There are so many films out there that express different struggles in life. Some based on true stories and some just very well written that you think it could honestly happen to someone in real life. Lifetime is a television network notorious for its TV movies. These movies generally fall under the Romantic Comedy genre. However, VH1 is said to also come out with some really good TV movies.
"When one of us is late, we are late. When one of us looks or sounds bad, we all look and sound bad. So what's the concept? One band. One Sound." -- Dr. Lee
Drumline hit theaters December of 2002. The budget for this film can be considered small compared to budgets these days for films. $20 million to make this movie and Fox profited greatly by making grossing $60 million. But that's not what this article is about. Budgets aside, I'd like to express how much this film was an inspiration to many to follow their dreams and never give up that fight.
Drumline is about a young, talented street drummer from Harlem who is recruited to Atlanta A&T University, a fictional university created for this film alone. The movie follows Devon Miles, played by Nick Cannon, as he goes through his time at University. The noticeable part about Devon is that he shows up thinking he's going to run the line and be in charge of it, that is until he meets Sean Taylor, senior and section leader of the line Devon wants to be a part of.
The tension between the two characters is real and to the point. Upon meeting Devon, Sean realizes that Devon still has a lot of growing up to do. Devon still thinks he's God's gift to the line and does everything he can to prove his worth to Sean. The entire film tells an amazing story of how a young African American kid learns to put his pride aside and actually accept the help he needs in order to succeed at what he wants to do.
Twelve years later, VH1 decides to create a sequel to the 2002 film. Aiming to focus on a young girl who wants to be a part of the same drumline we were introduced to back in 2002. Sean Taylor comes back as director of the marching band and we do get to see the character dynamic between Sean and Devon again towards the end of the film. Personally, that relationship is such a good one that I was glad they were able to bring both characters back. However, to me this film fell way short of the original.
Drumline 2: A New Beat follows Dani Raymond, despite IMDB stating her last name to be Bolton. She comes from a rather wealthy family and yet the story line claims that she defies her parents in order to attend Atlanta A&T for the drumline. She has dreams of being the first female section leader, but she's only a freshman. Upperclassmen, her own cousin, a love interest, and the rival school are what stand in her way.
However, I feel that this plotline fell flat to me. Despite the film trying to put a strong lead female into the mix and showing that females can do the same things men can do, I don't believe this was the angle that VH1 focused on and I feel that they should have focused on it more. I feel that if they had focused on this, then the plot could have been much stronger. Sure, Dani "defied" her parents by not going to the school they were willing to pay for and she "defied" her parents by stating that she would get a job and pay her own way, in which she accomplished all of that.
But comparing the two storylines of the movies, Devon's struggle was deeper. He came from nothing and had to build himself up with just his talents. Dani came from an upper class Brooklyn family and even had her cousin initially looking after her to make sure she didn't screw up.
Yes, the storylines were different and it definitely showed in the both films. But the part that fell flat the most to me in the second one were the performance pieces of the actual drum line. Below is a clip of the 2002 final competition piece.
Now take a look at the competition piece for Drumline: A New Beat
The difference between the two performances is outstanding to say the least. In the 2002 film, Dr. Lee had combined old school with new school. It almost seemed as if the 2014 film had tried to do the same thing, but failed miserably. The formations the band took in the 2002 were way more impressive because the band continuously moved throughout the entire performance.
Now let's take a look at the final battle scene from the 2002 film:
And finally take a look at the final battle for the 2014 film below:
If you watch the two different films, the reason the first film needed to have a battle between the two drumlines was because the judges could not decipher a winner of the Big Southern Classic competition on final performances alone. The drumline battle was the deciding factor. Whereas, in the sequel, the last battle was added AFTER A&T was named the winner of the competition. So why have the battle in the first place? My guess is that they didn't have enough drumline battles throughout the film, so they needed to squeeze one more battle in there. Personally, the final battle in the first film was my favorite.
I enjoyed both films tremendously, but I have to say that the 2002 DrumLine film is the better one. Whether it was because it was a film that went to theaters and had a budget or not, I feel that it was the stronger film. If you've seen both films tell me what you think in the comments below. Which one do you like better?