PG Score: 6.75/10
The Sparks Brothers was released in theaters on 6/18/21
The Sparks Brothers is a documentary directed by Edgar Wright (Baby Driver, Hot Fuzz) that spans all of their existence from 1969 to the present. The unique look at Sparks (actual band name) captures the band's essence to a T. Sparks is the most famous band you have never heard of, but they have influenced bands you have been listening to for years without even some of those bands knowing about it. I am not a huge fan of the music, but the combination of interviews with other famous musicians and fans, along with the brothers themselves, made for a fun few hours.
Originally formed under the name Halfnelson, Ron and Russell Mael took their unique California upbringing and turned it into a lengthy career. Inspired early on by their father who took them to see films before his untimely death, they then went on to study at UCLA which led to the first formation of the band. The documentary really gets going in 1969 with the release of their first album and doesn’t stop as it covers all 25 albums the band has released. Edgar Wright does a great job of blending old footage and cartoons of band exploits to show The Sparks Brothers' past in a humorous way. The film gives us insight from former band members (there are a lot), other musicians, and record executives, to the creation of each album, and when certain albums inspired or influenced them.
The band was never overly popular in the States, but from Europe to Japan and in between they had a massive following. The film feels like a long journey as The Sparks Brothers covers every album exclusively and even goes into detail about a month in London where they played an entire album every night. The documentary does give you an appreciation for the Mael brothers and their creativity, not to mention it shows just how far ahead of the times the band was when it came to types of music. They were doing electro-pop several years before it became all the rage of the ’80s.
If It Piques Your Interest
Is The Sparks Brothers a must-see film? No, but if you want some insight on one of the most influential bands of the last 50 years and are a lover of music, it just might be worth your time. At just under two and half hours it is a long film documenting all their albums, but the film will you give an appreciation for all the hard work and effort it went into making each album unique while sticking to their own set of beliefs. Ron and Russell are a very likable duo who have no problem making fun of themselves, which only endears them to you more. As they continue making more music, I think they are perfectly okay with being the best British band to come out of America.