Fri, Apr 18, 2008 - Page 17 News List

[ Film Review ] Behind the scenes of `One Million Star'

It was only a matter of time before a movie about Taiwan's pop idol `reality' show was made

By Ho Yi  /  STAFF REPORTER

On the surface, Stars (星光傳奇), a movie that tracks the fortunes of One Million Star (超級星光大道) pop idol competition contestants, seems nothing short of a commercially calculated attempt to exploit the popularity of a show that took Taiwan’s entertainment industry by surprise last year.

In all fairness, the well-executed documentary, which follows the second season’s hopefuls’ pursuit of fame and fortune, is smooth and pleasant to watch and technically proficient. Glances of the players’ offstage lives save the film from descending into a hollow publicity vehicle — just — and reinforce the plebeian fantasy that any Tom, Dick or Harry could be plucked from obscurity and catapulted to fame and fortune.

Second-season champion Yuming Lai (賴銘偉) is portrayed as swinging between the traditional and the contemporary as a rocker, medium and member of a divine dancing Eight Generals (八家將) troupe.

Rachel Liang (梁文音) steals the show as an orphaned Aborigine, as does Gina Li (李千娜), for being a young single mother of two.

By underscoring the importance of dreams, hope, family values and friendship to the show’s appeal, the movie readily positions itself as an auxiliary product of a successful showbiz commodity.

The documentary’s producer, Chan Jen-hsiung (詹仁雄), said the contests’ power to move audiences lies in the honesty and innocence that the young aspiring singers exhibit.

Veteran producer Wang Wei-chung (王偉忠) concludes that the show’s success comes from the contenders’ unreserved displays of emotion.

Unfortunately, the documentary fails to take a more cerebral look at the mechanisms behind the TV program’s popularity and, therefore, leaves the One Million Star phenomenon largely unexplored.

By the final scenes, the seemingly endless group hugs and tears are enough to wear down even the most cynical of viewers. The formula is a winner, even if the film is not.

Also See: One Million Star Film Notes

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