Friday, April 4, 2008

See Planet B-Boy!

Alright, I don't usually go out of my way to vouch for a film (alright, that's somewhat a lie), but I have to talk about this new independent film that just hit the Kendall Square Cinema. It's called
"Planet B-Boy." It is the definition of what a GOOD documentary should be and then some. This is going to be a gushing review and if you just want a hilarious comic book panel or more illicit pictures of Pokemon...turn away. Alright, just one picture before the movie review.

Happy now?

Ready for a lesson from a film fanatic? No? Click away now then. Seriously. Alright. For the one other person that may care (or are afraid of leaving this post), I want to ask a question. What makes a good documentary? Well, I like to think about it by asking the following questions:

1) "Why the hell should I be making a film about a subject that can easily be described in some other medium?"

Basically, is there something beneficial about putting your subject material into a documentary style? In Planet B-Boy, seeing the subject/topic on the silver screen is 60% of what makes this film work. Before I entered this film, I knew what b-boying was (even from a visual standpoint), but this film showed me WHAT IT ACTUALLY WAS. Anyone can tell you that it is an expression of one's self, but the film was actually able to deliver on those words and managed to captivate the audience in the process. Which leads me to what also makes this film work...

2) "Who the hell do I follow in this film and who am I rooting for?"

This film focuses on teams from the US, Japan, South Korea (2 teams actuallly), and France. I liked all these teams and was really able to feel their passion for the art form. It sounds stupid and I know you will either skip this entry due to it being less funny than a usual post....but this is an EXTREMELY objective documentary. I can't recall the last time I saw a documentary that didn't end up being propaganda. This is really about showcasing a world that the audience is not familiar with. Granted, I do like films with messages (a recent film was the brilliant "Nanking"), but this film really doesn't carry ANY judgment. It was nice.

3) "Man, can I just squeeze all my documentary footage into the film and just hope that people like realism and what not?"

This film was followed with a decent Q&A which happened to mention that this film took seven months to edit (from 500 hours of film!). As a respective, amateur film editor, I can easily say that this film was meticulously edited and I applaud them for their work here! That recent youtube project took two nights to edit for just six minutes. And that was just all photoshop imagery!

Rating- Easily an A- Film. It's not a perfect film. My favorite scenes were the quieter ones (the non-b-boying sections) before the competition. I actually would have liked to see more of that. Also, the film does feel a bit long at time and short at others. This is notable during the dance sections themselves. I felt that Team America and Team France were definitely shafted slightly when it came to screen time. Luckily, the Korean teams and Japanese teams were really fun to watch. You could tell that they really liked filming and talking to them. If you have time to see it, you should see it. I really hope this hits Blu-Ray! The soundtrack is all original as well!

Note: I didn't know who ended up winning the competition till the end of the film. I have to say that this really added to the film! If you are definitely going to see it, don't look up the results! It makes it more fun to watch!

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