PANG Ho-Cheung

PANG Ho-Cheung
With Hong Kong director PANG Ho-cheung after interviewing him in 2012

Monday, November 05, 2012

ACF1694: I AM: SMTOWN Live World Tour in Madison Square Garden

CJ Entertainment
Proudly Presents
I AM.: SMTOWN Live World Tour in Madison Square Garden

These days if one mentions K-Pop, PSY and Gangnam Style immediately come to mind. But K-Pop has been around for quite awhile. (I ran a post about Korean songstress BoA here at AsianCineFest in March, 2009.) But on October 23, 2011, an incredible sold-out concert by several enormously popular K-Pop acts took place at New York's Madison Square Garden. It was the first time Asian artists performed at The Garden and recorded a sold-out show.

The groups are part of SMTown, a segment of SM Entertainment, an independent Korean record label, talent agency, producer, and publisher of pop music That concert and other footage will be available tomorrow, Tuesday, November 6, 2012 in an incredible 4 -disc DVD release from CJ Entertainment. (It will also be available on Blu-ray.) KANGTA, BoA, TVXQ!, Super Junior, Girls’ Generation, SHINee & f(x) are the featured performers.

Disc 1 is an approximately 2-hour documentary movie about the groups and the tour. It was originally released in May, 2012. For me one of the most interesting things was seeing footage of some performers auditioning when they were in the fifth grade! Many trained for five years or so before joining one of SMTOWN's groups. I was truly impressed by the hard-work and dedication that these talented young people have put into their careers.

Disc 2 consists of ten DVD extras. Only nine are listed on the back cover of the DVD slipcase, either because of one of those oversights that occur from time to time (Criterion's 2 disc Godzilla release had a similar problem) or because the tenth extra was added after the slipsheets had already gone to press. In any case that additional extra is "SMTown Fan Meet Up Special," a segment of the Hello Pop! TV show related to a concert in Anaheim California. Total running time for the extras is approximately 45 minutes.

Discs 3 and 4 present the full-length, sold-out concert at Madison Square Garden. It runs approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes. The exciting, high-energy concert was magnificently captured and edited.
 
All I can say is that if you're already a fan of K-Pop, I AM.: SMTOWN Live World Tour in Madison Square Garden is an absolute must-have. The regular DVD version, which I had for review purposes looked terrific. I can't even begin to imagine how great the Blu-ray version probably looks.

And if you're not all that familiar with K-Pop? Well, this release is almost certain to make you an enthusiastic fan.

I AM.: SMTOWN Live World Tour in Madison Square Garden is great entertainment and a great value. It gives consumers more "pop" for your buck than any release I can think of. My ACF over-all rating of the concert footage, documentary movie and additional extras is 3.5 out of 4 stars; very, very highly recommended.

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