both sound superb here with musical pounding out the speakers with enough bass to get you to your feet. Audio comes across clear as well.

Special Features:

The "Showstopper Edition" has all the extras that money can buy. First up we get a promotional music video for Beyonce' song "Listen". We also get 11 extended performances from the movie that really are just the performances without any cutaways. There is also a previously unreleased song by Jennifer Hudson. ***

Disc two features the bulk of the extras and the heavy lifting is handled admirably by some terrific featurettes and behind-the-scenes footage.

"Building the Dream" is a full length documentary that begins with the show's premiere on Broadway and its development (with many false starts to film versions) to the final version we saw in theaters. We also get behind-the-scenes footage that appears in the documentary that is uncut as well. ***

Featurettes include "Dream Logic" a brief featurette on the editing of the film demonstrating the effective montage used in one sequence.

"Dressing the Dreams" provides us with scenes alternated with the original costumer designs and the reasons the final choices were made discussed by the costumer designer.

"Center Stage" focuses on the theatrical lighting used to create the impression the stage sequences are taking place in a live venue. We also get image galleries with storyboards, designs and art from the film. Finally there are seven previsualized sequences included integrating storyboards and rehearsal footage to help guide the filmmakers in shooting the film. ---

Final Words:

This is an overall "dream" package for fans of the musical. I would definitely go for the two disc set if you like to learn about the details of a big production like this.

 

 
 
 
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