"Dreamgirls" is great--unfortunately it doesn't quite stand up to "Ray" or "Chicago," but that is definitely not saying it is a bad film. I had an incredible time watching "Dreamgirls" but there were just too many scenes that ran exceptionally long.
For those of you who haven't heard all the hype about "Dreamgirls," it is based on the Broadway musical. Three black female singers are given the opportunity of a lifetime by singer James "Thunder" Early (Eddie Murphy) to hit the road singing backup, in hopes of earning up their own star status. The Dreams are led by Effie White (Jennifer Hudson) and her two best friends Deena Jones & Lorrell Robinson (Beyoncé Knowles & Anika Noni Rose). As they follow the road to stardom they are finally given the chance to do their own act by Curtis Taylor Jr. (Jamie Foxx). But with star status comes more and more pressure; Curtis decides to move Deena to lead singer, which soon causes the original trio to breakup when Effie leaves. "Dreamgirls" takes us into the life of the The Dreams as they sing through the decades, though both good and bad times.
"Dreamgirls" boasts an incredibly strong cast: Eddie Murphy, Beyoncé Knowles, Jamie Foxx, Danny Glover, and newcomer Jennifer Hudson. Each and every cast and crewmember does an outstanding job and equally deserves some credit. Eddie Murphy especially stands out strong with a great voice and probably his best performance in his entire career. Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson, and Beyoncé Knowles roll right in with their great screen presence and awesome musical ability. You can really tell that "Dreamgirls" is about heart and soul, and each and every actor involved literally put their heart and soul into this one.
Director Bill Condon moved from writer of "Chicago" to director of "Dreamgirls." After "Chicago's" incredible success it seems like an impossible task to take on yet another adaptation from an extremely successful Broadway. Thankfully, Condon does a wonderful job bringing "Dreamgirls" to the big screen. Everyone involved in "Dreamgirls" was chosen for a reason and you can completely see his vision throughout this film, from casting choices to everything behind the scenes.
The choreography is absolutely amazing. We feel as if we are watching a Broadway musical at times, then we are at a jazz concert, before heading off to a pop music atmosphere. The detail behind each and every dance number is perfect as the characters change from a conversation to full-blown singing and dancing. The background dancers hit their moves in perfect unison and even our main characters fill their roles very well with details from each era that they are supposed to be in.
Overall "Dreamgirls" is great--personally I felt that some of the musical numbers were drawn out too long, especially when they started as dialogue and turned into singing. There were definitely times when I was bored and ready to move on to the next fantastic dance/singing sequence that just couldn't come soon enough. But if I were to judge the movie by the acting, cinematography, choreography, lighting, etc...I would tell you that "Dreamgirls" is a big hit.
Here is where "Dreamgirls" stands out. The video quality makes "Dreamgirls" absolutely stunning. The colors are beautifully vibrant, with wonderful oranges, yellows and reds that pop brilliantly. The skin tones are perfect, with outstanding detail. The blacks are near perfect as well and don't cause a loss of detail. There is a little grain at times, but it is so minuscule that I can't knock off half a star for that. Other than the smallest amount of grain, "Dreamgirls" is perfect. It was a pleasure watching the bright colors on stage flash in front of our eyes. "Dreamgirls" is filled with eye candy galore that will continue to please you during each and every viewing.
"Dreamgirls" has a very nice audio track with a 5.1 Dolby Digital Track. The only real negative that I can say about audio track is that it doesn't have a PCM track. Other than than, "Dreamgirls" fills out the speakers incredibly well. The dialogue is crisp, and more importantly, the singing fills the room with great clarity because it is perfectly mixed to use each speaker. The soundtrack is beautiful with some of the best singing since "Ray." Each scene brings something new to the table keeps you excited for the next new musical number. If you are a music buff, you will definitely enjoy watching "Dreamgirls" because they bring Broadway, jazz, and even some disco/pop together in the film.
The "Dreamgirls" discs are packed with tons of extras that are almost all in 1080p. The music video by Beyoncé and one deleted scene are not in 1080p.
Extended and Alternate Scenes: There are tons of deleted and extended scenes to choose from in "Dreamgirls." Most are extended musical numbers from the songs we already heard. They all look and sound terrific and are definitely worth a look. My favorite is probably "Step into the Bad Side."
Music Video "Listen" by Beyoncé Knowles: That's it...a normal music video.
Soundtrack Promo: A promo for the "Dreamgirls" soundtrack.
Building the Dream: This feature is awesome! You can break it up into several parts if you don't have time for the almost 2 hour feature, but watching it straight through is the best way to do it. Almost everyone from the cast and crew make an appearance as we are brought through the entire process of making "Dreamgirls." Here we see the history of the Broadway musical, and how it came to life on the silver screen. We get some incredible detail about casting choices and even see audition footage from time to time. We learn about the cinematography, the shooting, choreography...the list goes on and on. This feature is the best feature on the either disc, and should be watched in its entirety by any fan of "Dreamgirls." We are able to dive so deep into detail that anyone can pick something new up from this feature.
If that wasn't enough detailed goodness for you...Dream Logic: Film Editing, Dressing the Dreams: Costume Design and Center Stage: Theatrical Lighting. These are three more features that give us even more insight to editing, costume designs for individual characters, and spectacular lighting of "Dreamgirls." These are also very good, though short, features.
Auditions & Screen Tests: Here we see Beyoncé's screen test, Anika Nori Rose's audition, and Fatima Robinson's choreography audition.
Pre-visualization Sequences: There are 7 scenes with drawings/storyboards mixed with live-action, choreographed dancers--you can literally watch how the scenes unfold before filming ever began for "Dreamgirls." If you are a big fan...this could be interesting to you.
"Dreamgirls" brings us some of the best performances from such a diverse cast in years. The acting alone is enough to make us want to watch the film, but with one of the best video transfers, an incredible audio track, and jam-packed special features, "Dreamgirls" does not disappoint in any arena. Getting past my lack of interest during some of the more bland and slow songs, "Dreamgirls" is easy for me to Highly Recommend. There will be some like me that will find "Dreamgirls" a bit slow, but that shouldn't stop you from seeing this incredible movie.