This is the review I wrote for IMDB about my seeing the first audience screening of Dreamgirls tonight.
Summary? It was PHENOMENAL!
Supposedly the first audience screening tonight - Dreamgirls was absolutely wonderful! Jennifer Hudson (apparently from American Idol fame - a show I've never seen) was unbelievable as Effie - just amazing. Beyonce was beautiful, but the show was truly stolen by
Hudson, which was appropriate. Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy and Danny Glover were all wonderful in their roles. Murphy being the most colorful; very Saturday Night Live-era-ish (especially when he imitated James Brown - but how many youngsters remember that, right?).
The audience, picked by Nielson (the survey folks), was enthralled during the 2.5 hour-long movie (sure to be cut to just under 2 hours). Applause, laughter and hoots of hoorah spontaneously erupted during several parts of the movie. Afterwards, I heard many people say they had chills as Hudson sang her heart out. I did, too. (I cannot WAIT to have the soundtrack!) The costumes were appropriately flashy. The period hair-dos, snippets of civil rights issues, the song stylings through the ages all worked together to create a movie that was timeless and time-stamped all at the same time. It was FABULOUS seeing Hudson in all her ample glory - "a real woman" compared to Beyonce's "Tweety Bird" size.
I have not seen the stage production, but know that the show is loosely based on the story of Diana Ross and the Supremes. Again, not many under 30 will make the connection (my prejudice?), but shots of Beyonce glammed to the hilt and splashed across magazine covers and entire walls were so close to the exact photos in my memory of Diana Ross in the early 70's - it was almost as if they simply replaced Ross' face with Beyonce's. The faux-Jackson Five was mildly amusing, but they had Michael way too light for how he really was at that young age.
Problems I hope to see corrected in continued production: While I understand Beyonce's character's growing strength (in spirit and voice), when she first went on stage with Hudson's character as a back-up singer instead of lead, she was extremely weak - so much so I couldn't quite figure out why the (in the movie) audience would applaud wildly for them - the clothes weren't that good. I felt if she was a little more strong vocally (as we all know she can do), it would have made it more believable. She was terrific near the end of the movie... so strong and powerful!
A few of the places were some slow... pacing needs to be a tad quicker. If a few short scenes were cut, the integrity of the story would not be compromised.
A scene of Beyonce walking from the backyard to the front yard and into a car was unimportant - we already knew the house was splendid.
An abrupt shift from one period in time to another via a television show's opening credits was odd and could have been smoother. The intro didn't need to be so long, either.
While entertaining, a couple of the songs could be dropped without losing continuity. I remember one or two with Eddie Murphy that could be deleted. Foxx only sang one or two. I would rather have seen more of Hudson (can you tell how great I thought she was! I wasn't alone, though... she received a standing ovation during the credits!).
I can't wait until this movie comes out in December... Christmas Day? I look forward to the finished-finished product - it's going to be wonderful! Much better than (the movie versions of) Rent, Chicago, Chorus Line, Producers and equal in quality to Phantom of the Opera.
As musicals go, the characters don't just break into song willy-nilly - they sing their lives... and sing for their lives!
It was beautiful seeing their hearts on film.