Spice World (1998)
Spice Girls are what you want, what you really-really want
When I heard that Meat Loaf, Norm from Cheers (George Wendt) and James Bond (Roger Moore) were going to be in a movie together, I was ecstatic. After I found out that they were going to be joined by five very special cast mates – The Spice Girls, I was as overjoyed as M.C. Hammer at a 50 per cent off parachute pants sale (I really need to work on my metaphors).
That aside, this week’s selection, Spice World: The Movie is a musical, magical, motion picture delight!
In 1998, The Spice Girls were the biggest thing in music. Just imagine that Gwen Steffani, 50 Cent, Tommy Lee, Jesus of Nazareth and Kenny Rogers formed a band today. They would be huge right? Well The Spice Girls were bigger!
So it came as no surprise when the girls were cast in a blockbuster motion picture in between the release of their first and second albums. This was certainly a big risk, as the crossover from the music to film industry has not always panned out.
For every “Weird” Al Yankovic and Britney Spears that have succeeded in their transition to the silver screen, there are dozens of failures, like Cher and Frank Sinatra. Luckily, the Spice Girls share more in common with Britney than Frank, making Spice World a cinematic gem.
Spice World tells the fictional tale of The Spice Girls preparing for a big show at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England. Along the way, the Girls dodge the paparazzi, encounter aliens and make enemies of the Catholic Church.
While on the surface this would appear to be lightweight material, director Bob Spiers never lets the film veer in the direction of becoming mindless fluff. Spiers isn’t the only one who makes sure this doesn’t happen – he has five special ladies helping him out with that.
All five Spice Girls give knock out performances, each bringing something different to the table.
Ginger Spice (Geri Halliwell) was always the most sassy and outspoken of the group, and those attributes are certainly exhibited in this film. Ginger is reminiscent of a young Katherine Hepburn in this movie, and I was eagerly awaiting her next film endeavor after seeing Spice World. Unfortunately, Halliwell was killed shortly after the film’s release, presumably by the other members of the group. The good folks at Scotland Yard have never been able to prove that though. Ginger, your candle burned out long before your legend ever will.
As good as Halliwell was, I personally feel that Victoria (Posh Spice) Beckham gave the finest performance of all the girls. That is to be expected, as Victoria had the most film experience coming into this one, after having portrayed Skeletor in the Masters of The Universe movie a decade earlier.
Mel C, better known as Sporty Spice is a bundle of energy. While most anyone would find it easy to become a Mel C. fan, one group in particular is known to be big fans of Sporty – pirates, who adore her because she possesses the one thing they value most, a sunken chest.
Mel B, a.k.a Scary Spice simply oozes charisma. Watching Mel B in this film, it isn’t hard to understand why Eddie Murphy gave up his carefree life of picking up transvestite prostitutes to be with her.
Emma Bunton’s performance as Baby Spice is awe-inspiring. Bunton perfectly captures the tormented sole of someone who is torn, wondering, am I a baby? Am I a woman? This quandary is explored, but never fully realized. Watching Bunton struggle with these questions is fascinating, and worthy of a film unto itself.
So Spice World features five outstanding young actresses, a rollicking story and is backed up by a soundtrack that will make your ears dance with delight. Do I recommend this film, you may ask? Well, in the immortal words of the Spice Girls, I wholeheartedly say, “People of the world, spice up your life, every boy and every girl, spice up your life!”