Anyone who follows BTS is probably more than aware of the movie, “Burn The Stage”, which has been airing this weekend at select theatres. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to be able to go see it on Saturday, and I’d like to share my experience for those who may not have had the opportunity to see it. Now, this isn’t completely a review of the movie itself and as such, should not really contain any spoilers (with one exception that I note). This is mainly about what it was like to go watch the film. So, without further ado, welcome to my experience watching “Burn The Stage”.
First of all, the movie itself was WONDERFUL! I’ll say it louder for the people in the back: WONDERFUL! It rotated between lighthearted, funny moments (plenty of jokes to go around) and darker, often subtle moments about being an idol and the difficulties and pressures BTS face constantly. There were (many) scenes of them purely enjoying themselves and their absolute joy at music shows in America that were grounded by times where they were hurt and still found the will to keep going, which was very admirable. The members themselves were very insightful at times in the film about their beliefs and motivations as artists. This same level of depth was also present in the narration, which used themes present in BTS’ hidden track from Love Yourself 承 ‘Her’, “Sea (바다)” (Lyrics: https://colorcodedlyrics.com/2017/09/bts-bangtansonyeondan-sea-bada). In fact, the same exact metaphor about the ocean and desert that drove the song was often referenced in transition narrations throughout the film, a direct quote from the song even being used on a single occasion. Yet, simultaneously, several scenes of the members being themselves and just plain adorable were present to keep the mood from becoming too deep and dark for viewers. (Yoongi was quite hilarious to watch at some parts, and of course, Jin struck with his dad jokes as always. There was a lot of entertainment in this department from BTS.)
With many of the members having their stand-out moments in the hour-and-a-half of footage, it felt as if some were a lot more soft-spoken. For instance, I can only think of a couple of memorable scenes with Jimin, and neither one was particularly happy, though one was more subtly dark than the other. In contrast, other members had MANY scenes that I vividly remember. While watching, I was a little curious as to why this would happen. The only other thing I can think of regarding the film itself that bothered me a little was that the person who wrote the subtitles decided to put a WHITE font over WHITE clouds (a terrible combination), and that irritated me for the ten seconds it was on the screen while my eyes squinted to read it. This one was more of a pet-peeve than a real problem, though.
Now, I can 100% say with certainty that no movie theatre experience will ever come close to this one in particular (unless another group with a huge following releases a movie, in which case I’ll be buying tickets to that as well). First, I had walked into the theatre, and half of the people had BTS jackets or shirts on. I even saw someone with an adorable Chimmy shirt while in line for movie snacks and people with Tata plushies. I had gone with friends, and only one of the three of us actually was wearing a BTS jacket in the middle of what was like a fan-gathering. (I felt a little out of place in my martial arts shirt.) Safe to say, I hadn’t seen that many ARMYs in one place since I went to Office Depot right after “Epiphany” was released, and the Sharpie testing board had been attacked by at least twenty people, including myself, but that’s a story for another time. Then, the movie room itself is where the real fun was (and a little frustration, as there were barely any seats for our party). People had ARMY bombs they were waving around to show support before the movie (someone even had a BlackPink light stick, which I found amusing as someone who is a part of multiple fan-bases). It looked like a BTS concert was about to start up in that room with all the visible hype right then.
When the movie started, the place went mad. People were screaming like crazy, and it was annoying me a little because I couldn’t hear the introduction very well. That was the only thing that was a negative about the whole experience, actually. I was pretty thankful for the subs (which had to be read the entire time, since everything was obviously in Korean, save for a few lines), though I know they irritate some people because they can be a hassle to keep up with, but these were done well and not detrimental to the film. (As a side-note, during the beginning of the movie, I died laughing when the BigHit intro played and thought they were going to play an MV first to troll everyone. They didn’t, but it was a funny thought.) People reacted to the movie like BTS was actually standing where the screen was and could hear us. Honestly, it felt like they could sometimes in those moments, even though the obviously couldn’t. There was no shortage of clapping, “aww”-ing, and cheering throughout the showing. It was a loud but immersed audience there that day.
Now, there was one thing unique about my experience that you likely won’t encounter at most theatres, even with the same movie, but I’ll discuss it anyway. The power had gone out smack-dab in the middle of the movie, and the place went tribal, and by that, I mean it turned into a whole ARMY ritual session. The flashlights went on immediately when everyone realized what had happened. Some crafty person even took it upon themselves to point theirs at the screen and make shadowy hand symbols on it, which included several types of finger hearts and the “okay” hand. At the same time, everyone screamed out fan-chants in messy synchronization. (Half of the theatre was a name behind.) People also shouted the lyrics to IDOL and Magic Shop (the second was quite beautiful in a way, actually). It also happened to be that someone dragged a Bluetooth speaker along and played the IDOL MV out loud to everyone as we all followed along to the lyrics, though that had been cut short by the movie finally coming back on.
After elaborating on the things that occurred, I would like to quickly acknowledge the music used throughout the movie. I thought it was great that music from even early albums was used to show the growth of the group over the past five years. I vividly remember hearing “Look Here (여기 봐)” and seeing and hearing the “No More Dream” MV. Also, the orchestral version of Spring Day that was used as background music needs a special mention because it was so gorgeous and emotional in its placement.
Quick spoiler (only this paragraph): The song choice during the credits (Paradise/낙원) almost brought me to tears after having listened to the members’ commentaries at the end because it made the meaning of the song hit me so much harder after hearing Yoongi’s insights. (If you haven’t read the lyrics, please take a moment to do so, if you would like, since I believe they are very beautiful: https://colorcodedlyrics.com/2018/05/bts-bangtansonyeondan-paradise-nagwon)
Quick spoiler over.
All-in-all, the whole movie was a very enjoyable experience for me, and something about it was amazing, even if it was just to watch BTS through a screen with a bunch of other people. But, I think that having all the people there to share a common interest and passion for a group with was what made it so special. If you didn’t have the chance to go to any of the showings, I hope this short blog was a good, fun read for you to know what it was like. (Let’s hope BigHit releases a DVD, too!) If you were able to go, feel free to share your experience with everyone in the comments! Thank you all for reading, and have an awesome day!