There are quite a number of blockbusters in theatres now: you’ve got Aquaman, the latest DC superhero movie, you’ve got Once Upon a Deadpool, a toned-down version of Deadpool 2 for family viewing (seriously, what fun is that) and you’ve got Bumblebee: The Movie, a movie that has absolutely nothing to do with a certain Temasek Polytechnic student.
But if you’re one who’s always on the lookout for sleeper hits (i.e. movies that don’t get a lot of publicity but perform very well in the box office), there’s one sleeping in cinemas now.
More than Blue (比悲傷更悲傷的故事), a Taiwan Remake of the Popular Korean Movie
I know I’m a tad too late to this review, but given that the theatre has a full house even when I watched it last week, I reckon this is going to be the next Train to Busan (also a sleeper hit).
Showing in cinemas since 13 December 2018, More Than Blue is a remake of the Korean movie with the same name.
Back in 2009, when Facebook was five years old and Instagram was mere one year old, the Korean movie More Than Blue became a sensation in Korea, earning over USD$3.5 million.
The plot is pretty…Korean, to say the least. Guy loves girl, guy has terminal illness, guy keeps it a secret and guy sacrifices for girl: the premise is so overused, you won’t be blamed if you refuse to step into the cinema upon reading the synopsis.
In fact, that was what I thought as well: what’s with the boring plot and why are people are obsessed with it?
But read any reviews online and you’ll see people singing a different tune: it supposedly made even the manliest man cry.
Also, numbers are the best feedback, and here are some to shock you: the film was released in Taiwan and Hong Kong on 30 November 2018, and within 9 days of release, it passed the $100 million NTD mark—faster than the hit title Our Times (我的少女時代), which took 10 days to hit that figure.
By the 11th day, it has become the highest grossing Taiwanese film in 2018, and it’s still showing in cinemas.
Starring Jasper Liu and Ivy Chen (who was talented-spotted in Jacky Wu’s GuessX3), the movie is only showing in Cathay cinemas, and let me warn you in advance: seats are selling fast in every cinema.
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I kid you not: today’s Wednesday, and now is about 1:00 p.m.; take a look at the number of seats left for a 9:20 p.m. showtime in Causeway Point:
Unless you don’t mind sitting right in front of the screen like those eight people you see above, you’d have to find another day to watch it because it’s full again.
In the last two weekends, finding a seat is as hard as finding someone from the hawker centre returning his or her trays.
If numbers don’t convince you, then let’s see if my words would do the unthinkable.
There’s no need to talk about the acting: all the actors are seasoned actors, including supporting roles like 鬼鬼 who played a stereotypical Taiwanese singer. In other words, for the movie to really stand out, the storyline and soundtrack must be more than perfect.
And they are.
While you can criticize the clichéd plot based on the synopsis, what they didn’t mention is the twist—in fact, while plot twists usually occur at the end of the movie, the plot twist for this occurred somewhere in the middle.
And from then on, it’s a roller-coaster of tears.
Suffice to say, that means it’s rather boring during the first part of the movie, and while they’re actually foreshadows to prepare you for the twist, you’ll tend to fall asleep fast, though you’ll regret after that because every bit of detail matters and contribute to the ending.
Sounds of sobbing are so expected after the plot twist, and you’ll be forgiven even if you’re a guy crying out loud. Trust me, a guy’s sitting next to me and he cried so hard, I wondered if his girlfriend or wife is going to console him (but I guess she’s crying just as hard).
You see, the editing of the movie is done in a way that allows you to absorb information, and then leave a few minutes of unnecessary dramatic slow-mo scenes just for you to cry your guts out. I’m no film person but according to my colleagues, one’s with film diploma and one’s with literature degree, this is done deliberately.
Let’s just say that the movie has done it so perfectly, I’m screaming for a different ending, but anyways.
A great storyline with great actors won’t have worked unless it has a great soundtrack.
And like what Yoda would say, “Goody soundtrack, it has.”
One of the Best Soundtracks Ever
Our Times has got 小幸运, You Are the Apple of My Eye has got 那些年. What does More Than Blue has?
If it sounds familiar, it’s because it’s one of the top songs in 2018: sung by A-Lin (who also guest-starred in the movie), it’s currently second in Y.E.S. 93.3 醉心龙虎榜:
Imagine seeing your favourite characters losing their love ones as the song played loudly in the background: you’d have to be made of anger to be able to suppress your tears.
Unlike Our Times, which has a mix of comedy and tragedy, this is pure tragedy: the movie did try to include some comedic elements but to me, they don’t work.
However, the tragedy part works like magic: in fact, I’m sure people who have watched it would agree that it’s so much more touching than Our Times, yet at the same time not as melodramatic as a Korean drama.
Should you watch? You bet.
Rating: 4.5 / 5 (the first hour is pretty boring but it turns to gold after that)
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