March 11, 2024

THE COLOR PURPLE: Not Quite a Remake

2023 / 141 min
Review by Pepper the Poopie😺

From a certain perspective, The Color Purple is a historical first. Until now, no other Steven Spielberg-directed movie has ever been remade. I suppose it was just a matter of time and I’m actually surprised it hasn’t already happened.

But one could easily argue that the film isn't really a remake. Sure, the characters and story are more-or-less the same, but this is primarily an adaptation of the 2005 stage musical that had a couple of lengthy Broadway runs over the years. Still, I suppose some comparisons are inevitable. 

I gotta say I found Fantasia Barrino much more appealing as Celie than Whoopi Goldberg was, and even then, both Danielle Brooks (as Celeie’s feisty friend, Sofia) and my secret crush Taraji P. Henson (as sultry singer Shug Avery) manage to steal a few scenes for themselves. Like in the original, this trio is the crux of the story, forming a bond over the years as Celie grows to become independent of her abusive husband, Mister (Colman Domingo).

With the color purple comes allergies.
While the performances are earnest and exuberant, the characters aren’t as complex as their 1985 counterparts (a few border on being caricatures). The same could be said about the story. The novel’s themes are still present, but a lot of the film takes a back seat to the musical sequences, some which are genuine showstoppers. Standout numbers include Sofia’s sassy “Hell, No!” and Shug’s playful “Push Da Button.” I also appreciated Celie and Shug’s charming, fantasy tinged “What About Love?”, which includes imaginative production design.

Considering the amount of down time between musical numbers and our anticipation of some good ol’ fashioned karma being dished out, The Color Purple is a little too long for its own good. But despite a bit of overall aloofness, the film is ultimately rewarding and a solid musical adaptation of a classic novel. And I guess if you had to rework a Spielberg movie, better this than Jaws.


FEATURETTES - Creating The Color Purple: A Bold New Take on a Beloved Classic; Hell, Yes! - The Iconic Characters of The Color Purple; A Story for Me: The Legacy of The Color Purple. Each of these run 6-7 minutes.

MUSICAL MOMENTS - This lets you skip straight to the musical numbers.


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