'Dreamgirls (Two-Disc Showstopper Edition)'
(Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé Knowles, et al / 2-Disc DVD / PG-13 / 2007 / Paramount - Dreamworks)
Overview: Based on the 1981 Broadway musical comes Dreamgirls, a story of greed, tough hate, and romance. Three young women Deena Jones (Knowles), Effie White (Hudson), and Lorrell Robinson (Rose) desire to become pop stars and get their wish when they're picked to be backup singers for the legendary James "Thunder" Early (Murphy). Then they're set free for leads, but Curtis Taylor (Foxx) and Effie's brother C.C. (Robinson) decide for Deena to be lead which upsets Effie. This movie contains both original Broadway and new songs and it's one movie that the whole family will enjoy!
DVD Verdict: For those of you who aren't familiar with 'Dreamgirls' it was a hit Broadway musical, created in 1981, based "loosely" on the real monster girl group The Supremes, Berry Gordy and Motown. And although it took almost 25 years to make, the movie version is spectacular.
Following the meteoric rise of the fictitious "Dreams" the story takes place in Detroit in 1962 and ends in Los Angeles in 1975. In between, you witness the joy, sorrow, and bitterness - as some dreams die, while others live. And being a period movie, DREAMGIRLS doesn't feel dated or unrealistic. It captures the excitement and turbulence of the 60s, or at least the romanicized idea of it, perfectly.
Anyway enough about the movie and on to the DVD. This dvd set contains two DVDs: #1 = FEATURE FILM; 12 EXTENDED/ADDITIONAL MUSICAL NUMBERS. I won't list the 12 songs but the title track "Dreamgirls" and the show stopper "And I'm Telling You" are not part of this 12. With the exception of the song "Effie, Sing My Song," at least from what I could tell, most of these musical numbers are just different edits/film cuts than those that made it into the film. For instance, you'll see more of the performance rather than the cutaways to other scenes, which you see in the movie...so they're not sung differently.
What's good about this is that you get to see the entire performance of the opening acts (The Stepp Sisters, L'il Albert and The Tru-Tones, Tiny Joe Dixon) without the cutaway shots that show what's going on behind the stage. No additional lyrics; the songs are exactly as they are on the deluxe edition music cd of "Dreamgirls."
One alternative musical number that's very different is the song "Effie, Sing My Song." In the movie, the lines are spoken, however they did film the song version where C.C. and Effie share a duet. And that's included here.
DVD #2 = DOCUMENTARY ON THE MAKING OF DREAMGIRLS; ORIGINAL AUDITION AND SCREEN TEST VIDEOS; FEATURETTES ABOUT THE FASHION, FILM EDITING, THEATRICAL LIGHTING; PREVISUALIZATION SEQUENCES; IMAGE GALLERY. In all fairness, I haven't seen the entire second DVD. The reason being is that the documentary on the making of DREAMGIRLS is nearly TWO-HOURS long! Running at one-hour and fifty-five minutes, the documentary called "Building the Dream" chronicles the journey that started as an idea from Broadway creators Tom Eyen, Henry Krieger, and Michael Bennett to finally becomming the most hyped and anticipated film of 2006. But don't worry, that's not the beef of the documentary. Most of it takes you behind the scenes of what it took to put this huge movie together from the set design to the casting; from the choreography to staying true to the original score.
It's a fascinating look at the challenges director Bill Condon faced when deciding to take on this project. I always thought that "Dreamgirls" would've been easy to make into a film because you already started with everything in place. How wrong I was! Not only are you competing in a genre not too popular today, but you have to compete with the beloved original. Well, I must pay homage to Condon. He pulled it off.
Anyway, the documentary is told through home video of the recording sessions, casting calls, set design, rehearsals etc., as well as principal cast member interviews and of course the main people working behind the scenes like director Condon, executive producers, choreographers, music producers etc.
If nothing else, this documentary alone is worth the extra price for the two-set dvd of DREAMGIRLS. And for those of you die hard fans of the original Broadway show or soundtrack, who liked this movie version, will be happy to know that the song "A'int No Party" is supposed to be included in the "audition tapes" section of the special features. There is a snippet of it in the documentary and Anika Noni Rose was working that song. So I'm sure it has to be included in the screen tests. But even if it isn't, remember I haven't seen the entire second DVD, the documentary "Building The Dream" makes up for it.
Anyway, if you enjoyed the movie, you'll enjoy this DVD set. It's a dream that will give you "more and more." If you haven't seen the movie, well you're in for a treat. It's exciting and keeps you at the edge of your seat. And not being an action film, that's saying a lot! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
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