Review: 'Blackpink: The Movie' sums up K-pop group's first 5 years

Tamar Herman, South China Morning Post

Posted at Aug 05 2021 11:59 AM

Blackpink held its online concert, ‘The Show,’ last January 31, 2021. Twitter: @BLACKPINK
Blackpink held its online concert, ‘The Show,’ last January 31, 2021. Twitter: @BLACKPINK

Happy anniversary, Blackpink! The superstar K-pop quartet celebrated five years in pop music with the release of Blackpink The Movie, which opened in cinemas around the world on August 4.

The 1 hour 40-minute film shows the group’s four members – Jennie, Jisoo, Lisa and Rosé – reflecting on their years together, and puts the spotlight on their live performances.

Blackpink The Movie features footage from concerts ranging from their very first concert in Seoul, South Korea, to this year’s online event The Show, and spends much of its running time showing their dynamic, powerful performances.

With each of the more than dozen songs they perform, different facets of the pop group are showcased; it emphasises the duality of their “black” and “pink” sides through charismatic dance tracks and softer ballads.

The film begins with Rosé reflecting on how they got started, her time in training and how she joined Blackpink’s label, YG Entertainment, then highlights some significant moments in the group’s history. That’s followed by an explosive Blackpink performance of their hit 2018 song Ddu-Du Ddu-Du.

Featuring footage spliced together from different actual performances, this intro is a high-energy moment that may be a homage to the band’s fandom, Blink, as it emulates a trend among K-pop fans of doing a similar thing, known as stage mixes. Stage mixes of Blackpink are especially popular, and one video from 2018 that splices together different performances of Forever Young and Ddu-Du Ddu-Du currently has over 35 million views.

The film continues in much the same vein, interspersing footage of Blackpink performing with brief interviews.

Each of the four members is given time to share their thoughts about their career, their music, the group members’ bond, and Blackpink’s fandom, Blink.

Blackpink the Movie also takes viewers behind the scenes at several of their performances, and around the world to their past concerts, with Blinks from different countries sharing their love for the band.

Segments devoted to Jennie, Jisoo, Lisa and Rosé in turn are gorgeously shot and emphasise their distinct personalities and style – each of the women is associated with a different luxury fashion house as brand ambassadors.

August 8 will mark five years since the release of Blackpink’s first two songs, Boombayah and Whistle, and the release of the movie is one of several events the group’s label, YG Entertainment, is staging to celebrate the anniversary.

The members recently joined the fan-to-artist communication platform Weverse, where they can talk directly with fans. They have also released new video content and merchandise, and announced what appears to be a Blackpink-inspired island that players of the popular video game Animal Crossing can visit.

It may be a pandemic-era production, but Blackpink the Movie touches on the human bond formed between artists and listeners. It is best watched on the big screen with your friends (coronavirus permitting), official Blackpink bright pink hammer light stick in hand.

Fans who watch Blackpink the Movie will experience the same satisfaction, excitement and rush of adrenaline they feel after seeing their idols live in concert. Viewers may not know the Blackpink members personally, but will be moved to cheer for their success.

The only slight disappointment with Blackpink The Movie is that it doesn’t highlight in any detail the history of the group or the milestones in their career beyond some of their concerts. The film would be more approachable for casual viewers if it gave the context to all they’ve achieved.

For those who want a more narrative-driven documentary, Blackpink: Light Up the Sky, was released by Netflix in 2020.

To be sure, in Blackpink The Movie the group’s members do talk about a lot of things, and as they look back on their careers there are some heartfelt moments – including one that ends with Lisa in tears as she talks about feeling love from all over the world as she pursues her dreams. But ultimately this is a concert film that celebrates the four women, their performances and the musicality that has won them fans around the world.


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