Written by Matt See & Edited by Dave Ong, Ervin Llobrera, Mark Yu
Before you read this review, please take note that there will be spoilers, so don’t read this if you haven’t watched the movie yet.
When I watched Our Shining Days, there were a lot of things that crossed my mind. I came expecting another cheesy, cliché, romance movie in the wraps behind the story. However, I am glad that my expectations were wrong.
What I saw from the movie was a “no-cheese” film that went beyond the boundaries of a movie revolving around music. The plot had to borrow some ideas about two factions facing each other at the beginning but coming to terms in the end, such as that of Romeo and Juliet. However, that did not intervene with the main focus which was to portray music as a means to bring people together, and that was portrayed very well in the movie.
For instance, before the ensemble was formed, the people from the “second dimension” lived their lives in their own world until the “third dimension” people, Chen Jing and Li You, came around and persuaded them to join their ensemble, though the initial reason might be the most misleading. Also, when their ensemble, 2.5 Dimension, performed live in the ACG (Anime, Computer, Gaming) convention, nobody from the audience cared until they actually started their performance, and that was the time everyone made a big fuss about it and wanted to learn how to play Chinese instruments.
As I watched the movie, I was reminded of another Chinese movie called “Secret”, directed by Jay Chou (I highly suggest watching it so that you’ll get what I mean). Most of the music in that movie was touching, in a similar way that “Secret” was. However, what set this movie apart from “Secret” was that classical songs were being played using Chinese instruments, such as the yangqin. I then remembered the duo named 2Cellos (a duo that covers modern music using cellos) as I watched the war between the classical music and Chinese music students, as the mentality of bringing “newer” music back using “older” instruments was displayed with passion through the Chinese music students, which I loved to hear.
Moving on, when Chen Jing and Li You were asking a favor from the classical music students to help the Chinese music students represent the school in the upcoming Children’s Universal Concert, they obliged, later than never. Because of their cooperation and coming to terms, a surprise performance came around and amazed the audience, especially the children. Later on, there were children (from that audience, I infer) that enrolled at Zhongxia Music Academy (the name of the school where the students are from).
So, what’s my point with all I said? What am I trying to say? Those you may ask, but I answer that by saying this movie, though starting off with the cliché “somebody crushing on somebody” thing, has broken the boundaries for what a music movie should be. I can also say that this can serve as a motivation for those who want to get into music, whatever instrument that may be, whether the piano, violin, or how many instruments you can name. Another thing to point out, the movie portrays the limitless possibilities that music can bring such as great friendships, dreams and goals to set, and means to express emotions through notes, strings, keys, or even voices.
I myself am open-minded, when it comes to music (though I personally don’t like the music of today that much), and that helped me a lot when I watched this movie, because I wouldn’t have been so positive about it, if the opposite happened. Because I found it to be a striking, motivating, revolutionary film, on a scale of 10, I’d give it a solid 9.
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Matt Frederic See11 Feb 2018
Additional note: The war between the two factions (Chinese and Classical music) at the end reminded me of 2Cellos’ cover of “They Don’t Care About Us”. Both are equally great!
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