Soul Power (2009)
Critic Consensus: Featuring some incredible performances from many 70s soul legends, Soul Power is an exhilarating snap-shot of a bygone era.
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Critic Reviews for Soul Power
Soul Power turns out to be an unusually resonant time capsule, one that weaves together theatrics, musicianship, cosmopolitanism and sharp political critique in a vibrant look-back that's at once celebratory and wistful.
It packs the emotional and historical power of a heady 'family gathering' celebration of African and, to use the term then in fashion, Afro-American pride.
Soul Power is the indispensable companion film to Leon Gast's thrilling 1996 documentary When We Were Kings.
Watching the Godfather of Soul on the big outdoor stage, you think back to his appearance in The T.A.M.I. Show a decade earlier. And then you think: I feel good.
Audience Reviews for Soul Power
SOUL POWER offers a different view surrounding the events of The Rumble In The Jungle In Zaire-1974. A decent companion to When We Were Kings, but nowhere near as engaging as it could have been. With icons that are larger than life today as they were then, the documentary falls short on piecing together the performances. That's not to say the performances are anything less that fantastic, I just felt the ball was dropped in the editing room with even the beginning of the film taking a bit of time to get steam going. The song choices showcased in the film are the "all too familiar" selections from the artists instead of others which may be lesser known but just as, if not more, powerful. Some of the performances which ended up on the deleted scenes portion of the dvd had me asking why they weren't included in the very short time capsule the film attempts to deliver. Still worth watching, but mostly served as a reminder of how great the documenatary "When We Were Kings" actually is.
"Soul Power" is an enjoyable concert film about the three day music festival that was scheduled to complement the Muhammad Ali-George Foreman title fight in Kinshasa, Zaire in 1974. Even with the fight delayed for several weeks due to injury, the show must still go on and what a show it was with The Spinners, B.B. King and the Godfather of Soul, James Brown("He'll make your bladder splatter." The coolest intro ever.). Most impressive for me was African musicians including Miriam Makeba. The whole festival was a celebration of the music's roots, allowing the American and African musicians to interact. On a personal level, the Americans demonstrated their solidarity with the African people.
If anything, the movie is too short and there could have definitely been more of the music. The behind the scenes footage only proves how difficult it is to put on a concert like this while reminding us all what a great wordsmith Muhammad Ali used to be.
Saw this one at 9 in the morning one weekend during TIFF a few years back and it worked better than a morning coffee to get the juices flowing. Make no doubts about it. This is James Brown's film. A nice companion to When We Were Kings.
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