[Written by: Lucia Marquez-Leaman]
I am a second generation Spice Girls fan, a sacred obsession carefully passed on by familial elders. Having come 20 years late to the party I have been deprived the luxuries of the super- fans back in their heyday alas, I will never be able to throw my balled up pants at Geri or whatever crazed fans used to do before twitter. So when The Grosvenor cinema advertised a special 20th anniversary screening of ‘Spice World’ I ditched my very real plans that were definitely happening at the altar of the Spice Girls and their great work.
So my good pal Laura, a first time viewer, and I stocked up on mini bottles of wine and settled into what surely would be a perfect few hours. Spice World of course is a mess of a film, it spans every genre on purpose from mockumentary to a particularly confusing foray into science fiction. However, as it teases the audience with it’s exaggeration of all the girls’ characteristics it comes across as surprisingly self-aware. This film knows what it is and exalts in it. It’s obviously safe to say that I loved it.
One great thing about the film is the sheer amount and the quality of the cameos. There is no greater pleasure than a cinema full of people who forgot Roger Moore was in Spice World collectively remember that Roger Moore is in Spice World. I cannot begin to fathom what brought him to his choice to partake in this carnival of chaos but I am deeply grateful. It wasn’t just the cameos that got to the audience. People were singing along, loudly praising the girls outfits, laughing loudly and unapologetically at the cheesy jokes or increasingly ridiculous stakes. The excitement proved too much for my companion Laura, a girl not blessed with whispering abilities, who could not contain the squeals of approval for the films endless plot twists.
It is very strange to think this film came out just over a year after the Spice Girls’ debut album ‘Spice’ which came out in 1996. The sheer velocity of Spice Girls’ career trajectory is palpable along with their core message of ‘Girl Power’ – their very own commercialised feminist catchphrase. ‘Girl Power’ is the capitalist sister of feminism in some ways, but even the most cynical cynic can’t deny how the sheer exposure of feminist ideas to such a wide audience helped create a world where being a feminist wasn’t a taboo anymore.
There is a misplaced nostalgia in watching this film 20 years after the hysteria of ‘Spice Mania’, a call to a 90s teenhood I never had. Thinking forward, it is somehow strange knowing that in the next 20 years, I may watch Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’ or One Direction’s ‘This is Us’ in the same way. Although, it will probably be on the inflight cinema of the space shuttle that is taking us away from the nuclear wasteland we call earth.