THAT GIRL IN PINAFORE (我的朋友，我的同学，我爱过的一切) [BLU-RAY] (2015)
This is a review of THAT GIRL IN PINFORE Blu-ray edition (2015). The original movie was released theatrically on 1 August 2013 and subsequently on DVD.
SYNOPSIS: Should you listen to your heart or follow your soul? A coming of age teenage romance from Singapore set in 1993 about dreams, friendship, first love and the difficult choice between following your head or listening to your heart. The story follows the teenagers' efforts to bring business back to a struggling folk music pub and blossoming love between Jiaming and May, both fans of Singaporean folk music.
ORIGINAL DVD REVIEW:
In short, That Girl In Pinafore is Singapore answer to Giddens Ko’s 2011 hit, You Are The Apple of My Eye. Please don’t assume this is a mere copy of the Taiwanese flick but both are strongly rooted in the same vein even though they are geographically apart.
The young talented Chai Yee Wei co-wrote and directs this effort, which is set in the early 90’s using xinyao as the backdrop. A group of four teenage buddies, Jiaming (Daren Tan), Cao Gen (Seah Jiaqing), Hao Ban (Kenny Khoo) and the obligatory fatty, Xiao Pang (Kelvin Mun) are preparing for their ‘O’ levels. At the end of the day, all of them successfully went into JC except Jiaming who has not much of an interest in study. Roping in the rest of his buddies to help out at his parents’ dismal music pub, they gets to know a fellow bunch of girls who shared the same interest as them – music.
Its apparent Chai cheats a little since the xinyao movement has long disappear by the 90’s replaced by music from the four heavenly kings and bands liked Nirvana and Guns N Roses. Still, Chai managed to craft a piece of genuine coming-of-age tale that is guaranteed to warm your hearts. Who can forget about the coolest technology at that time, the Discman or mugging late into the night at airport and the experience of first love?
Jiaming’s affection for May (Julie Tan) becomes the bulk of the last act despite the upbeat, often engaging first hour. A series of memorable songs from one of xinyao pioneers Liang Wen Fook and a couple of dance segments from the cast (who actually hold their tunes pretty well) will keep you humming and tapping to the beat. Sadly, it’s the rather melodramatic love story between May and Jiaming that bogged the rest of the movie. The usual clichéd moments when a worried atas mother refused her daughter to see her poor boyfriend, add to the fact that May actually has a serious heart condition and it becomes a stark contrast to the far potential first half.
As to the performance of the cast, Project Superstar Daren Tan makes a good match with TV actress Julie Tan. Both looks (and sounds) good especially Julie who surprises us with her sweet vocal and makes a convincing pair of lovebirds. The Woo sisters (Jayley and Hayley) and the rest of the relatively new faces including Sherly Ng as Xiao Pang’s love interest and Naomi Yeo who appears for the finale seems ready made for the local television and movie circle.
After doing two horror thrillers, Chai’s That Girl In Pinafore is a wonderful piece of sentimental tribute not only to the bygone days of xinyao but also acts as a time machine that takes us back to our youthful days.
For a start, the navigating menu is given a graphical boost. The Blu-ray extras consist of Teasers and Trailers (from the original DVD), a 23 minutes Behind The Scenes/Making of (from the original DVD) which has the main cast members and Director Chai discussing about the movie themes and story. Veteran music producers also shared their thoughts on recreating the xinyao music onscreen. The new feature on this Blu-ray edition happens to be six Music Videos presented in glorious HD for your sing-along.
That Girl in Pinafore looks gorgeous in 1080p high definition as compared to the earlier DVD release. Sharpness and clarity are obvious. Facial detailing and colours appear natural. In addition, there is no noticeable banding to speak of.
The DTS/Dolby Surround 5.1 finally does justice to the movie which is primarily made up of several catchy music sequences. Music is dynamically delivered though when it comes to the movie’s quieter moments, the volume needs to be increase accordingly. All in all, this is definitely an excellent release, one that is destined to be the ultimate collectible for fans of the movie.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee