Alyssa Cheng

Alyssa Cheng standing outside the movie theater, awaiting the showing of Burn The Stage.

I Care About K-Pop

On November 15, 2018, BTS’s Burn the Stage opened in theatres all over the world. The movie is an extension of the K-Pop group’s YouTube Original series of the same name. As dedicated as always, BTS’s fanbase, ARMY (Adorable Representative MC for Youth), bought over one million pre-sale tickets all together.

The documentary-style movie follows the lives of Korean pop sensation through 2017 on their Wings world tour. It is almost entirely in Korean with English subtitles. There is  narration, in the form of a poem using an endless desert as a metaphor for their journey.

The documentary reveals the hectic life of a K-Pop idol, as well as the group’s dedication to their work. They suffer through injuries but continue to push themselves, like Jungkook, who nearly passes out during a concert but keeps performing with one hundred percent effort. They constantly doubt themselves on whether they deserve all the love they recieve. They are disappointed in themselves when they make mistakes because they feel like they will let the ARMY down. This is demonstrated by Jimin, who says he almost “cried [his] eyes out” after making a mistake during rehearsal for his solo performance of Lie.

On the other hand, no matter how much they accomplish, they stay humble and feel immense pride for everything they achieve. Several times after the group wins their first Billboard Music Award, they mention how validated and grateful it made them feel.

The film shows their offstage personalities, such as Jin’s dad jokes, as well as the bond between the members. You can really feel the love they have for each other. They always encourage and help each other grow.

There was some footage from 2013, their debut year, included near the end of the movie. It was compared to similar situations from 2017 and was used the show how much BTS has grown and evolved, both as individuals and a group.

The movie constantly shows how grateful the members are to their fans, and is reinforced at the very end of the movie with a simple but sweet message, “Special thanks to our wings, ARMY.”

The movie was very interesting and inspiring, and as an ARMY, it made me very proud. I think audience members would only get the full experience as an ARMY. Only an ARMY would react to all the inside jokes, such as “I purple you.” Something that really stood out to me was the role of the leader, in this case, RM. Most of the time, fans can’t see what goes on backstage. Thanks to this movie though, it is clear how important the leader is to the group. My only major complaint is the subtitles. They help us English speakers understand, but there were a few parts spoken in English, and those had subtitles too. Just their presence was distracting, but they were also incorrect. In addition to that, the subtitles in general romanized their real names oddly. For example, RM’s real name is usually romanized Kim Namjoon, but in the movie was Kim Namjun. Suga’s real name is usually romanized Min Yoongi, but in the movie was Min Yoon Ki.

This movie can be interesting for non-fans, but is perfect for ARMYs to see the backstage life of their idols. I was inspired by BTS’s hard work and dedication, as well as entertained by the stories of the movie. It showcased the hardships of the Korean music industry, as well as the accomplishments and love it brings. The movie perfectly demonstrates how K-Pop can brings people together with leadership and dedication to their work and fans.

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