‘Times’ up from ‘Moon,’ down from ‘Rain’ | Film Review


Prince Sign 'O' The Times
The cover for Prince's concert film "Sign 'O' The Times" (FILE)

Story by D. Brian Conley // News Editor

When I first walked into the theatre to see Sign ‘o’ the Times, Prince’s new movie, I felt something may have been wrong.

While I had the pick of the litter searing wise, five people crowding a movie theatre is not one of your better omens to the quality of the film. Then the movie started. The opening scene, located in the heart of Anycity’s red light district, appeared to be the beginning of another Purple Rain, Prince’s blockbuster hit of 1984. A pair, which appeared to be a married couple, were having an argument.

She wanted him to talk to him immediately after the last words were spoken. Prince was seen in a concert (he wasn’t in the opening scene) playing the song with the same title as the movie.

What followed was yet another vehicle for Prince to strut his ideas and funkadelic music. Overall, it was fairly good.

The music itself, the most important aspect of the 90-minute Prince video, was better than any cut off of Under the Cherry Moon, voted the worst movie of 1986 by many, many publications. Yet it was no where near the quality of Purple Rain or
Prince, who also directed the film, was at his energetic best in the series of concert clips. He danced, pranced and played his heart out through the flick.

One item, or lack thereof, surprised me the most — the almost total lack of explicit sexual content. Prince is known for sexual over- tones in his music and concerts, and fortunately, aside from a few scenes, Sign ‘o’ the Times lacked an over- abundance of such overtones.

The tunes were well produced and mixed and the cuts from scene to scene were well done which added to the continuity of the show. Only the many different costumes Prince and Sheila E., the drummer, wore hinted the film may have been shot at several locations.

Scenes playing off the opener were interplayed throughout the concert, which badly resembled something the Doors would have done with The Unknown Soldier if they had access to ’80s technology and special effects.

However, the acting during the scenes interspersed through the movie was, in a word, horrendous. Prince was attempting to create an artful concert film.

Overall, the production and editing of the movie were well done. The scenes, not counting tbe plot, flowed crisply and the sound was at the right level.

For the Prince lover, this movie would rate five stars. However, for the person who merely likes Prince’s music it’s a two and a half.

To see the full Feb. 9, 1988 print edition, click here.

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