Finally, a review of Mayday’s second 3D movie! Let’s examine the movie posters first. I do not really like the design of the posters. I feel that they are too heavily photoshopped. The one above is still acceptable but one below is just too ‘over’.
It was as if the designer decided to use all the available editing functions on the poster. The entire poster is overwhelmed by the huge fonts, the concert background, Mayday’s distracting hand gestures and the strange water effect. Our dear Ashin looked like he is doing some ‘dragonball’ stunts with his hands. One of my friend commented that the poster reminded her of a soft drink advertisement.
The ‘Warner Brothers’ logo in the trailer makes the movie look so cool!
You can watch the premeire event on Youtube.
There is also a ‘movie special’ where our boys explained more about the process of making the movie. During the interviews, we could see how Mayday had put in great effort to create the best cinematic experience for the audience. I thought the movie special was quite well done as it presented concise and ‘tantalizing’ information about the movie .
We did not plan well and failed to ‘book’ any movie tickets in advance. Knowing that Taichung was flooded with Mayday fans, we tested our luck and went to a centrally located cinema to redeem our movie tickets. Unfortunately, all the movie tickets were sold out. We had to quickly rushed down to an older cinema to watch the 310 p.m. show. We could not catch a later show as we had to be at the concert venue by 6 p.m. In the end, we managed to get movie tickets at the ‘Sunrise Cinema’.
The interior of the movie theatre was surprising clean and ‘proper’. The theatre was almost full – with many Mayday fans! After putting on our 3D glasses, the Mayday concert began!
The movie started like the actual concert with the footages of the news broadcaster video. The video was a montage of different celebrities, like Kevin Tsai, Nicky Wu and JJ Lin, who ‘helped’ Mayday during their various stops around East Asia. After the ‘famous’ ten seconds countdown, the movie ‘exploded’ with fireworks featured in the Kaohsiung’s ‘World Games Stadium’ December 2012 concerts. Mayday rocked the screen with the opening song ‘2012’ which was followed by the fast-paced songs ‘爱情万岁’ and ‘叫我第一名’.
I scrutinized the scenes to examine if there were any improvements from the first 3D movie. I feel that the filming and editing technology could be improved. The 3D effects of the indoor concert scenes were clearer and sharper than the scenes filmed in the outdoors venues like ‘Bird Nest’ and ‘World Games Stadium’. The outdoor concert scenes were grainy and somewhat pixelated. The scenes were not consistent as the 3D effects of close-up shots were lifelike but some scenes, which featured the full stage and audience, were not well-defined. I was slightly disappointed by the technical aspects of the movie. For the first movie, the 3D effects were satisfactory but not ‘perfect’ and I thought there would be more achievements in the technical department in the second movie. I wonder if they encountered great limitations during the filming of the scenes during live concerts that were subjected to many variables and uncertainties. The cinematography and editing elements were rather ‘amateurish’ and unsophisticated. Some of the cinema angles were awkwardly positioned. In some scenes, the microphone stand obscured the frame partially. Moreover, on numerous occasions, there was this strange rotation of the cinema, which created a dizzy ‘Blair Witch-like’ effect. I finally understood the function of the expensive ‘spider cam’ which was utilized in thenKaohsiung concerts. The ‘spider cam’ flew over the audience and hovered in the air to take aerial shots/videos of the concert.
Mayday probably needs a bigger budget to purchase more sophisticated 3D filming equipment in order to capture more defined 3D shots. If only Mayday has the ‘money’ and opportunity to collaborate with the editing crew which worked with Peter Jackson on the ‘Lord of the Rings’ series. When I saw watching some of the spectacular concert scenes, I just wish the technology and editing could support the grandeur of the Nowhere Tour – like how the stunning scenes of the Shire and majestic battle scenes of Helm’s deep unfolded on the screen. I guess the Taiwanese film industry still needs more investment and training in terms of the technology associated with the filming and post-production process of editing 3D films. I applause Mayday for their ambition and vision for pioneering 3D concert movies in Asia. However, they probably need more time to master the craft of 3D technology.
Most of the movie concert scenes were filmed during the big scale concerts in Beijing Bird nest (2012) and Kaohsiung (December 2012). The movie featured some emotive ‘talking’ scenes where our boys bared their souls to their fans. The first ‘talking scene’ showed Ashin speaking in the Shanghai Nowhere concert on 10 October 2012. There was the famous ‘talking scene’ in Beijing where Ashin told the fans that Mayday took 13 years to hold their first concert in ‘Bird Nest’. I like how they created a montage of concert footages from different countries like Taipei (1 January 2012) and Kaohsiung (30 December 2012) which evoked a truckload of happy memories.
After a sequence of concert scenes from different countries, Ashin took over the screen with ‘星空’ and ‘我不愿让你一个人’, Just like the actual concert, various videos that featured the boy and his grandfather and Jerry Yen and Ariel Lin were inserted into the movie at different junctures. One of the most enjoyable part of the movie was to able to ogle at Ashin as his face was magnified by the movie screen. It was magical when he appeared on screen in full ‘Ashin’’glory and sang ‘仓颉’ and ‘你不是真正的快乐’. It was surprising that ‘盛夏光年’ was included in the movie! I love the song so much!
I was looking forward to ‘诺亚方舟’ as I hoped to see some amazing 3D effects for this song. The result was rather satisfactory as the 3D effects were quite spectacular as the light rays enveloped the scenes. The movie also featured a hidden gem ‘一千个世纪’ from the original version of the 末日 tour. Another of my favorite segment was Ashin’s duet with Jia Jia for the ‘如烟’ and ‘如果还有明天’ medley. Ashin should have won the ‘Best Lyricist’ award with ‘如烟’!
As a 3D movie, it must entertain the audience with the usual bags of 3D gimmicks. During ‘拥抱’, there were adorable 3D butterflies fluttering on the screen. However, I did not really understand why the butterflies… Perhaps the butterflies would be more suitable for the ‘燕尾蝶’? Or mayday I am missing some links between gay themes in the song and the ephemeral beauty of butterflies? There were some 3D dots flying around during ‘第二人生’. The ‘干杯’ segment was quite moving with the footages of fans singing fervently to the song and some fans even ‘干杯’ with bottles of ‘Yakult’. The spectacular segment ended with beautiful fireworks!
After many Mayday classic songs, the movie transited to ‘backstage’ scenes. I was excited to watch the rehearsal scenes because I thought the movie was not just purely about the concert but it will also feature the preparations and rehearsal for the concert. When Masa said something about a philosophical transition (哲学上的转变), I was laughing non-stop. However, my expectations were overturned when the movie launched into the concert version of ‘伤心的人别听慢歌’. I love this song but the transition was just so abrupt. Why did Masa say that? And why did they insert that scene for a few minutes? I was disappointed that was the last and only ‘backstage’ scene. The rest of the movie was all about the concert. I was really expecting more ‘behind the scenes’ content. I think they may be constrained by time and was rushing to ‘complete’ the movie. The movie felt a little ‘rushed’ and unpolished. I guess they had to release the movie by a certain deadline to maximise profits. Without the ‘behind the scenes’ content, the movie felt like an enlarged version of the concert DVD instead.
The movie continued with ‘三个傻瓜’ and ‘OK LA’. For ‘OK LA’, the boys showcased their playing skills during their solo instrumental segments. Stone and Monster were elevated on the runway as they displayed their suave guitar playing skills. Masa was totally dashing as he strummed his bass guitar and when he slammed the last note, fantastic fireworks erupted! Guanyou showcased his drums and ended the segment. Somehow, I felt that the other boys did not enjoy as much screen time as our dear Ashin – especially Masa and Guanyou.
What is a Mayday movie without the classic ‘温柔? We had the 3D confetti-falling effect for this song again (like the previous movie). However, due to the flaws associated with editing and post-production process, Ashin looked so pale, skinny and somewhat ‘artificial’ during this segment. Next, the ‘Mayday tank’ and ‘OAOA’ segment was shown. One of the most amazing experiences of watching the movie was to relive the concert highlights again. Most of the concert footages were taken during the Kaohsiung December 2012 tour. As I attended the December 2012 concerts, it was rather surreal to watch the movie knowing that I was there when the concert was being filmed. When I saw the ‘tank’ segment, I was excited as I saw it ‘live’! After the ‘high’ ‘OAOA’ sequence, Mayday sang the inspiring ‘有些事现在不做 一辈子都不会做了’. I love the lego animation but wished it were more 3D.
Of course, Mayday had to show one of the most emotional scenes during their tour in Beijing ‘Bird Nest’ when the entire stadium sang ‘倔强’ and formed the gigantic ‘human rainbow’. Ashin removed his shoes during this segment as he wanted to feel the ground – to feel the reality as they had finally stepped in ‘Bird Nest’ and fulfilled their dream! As this juncture, many fans were crying in the cinema. Ashin, in his characteristic poetic style, moved many fans which his words. After an emotional segment, the movie played the energetic ‘离开地球表面’. Shortly, after much ‘jumping’, yellow confetti fell when Mayday sang ‘Yellow submarine’ as their ‘诺亚方舟’ emerged on screen. The reference to The Beatles’ yellow submarine is quite an apt metaphor to illustrate Mayday’s immense success in Asia and their reputation as ‘The Beatles of Asia’.
Towards the end of the movie, there was a flashback to ‘March 29 1997’ – the year Mayday was formed. At this point, the audience was reminded that our boys were ordinary mortals before 1997. After 13 years of hard work, they are now the most successful Chinese rock band in East Asia.
The movie ended with our soulful Ashin singing out his heart in ‘突然好想你’. He looked so emotional and vulnerable on stage. I think they selected the perfect song for the movie credits – ‘憨人’. As the credits rolled to the familiar Mayday anthem, I sat back and reflected on Mayday’s journey from 1997 to 2013. The movie effectively documented the 13 years journey of our boys. The widely successful Nowhere tour is a testimony of Mayday’s massive influence on Chinese popular music. Despite some flaws, this movie is still immensely enjoyable for all fans. This is definitely a movie made for the fans. However, like Mayday, I hope the non-fans will have a chance to watch the movie and experience a Mayday concert once in their life. Mayday’s concerts are not just any ordinary music concerts – they reflect Mayday’s impact on popular culture – their songs, their concerts, their fans. Just spend a few dollars and watch the movie – and perhaps you will understand why the fans just cannot stop going for the concerts.