The soap-opera career of Motown's most successful group, the Temptations, lends credence to the old belief that great art comes from troubled lives. Over three decades, the band struggled through numerous ego trips, countless members, broken relationships, coke addiction, alcoholism, suicide, cancer, deadly arthritis--in short, all the melodramatic devices necessary for a TV miniseries. This two-and-a-half-hour docudrama touches on all of these personal tragedies, but unfortunately forgets the real reason for the strength of the story: the music. Sure, there's wonderful reenactments of the quintet's finest material, such as "My Girl," "Just My Imagination," "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" and "The Way You Do the Things You Do," all performed with the slick choreography and shimmering vocal harmonies that made the band legendary. But, unfortunately, director Allan Arkush (Rock and Roll High School) and writers Kevin Arkadie and Robert Johnson forget to put the music into any historical perspective. Why were the Temptations so important? What was their contribution to pop music? By watching this saccharine, manipulative exposé, you'd never know. The performances are nonetheless terrific, especially Charles Malik Whitfield as leader (and narrator) Otis Williams, D.B. Woodside as his partner, Melvin Franklin, and Leon as the group's talented livewire, David Ruffin. The DVD edition offers several fine features including 2.0 Dolby Surround Sound, a discography, cast and crew profiles, extensive production notes, and most important, the ability to jump to any of the seven songs performed... basically the main reason to watch this epic. --Dave McCoy
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Top Customer Reviews
What makes this movie so wonderful is that it takes us back to the times when music really meant something and touched us on a deeper level. Each time that I watch it I am transported to a time when the melody of a voice could melt away the pains of a troubled society. Don't get me wrong, there were problems with segregation and wars, but there was an innocence that I long to return to. I hope that Paul, David, Eddie, and Melvin are resting in peace. Their music changed the face of entertainment and now their stories have truly changed my perception of the world.
I say all of this to say that this movie is a must have for Temptations fans as well as for those who want a break from all of the ugliness in the world.
Along with the great performances from all of the characters, especially Leon, Christian, Terron, Charles and DB, the film-making was top notch.
Scenes so unforgettable that point out the skill of film-making is of course the wonderful part where the Tempts are in B/W on TV performing 'My Girl' and then they fade into color. This is so genius and gets me every time.
Also the scene where they kick David out of the band and the four of them are facing the window. Then Paul turns the other way, and you can see the camera in slow motion pausing for effect as if to say, 'Paul, you are next'. Pure genius.
And of course my favorite part of all, the nostalgic end, where after all of the original Tempts have now died except Otis, it is haunting how they are seemingly 'resurrected', shown in all of their purple glory. They are performing 'My Girl' as if from heaven along with sad narration from Otis. After their exquisitely choreographed TO-THE-NINES performance, they bow, and Otis saying, "Temptations (pause -voice breaks) Forever" makes me tear up every time. That is so awesome. This is what filmmaking should be about.
I know that there are people complaining about the accuracy of the film and I understand their gripes, but all films based on real life usually change stuff up for 'dramatic effect'. In this case, it works extremely well and is probably the factor that makes this movie a TOTAL CLASSIC.
Most recent customer reviews
Just finished watching it and both my husband and I really enjoyed it.Published 13 months ago by Jan P Gran
This concert was very informative and chock full of great music which brings back many memories of my teenage years.Published on Jan. 20 2014 by M. A. Miller
I have always had a soft spot for The Temptations with David Ruffin and Leon gives a chilling performance of the man - all of the actors portraying The Temptations are excellent. Read morePublished on Feb. 15 2009 by Roscoe09
I love this movie! I can watch it over and over and over again, especially the performances.Published on April 22 2004 by BB
After watching the VH1 movie and the DVD, the VHS leaves out some important aspects of this wonderful documentry. Read morePublished on March 20 2004 by Peggy A. Jackson
Although I am but 21 years old, I have been a fan of the Temptations for a while now. Their sound and style is, of course, classic. But, on to the actual DVD. Read morePublished on March 14 2004
I have seen this movie on TV in its entirety. Also when I bought this movie I was surprised that some of the scenes were missing. Still it was a great movie. Read morePublished on Feb. 23 2004 by Frances Braun