Director: Chen Xiaoming, Zhang Pan
Cast: Qu Chuxiao, Karlina Zhang, Fu Jing, Chiang Yunlin
Runtime: 1 hr 47 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Coarse Language)
Released By: Golden Village Pictures
Opening Day: 18 January 2024
Synopsis: After the college entrance exam, Zhang Wansen plans to confess his long-standing crush on Lin Beixing, but a sudden concert accident turns everything into an irreversible tragedy. Unexpectedly, helpless Zhang Wansen restarted this summer and returned to Lin Beixing before the tragedy. The secret of restarting summer seems not as simple as imagined. Can Zhang Wansen make up for the unforgettable regrets this time?
The audience who attended the preview screening of this fantasy romance seemed to be really excited the movie. The film distributor also kindly prepared star light sticks to give away, which made this reviewer wonder whether people are going to wave them in the theatre like concert glow sticks. He did a quick search online, and realised that the movie is adapted from a very popular 2022 drama series of the same name. This writer confesses that he is not the biggest fan of the romance genre, and he was stepping into the cinema with no expectations. One thing he knows though, that the movie is going to be very pretty to look at, and that includes both the cinematography and the leading stars.
The story starts off unassumingly with a high school student named Zhang Wansen (Qu Chuxiao from Anthony Chen’s The Breaking Ice) rushing to get tickets to an upcoming concert, only to find out that the last two tickets were bought by someone moments before him. This someone is Lin Beixing (Karlina Zhang), whom Wansen tries very hard to resell the tickets. Eventually, the two find themselves volunteering at the concert venue (Beixing’s mother had unfortunately confiscated the tickets) and a relationship expectedly blossoms.
If you, like this reviewer, did not watch the original drama series, would begin wondering where this story is going. It is soon revealed that the Wansen is actually travelling across a parallel universe (thanks to the countless superhero movies recently, we are no strangers to the concept) to prevent a tragedy from happening. This is where things get intriguing because you would want to know whether these endearing star crossed lovers will get a happy ending.
Throughout the 107 minute movie directed by Chen Xiaoming and Zhang Pan, there are supporting characters played by Fu Jing and Chiang Yunlin, who reprise their characters from the drama series. These characters may not mean much to the storyline if you did not follow the 2022 series. Adding star power is veteran filmmaker Tian Zhuangzhuang, who shows up as a wise bookstore owner and has the job of narrating some of the movie’s best lines.
Qu and Zhang are naturally eye candy and fans would no doubt love every minute they are on screen. Qu is earnestly likeable as a guy who is finding the right opportunity to confess his love to the girl, while Zhang’s girl next door persona works pleasantly. The series was about how Beixing journeyed back in time to her high school days after her fiancé cancels their engagement, and how an accidental encounter with Wansen sparked a new romance. It is nice how the movie adaptation shifts the spotlight to Wansen’s perspective – a mid credit scene in this movie even provides closure to a plot line which the series left open.
And as compared to a drama series, one can expect a movie adaptation to provide a more cinematic experience. Some sequences are truly breathtaking to see on the big screen, like the glowing blue sea which illuminates the scene when the couple visited a beach at night, and several other dreamlike landscapes where the couple are enjoying the best summer of their lives. Remember the light sticks which were mentioned at the beginning of this review? They were spontaneously lit up when the credits rolled during the preview, and the blue lights in the dark theatre ended screening on a magical note.
(A fantasy romance that is as beautiful as it gets on the big screen)
Review by John Li