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Raw Spice: The Unofficial Story of the Making of the Spice Girls (DVD Review)

29 Jun, 2008 By: David Greenberg

Raw Spice

Street 7/1/08
Shout! Factory
$19.98 DVD
Not rated.

The release of Martin Scorsese's Rolling Stones documentary, Shine a Light, might have many music fans wondering “Huh, isn't it about time for a good documentary about the Spice Girls?”

Well, maybe not, but that should be no reason to miss this breezy, compelling and nothing-less-than-consistently amusing pop music chronicle. In fact, it could be educational to compare the two films in the context of the music industry: One is about veteran rockers approaching what could be the beginning of the end of their career, and the other film captures the formative gestation period of a group of five simple English girls being groomed and engineered, poised to become one of the biggest all-female pop music machines in history.

That is, Raw Spice is about the Pygmalion-like nurturing of these young women, the days before the glamour, the hit singles and sold-out concerts. This film shows the first steps toward all of that, and it is a real eye-opener, especially to anyone who enjoys or aspires to make pop music.

“Raw” is appropriate for the title as it so accurately describes the shaky, amateurish home movie quality of the video production, as well as the energy of the performers and their unrefined abilities to sing and dance.

The film begins with day one of auditions, continues through the grueling rehearsal process and the band's “Real World”-style living arrangements, and culminates with a showcase performance for music industry bigwigs.

Besides the five members of the band and others hired to be a part of the production, the film also includes candid interviews with young Chris Herbert, who initiated the project and ultimately emerges, in a shocking turn of events, as the not-so-successful would-be mastermind of the group's rise to superstardom.

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