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The Wonder Girls Movie


The Wonder Girls Movie

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Trailer: Wonder Girls Movie TeenNick Trailer (YouTube)

The Wonder Girls Movie premiered on Teen Nick (Teen Nickelodeon) last night, to much fanfare this week of the Korean Invasion of America, with this big movie, as well as Girls Generation's US debut (making the rounds on Letterman and Live with Kelly).

The movie, as expected given the channel it was on... was more targeted towards the younger teen demographic. If I hadn't known who the Wonder Girls were previously, I would have thought them to be a group of 16 year olds (with exception to the club/DJ scene).

The story revolved around the Wonder Girls with their manager, JY Park (of Dream High fame), in tow traveling to the US for their tour, but upon landing in New York, they somehow manage to visit the Apollo and enter an amateur contest (to prove themselves) where they competed against Nick Cannon's School Gyrls group - Nick Cannon has a cameo in this one too.

This was no Dream High. I found the story pretty shallow and uninteresting, even though I expected a bubble-gum pop story - even the Spice Girls movie had a better plot - though I suppose not an apples to apples comparison given the Spice Girls movie was bigger budgeted for the big screen.

For me the major flaw of this film was there wasn't much charm in terms of the Korean aspect. Viewers know they were from Korea, but the film seemed targeted at being too Americanized and Urbanized... as if these girls were trying to tap into the US Hip Hop/Rap culture. This movie is what you'd expect of a western production, a potential good gateway for those new to Korean entertainment I suppose, but for me who has found Korean entertainment as an outlet away from the same ole western programs, this didn't do anything for me. I do not blame the producers for going the route they did though, they had to go mainstream for this new audience.

In trying to look at these Girls as characters, I don't feel I really got to know who they are, or the significant differences in their personalities - the characterization was weak. The other big flaw for me, the songs and performances in the movie were minimal and lacking in variety, and nowhere as good as the videos the WG group have done previously. I would have liked to have seen more songs and more performance numbers, the only good one was The DJ is Mine scene.

The impression I got overall was girls looked kind of like over-make-uped teens in some moments and at others too old to be teens - it didn't seem to mesh with me, and their costumes and make up looked substandard. In their videos or as we see in their Happy New Year video on KBS World (prior to the KBS America K-Dramas) they looked attractive and cute, but in the movie at times the optics of the visuals weren't too good - either they looked too young or dressed too inappropriately in various times. If I didn't know who the Wonder Girls were... I don't know if I'd necessarily have sought out their music based on this movie. Without the Korean charm, the girls, the movie production, just felt like another manufactured girl group.

On the plus side, it was interesting to have this movie completely in english and the girls and JY Park did a great job in that regard. Considering the kind of movie this is, I thought their acting performances were suitable for this movie, no real qualms there. The songs in the movie were disappointing as I mentioned above, but I did very much like the incredibly catchy theme song The DJ is Mine. It was the film's saving grace in my book. I'll probably be listening to this nonstop for a while. LOL! emoticon

The DJ is Mine Movie Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doXnuStEf2I (Official Wonder Girls YouTube Channel)

In the end, if nothing else... hopefully all the Korean invasion in the US this week will help promote Korean culture again after the Korean Wave dissipated years ago. Perhaps some of the teens that saw the Wonder Girls Movie last night, may be the fresh blood of future K-Drama english sub viewers.

Last edited by SuperRookie, 2/3/2012, 1:47 pm


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Re: The Wonder Girls Movie


While the Korean Wave may have dissipated to those of us who were in at its inception here in the States (and quite invisible then to mainstream America), it is only now washing over Europe, Eastern Europe, and many parts of Asia. Far from dissipating, the Korean Wave train is gaining momentum and has not reached its crest. Unfortunately I think we here have already gone through it, as it now moves on to other regions in the world, big time. What we knew as the Korean Wave I doubt will ever happen here again. What might happen is the Korean groups can enter the mainstream market to some degree, but I'll be surprised if they really make it big here in the American music industry as it stands today.

Watching the various groups perform here, I get the feeling we saw 'the real thing' back in the day, but as mentioned above, what's being offered to the American public now has lost it's Korean-ness, the very spice and energy that set them apart in our minds and hearts. I saw Girls Generation on Letterman the other night and was sorely disappointed. It wasn't Girls Generation at all, in my opinion, but a watered-down, quite boring shell of what they've always been as performers. The whole spark and sharpness, the edge that was many cuts above all the other groups just wasn't visible at all. Instead of the fabulous group they are, the Letterman performance was a sham. I even found myself anticipating their performance, having pride in thinking the American audience would finally see how great this group really is. I was deeply disappointed.

In watching David Letterman and Bill Murray's reactions to their performance, it seemed little more than ogling a bevy of young, beautiful, sexy young women. Granted, that they are... but they are so much more as performers.
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Re: The Wonder Girls Movie


Good points nchristi. I agree with your comments. To clarify, what I meant in terms of dissipation was in the context of the US and that it dissipated (dispersed and spread elsewhere). In the US it waned in various respects - K-Pop music continued and/or grew in its visibility especially with YouTube, but films and TV didn't enjoy the same kind of interest or exposure it used to. In the last year or two though, there seems to be growth with K-Dramas again, in additions to the previous ring of drama websites, now with these shows becoming more readily available to find on more mainstream video streaming sites like Hulu and Netflix, as well as hype and visible vocal support discussion through social media.... so there's some renewed stirrings in some ways here, but so are the emerging and dizzying array of genres to find and watch on TV and online. In that sense K-Drama seems harder and harder to find by accident for the unfamiliar. So, I share your view on the limitation of where we are and that things have a ways to go as we once knew it, at least in the form we knew it.

I also agree with your sentiments on the Letterman Girls Generation performance as well - While there aren't really any great, great performances that I personally recall over time in that venue, my expectations were low, but even with low expectations, I also was disappointed nonetheless with their showing on Letterman. But maybe it had to do with the song too, not my favorite of theirs.

Have you had the chance to see or later on see a clip of their showing on LIVE! with Kelly? I liked that one a lot more. But I found it to ultimately still suffer (to a lesser degree) from the flaws you mention in your post.

It will be interesting to see how the events this week play out and what kind of impact will it have here for potential new audience in the future... will it spark the same interest in K-Pop or Korean Culture that it did when many of us non-Koreans discovered and grew to love and immerse ourselves in Korea-media? For me it was a little clip on CNN of SES in 1999 when they featured Asian pop music and that helped getting me interested in K-Pop and eventually years later with K-Dramas. While perhaps this won't be that impactful as a singular moment, I hope this week generates some new interest from those who didn't previously know about all the offerings of Korean culture.

Edit: Additions

Last edited by SuperRookie, 2/3/2012, 11:43 pm


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Re: The Wonder Girls Movie


Just saw this by accident when I was browsing my cable TV grid - For those who missed it, The Wonder Girls movie is re-airing tonight, Feb. 12 at 6pm on Teen Nick (TNICK or TNCK).

Good to see it re-airing for those who missed it before and perhaps larger exposure on a weekend - I was a little surprised that they didn't re-air this with an encore showing or repeated several times since its premiere - it's not like Teen Nick has anything new or good to watch. LOL!

For some reason, I may watch this movie again, even though I had a lot of criticism towards this movie and not to mention several episodes of Ojakgyo Family and Gwanggaeto on my DVR yet to still catch up on.... emoticon LOL!

Last edited by SuperRookie, 2/12/2012, 4:06 pm


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Re: The Wonder Girls Movie


In some ways after viewing the movie for a second time, my impression overall, was a better one than initially - the hour flew by and I was mostly satisfied. Perhaps it's because my expectations were gone and I knew exactly what I was in for this time.

My main criticism though from my initial post, on second viewing, was one that became even more entrenched. Now that I was paying more attention to this part, I must say, the performance numbers in the movie were way too lackluster and really, nonexistent, compared to their cool music videos. The only good one, The DJ is Mine, plays at the end credit roll. If the viewer didn't sit through this credit roll, then I think this movie, on this front is one that was severely lacking.

I think I've had my share now, and probably will never watch this again. Probably... emoticon Would be interested in a sequel (hopefully better setting, location shots, story and better performance numbers that really showcase the talent that is Wonder Girls) or maybe another movie that features another Korean group.


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Re: The Wonder Girls Movie


Oops, missed this movie. However, regarding Korean culture....I feel that it should be promoted more in the US, especially here in SoCal. I just purchased Park Hyo Shin's cd [Gold thru Amazon] and I love it. Even with the language barrier, the passion and warmth of the music is international. I would love to attend a live performance of this most talented singer and I am searching the web to see if he is scheduled here this year, 2014.

Thanks to CJK Dramas, I have been introduced to outstanding artists whether they are actor/actresses or singers and for this I applaud the Korean Entertainment Community. emoticon
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