I haven't seen Dreamgirls since its release last Christmas, but after sitting down to watch the DVD, which is arriving in stores tomorrow, I pretty much stand by my original opinion -- that the film is a solid B+ as a musical, but didn't exactly have the dramatic heft or originality to be in consideration for the Oscar. Looks like the Academy agreed with me. For those who still haven't seen it, Dreamgirls follows a trio of 60s singers, modeled on The Supremes, as they climb to the top, then fracture over love, money and fame, and then attempt to find success on their own. There are memorable songs, including Jennifer Hudson's signature "I Am Telling You I Am Not Going," and Beyonce Knowles' "Listen" towards the end of the film, and the film finds an interesting way to blend musical numbers together with the traditional style of movie musicals. If you are swept up in the story, you might not even notice the moment when that wall is broken and the actors start communicating to each other through songs instead of words.
Fans will be happy to know that the DVD is no slouch -- it's two discs, packed with a number of behind-the-scenes featurettes, a whole slate of extended and alternate scenes and some more interesting things that you rarely see. My favorite one a series of 'pre-visualization sequences' which means enhanced storyboards that are played in a slide-show sequence along with what I think is an early reading of the script pages. It serves as sort of an animated forerunner to the eventual scene that will be shot, and was probably extremely helpful to the director in setting up some of the musical sequences. In addition to the storyboard-style presentations -- and htere are several of them -- there are also dress rehearsals included, with stand-ins doing the singing and dancing. Some of these sequences even combine the rehearsal with the storyboard sequence, like the one for the "Cadillac Car" number. After watching that one, it seems like most of the hard work of this film was done before the actors even stepped on stage.