Movie Review: BTS’s Burn the Stage (2018)

bts

Me being the BTS fan that I am, I recently went to the movie theaters to watch BTS’s first movie ever ‘Burn the Stage.’ The movie – which falls under the same title as their documentary that aired last year on Youtube Red – premiered globally on Thursday, November 15 with two additional showings on the Saturday and Sunday after because of high demands. The movie follows the Wings world tour as well as the boy group’s appearances at the Billboard Music Awards and the American Music Awards that they attended last year in 2017.

Though the movie was only an 1 hr and 25 minutes, it never felt that short. This could have been because I was fully occupied with watching the clips of the members performing on stage or because I was busy laughing at all the jokes that Jin and Suga commented throughout the movie. Regardless, ‘Burn the Stage’ never felt too short or long for me; it was actually a perfectly-timed movie that had enough substance and content in it to showcase to the world the challenges and wins that BTS faced in all of 2017.

03

Since I was a part of the Wings World Tour that the boys embarked on last year in 2017, I knew that I could especially connect to this movie in a special way. It was heart-warming and a little bittersweet watching just how much work and effort the boys put into the months-long world tour. When they’re not on stage, they’re off-stage either rehearsing, stretching, eating, or making songs back in the hotel room. I especially liked how the movie presented BTS to us in ways that we as viewers could relate: everyone knows and recognizes BTS as the world’s most popular boyband, but behind all the glory and fame, they’re just like any other normal 20-year olds out there. You never forget about this throughout the duration of the movie. Whether it’s clips of the boys barbecuing at a house (which they also filmed at for their V Live show ‘Bon Voyage 2’) and finally getting a break in their world tour or discussing about what they’re going to do once they go on vacation, you’re constantly reminded that BTS are also just human beings like the rest of us. They too have dreams and goals of their own like we all do.

Of course, you also never forget just how incredibly hard the boys work. Footages of Jung-kook nearly fainting after pushing himself a little too over the edge at one of their concerts or clips of the boys having to get treated for their injuries remind you of the challenges that BTS faced on their world tour. Because of this, you learn to never take them for granted. BTS themselves also learned to never take the world tour and the many opportunities to meet their fans around the world for granted which is why they pushed themselves to the limit. Jung-kook feared that he would never be able to perform in South America again so he pushed himself beyond his capacity just to put on a great show for his fans. All the other clips of the members rehearsing before each show or the footages of the members taking the few seconds they were allotted behind the stage to catch their breaths during each concert showcases to you just how intense the world tour was. If that doesn’t scream passion and determination, then I don’t know what does.

The movie updated fans with new clips of the boys at the end of the movie. While the majority of the movie was basically a review of the year 2017 and everything the boys were busy with that year, we also learn how the members felt about it all with individual interviews that were filmed just months ago in 2018 (during the ‘Idol’ era based on the color of their hairs). Big Hit has this special ability in interviewing the boys individually and getting really sincere and heart-felt answers from them. You can tell just how grateful and appreciative the boys are for their fans and the many opportunities that were presented to them in 2017. I too agree that 2017 was a wonderful and amazing year for the boys. They set new records and did things that no other K-Pop group has been able to ever do before. There’s a sense of pride and accomplishment in seeing those things come to life; what you never imagined would ever be possible is possible through BTS.

04

The entire movie was heart-warming and a little bittersweet witnessing just how much BTS has evolved over the years. The seven members who people underestimated and didn’t believe in and never thought would be successful is now performing at sold-out shows all over the world and accomplishing things not many other groups have been able to do. You feel proud of them and know that they deserve every ounce of success and fame that they are earning. However, the other part of it all is also knowing that this fame and success won’t last forever. Just like all the other groups prior to BTS, there will come a time when they will slowly fall and when their time at the top will tumble slowly. Suga’s mentioned about this scary reality a few times before in interviews, but he brought it up once again in the movie. He talked about how there are times when he’s exhausted and doesn’t want to be so busy, but he also realizes that there will come a time when he won’t be able to do all these things he’s doing now with BTS in the future even if he wanted to. That part breaks my heart, but it’s also a reality that I’m already slowly preparing my heart for.

06

Although the entire movie was a huge reminder for me again of why I love BTS and why I still support them after five years since I’ve first saw them (I’ve been a fan since their debut), there was one scene in particular that made me teary-eyed. Even now, I’m not really sure why I wanted to cry during this scene. It was when the boys were just hanging out and relaxing at a house they had reserved and they were barbecuing and swimming there. The movie showed a shot of Suga attempting to open a wine bottle and as he opens the bottle and causes it to explode, the clip begins to operate in slow motion and the narrator mentions how it’s small happy moments like these that the members look upon to give themselves strength when they face hardships and challenges in life. The odd thing is that no other scene in the movie made me want to cry as much as this scene, but I don’t know why. Maybe it’s just the idea that the boys themselves are also human beings like us and also go through struggles of their own that caught my heart and my attention. Sometimes, when they lose hope or energy in life, they reflect back on these small moments which ends up serving as powerful catalysts to keep them going during hard times in life. I’m sure we also have moments in life that we don’t think too much about when it happens, but then they turn out to be wonderful memories later on in life when we reflect back upon them.

The entire movie was a wild rollercoaster filled with many comedic moments (such as with basically anything Jin or Suga did or said), adorable moments (such as with clips of puppy Yeontan with the members), or touching memories (such as clips of rookie BTS back in 2013). Knowing that I was there during those hard times and then witnessing BTS grow the last five years is so bittersweet. Although the movie wasn’t perfect (I wished the narrator was one of the BTS members themselves since he was speaking in the first person), I was so content with how the movie turned out (I absolutely loved all the song choices in the movie. They perfectly fit the scene that they were played for). Of course, the awesome part was also being able to sit in a movie theater with many other BTS fans and being able to watch and celebrate the accomplishments that the boys have achieved. It was also nice to relive the moments in 2017 that now serve as precious memories for both us fans and BTS.

02

The movie was based on experiences and events last year in 2017, but it’s crazy to think about how 2018 is already going to end. 2018 was also another amazing year for BTS and presented the boy group with many more awesome opportunities. I wouldn’t be surprised if another movie about BTS and their adventures in 2018 was also documented and released next year in 2019. Getting to capture and watch these moments at the movie theater is something that I would have never imagined would come true. Though the movie tickets might have been more expensive than usual and it was just as competitive and stressful time buying the movie tickets (just like it was to buy their concert tickets), it was all eventually worth it. Watching the BTS movie was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I certainly don’t regret watching it. I’d like to think that the Wings world tour was a special and meaningful experience for both fans and the BTS members themselves. It was their first time operating a world tour on a much larger scale (‘The Red Bullet’ in 2015 wasn’t as big) and they were able to perform in many more countries as well as complete amazing promotions in the United States. I think the movie itself is proof of that and just how meaningful and precious the world tour and 2017 was to all of us.

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