The Sparks Brothers. Review.

If there’s a general theme among all of Edgar Wrights lockdown work It’s approaching the topics he covers with a sincere and infectious heart. Whether it’s his work spotlighting the importance of the big screen experience. Writing an essay about someone who he considers important within the film space. Or in this case, putting together a documentary on one of his favourite bands as while Last Night in Soho got a pandemic post-production delay. Full disclosure. This viewer does not know a great deal about Sparks. His main familiarity with them was Matthew Vaughn using This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both of Us on the Kick-Ass soundtrack. The Documentary was a high priority watch purely because it had Edgar Wright’s name on it. His material is always worth going out and supporting. How is the documentary?
Honestly, it was such a frustrating viewing experience. In a lot of ways, it’s the sort of unsurprisingly excellent work viewers have come to expect from Wright. All his strengths as a filmmaker or present. Assembled and edited with unbelievably kinetic energy. Very engaging from start to finish. Made with a huge love for the subject matter and material. It’s honestly one of the easiest films to recommend this viewer can remember in recent memory. So why didn’t it work quite as well for him as he would have wanted? There are two main factors. The firm aims to do a full career retrospective across 25 albums and 50 years in 140 minutes. This is relatively long ( especially for theatrically released documentaries) the scope of the canvas right has chosen is very broad. A lot of the material and discussion comes across as rather abortive. The film is desperately in need of either a more focused shorter edit or expansion into a potentially fantastic three to four-hour streaming mini-series. Both of these options could be great on their own merits. The film we have sits in this bizarre nether region. Two massive in scope to be much shorter Also feeling desperately in need of a tighter Or more expensive edit.
Then there’s the other problem. Even within the context of hagiography, the best in this sub-genre ( regardless of medium) will give the viewer a genuine insight into why the subject matter is so great. Wright used his massive array of connections to get interviews and sound bites about Sparks perceived greatness. The problem is that a lot of the discussion here falls decidedly into the ks is perceived brilliance. Beyond some isolated moments very little contextualization beyond some broad error as to How they were able to achieve this. Put bluntly it’s the creative decision under an attempt to cover their entire career in a theatrical running time. This project needed One of two things. Either a much more concise and focused theatrical edit. Alternatively a more expensive streaming mini-series focus. As it Is the 140-minute final product sits in a bizarre Netherworld. Too short to realistically cover a 50-year career anything like expansively. from Simultaneously too long to real in potential casual fans who aren’t already attached to the director or subject matter.
The Sparks Brothers was a perennially frustrating viewing experience. There’s so much to love. It’s made with the kind of kinetic energy viewers expect from Edgar Wright. His love for the subject is present in every frame. The documentaries use of mixed media to paint a picture of the duos is fantastic. The film is broadly very engaging from start to finish. Yet something didn’t quite work ( at least for this writer.) The film spends A lot of time wheeling on various talking heads and celebrities to pontificate regarding Sparks greatness. It’s not interested in showcasing any of why they were so influential beyond some broad Longevity points. Ultimately it’s a very easy documentary to recommend especially for Wright or Sparks fans. That said this viewer can’t say he was immediately taken with some of the creative decisions made. If the theatrical edit had been more focused, or the scope expanded for streaming, then this project would have unlocked its full potential. As it is the 140-minute experience feels less than the sum of its parts
7/10.

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