Taiwan has a magnificent movie industry. The movie industry in Taiwan is filled with talented actors, singers, dancers, and even personalities who excel in all of these three fields. The movies that will be reviewed for this paper are the movies “Invitation Only” and “Comedy Makes You Cry”. Both movies were filmed in Taiwan and the actors and actresses who filled the roles of the movie characters were either Taiwanese or of Taiwanese origins.
This movie was one of the blockbuster hits about 3 years ago. “Invitation Only” was considered to be a movie under three genres: crime, horror and mystery. The story was written by Carolyn Lin while the movie was directed by Kevin Ko. One could immediately figure out that this movie is going to be a horror one just by looking at the posters and teasers. The movie lies under the crime, horror, and mystery genre and was premiered on the 1st quarter of 2009.
There were actually 5 major characters in the movie. Lin, Holly, Hitomi, Richard, and Wade. Wade is definitely not a rich man but yes, he is the most adventurous and the one who gets curious first among his friends. The story revolves around these people. Everything started when Wade was invited by his boss to come to a party. The part isn’t just an ordinary party because only the rich and famous people from around world are allowed to go there to gather every so often. Wade flatly refused the invitation to the party because he thinks he neither have the money nor the clothes for the upcoming event. So, the person who invited him, his boss, offered to shoulder all the expenses just so Wade could attend the party. Without a doubt, Wade accepted his boss’ offer and attended the said party. The manner by which the remaining four major characters were encouraged to attend the glamorous party was pretty the same. The exciting part began when Wade and the others saw Richard’s corpse. It later turned out that the event they were lured to attend to was not really a party but a torture game where they are the contestants and the people who lured them in (their bosses) were the sadistic game spectators.
The storyline is not a very unique one. There are a lot of movies which have the same flow of story. Even the ending does not appear to be very unique. This is one of the negative things about this movie. Perhaps the movie could benefit from using a slightly more unique storyline than the one they wrote. There are actually a lot of variations that the writers could consider in making this film look more creative and sophisticated. That way, the audience will be able to enjoy the whole film in a whole new way and will not be able to brand the film as just another copycat of a previous horror blockbuster film.
Point of View
The point of view used in the movie was kind of complicated. There was actually more than one point of view used throughout the movie. There were instances where the camera was used as if it was the eyes of the character (1st person POV) and there were instances where the camera focused on all the characters (third person point of view). Perhaps the director intended to do this because the “Invitation Only” is a horror film. Using just a single POV throughout the film would definitely affect the number of effects they could use to illicit the emotion of fear that they want from people—a common goal of horror film makers.
The movie basically started by giving the audience a glimpse of the main characters’ usual life, what they do for a living and most importantly, their attitudes (IMDB, 2012). This later on helped the audience predict what’s going to happen next or how a character would end up at the end of the story. However, it is the director’s role to introduce exciting and unexpected twists throughout the story in order to maintain the attention of the audience. So far in this movie, there were several perfectly placed story twists. The structure of the story was good and the director succeeded in making every scene contribute to the main thought the film wants to convey. Moreover, even though the effects could not be considered at par with some Hollywood movies, the outcome of the movie could still be considered good because it successfully fulfilled its role as a movie under the horror genre.
Diction & Characterization
Majority of the actors casted to fill the characters in the movie were talented. Maria Ozawa, a famous Japanese AV actress was even casted as one of the supporting actresses. However, it is really not the value or popularity of the actors and actresses that matters when it comes to judging the characterization in a movie, but the way how they portrayed their roles and acted as if they were really that person. So far, throughout the movie, the main characters, especially the actor who played Wade’s role did a good job in portraying a unique and consistent character. The same goes when it comes to diction; diction usually becomes a component of characterization. As long as an actor delivers a line in a clear and understandable way, it will always result to good characterization.
Comedy Makes You Cry
Compared to the first movie, the second one is a comedy-drama type of movie. Meaning, the scenes present in the movie could either be dead serious or hilariously funny. The movie was directed by Zong De Wu. The storyline and the entire script were also created by Zong De Wu. One could really see the impact of Zong De Wu’s years of experience in the filming industry upon watching this movie. The movie was premiered in Taiwan and it has been nominated several times for various awards.
The story revolves around the idea of happiness. In the modern world where no one could basically be happy without money or a job that will yield money, there are a lot of people who wish to find happiness. A call man and a call girl were the main characters in this movie. They both have the same job and it happened that they were assigned to work in the same city too, Taipei City. The exciting turn of events started when they sat in the same taxi on their way to an appointment. Of course they were not meant to be together inside that taxi since they do not even know each other yet. Both of them also seem to be out of luck when it comes to getting clients. Such combination of failures and stressful situations led them to more ridiculous and exciting ones together. The film is all about happiness in the first place and throughout the whole story, the Call Man and the Call Girl’s perceptions about happiness were clearly defined and interpreted.
This movie has a more unique storyline compared to the first movie (the horror one). Not a lot of people would be able to think that they could link a fantasy type of happiness with something not fictitious. It may be a drama or a comedy movie by category but after watching the movie, it seems that this movie has a touch of fantasy but without the special effects. Such was made possible thanks to the uniqueness of the storyline.
Point of View
The first movie was a combination of a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person point of view. “Comedy Makes You Cry” on the other hand only used a 3rd person point of view. A 3rd person POV is typically used to enable the readers focus more in the story. Since there was more than one main character, it’s almost inevitable for the production team to use a 3rd person POV or they will face some inconsistencies in the story and filming process.
The structure of this movie was better than the first one. Even though the fact that the other one belongs to a different genre may be a factor that led to the two movies having structural differences, it could easily be determined that the second movie, “Comedy Makes You Cry”, was more carefully planned than the first one. Again, this could be attributed to the uniqueness and smoothness of the story. A more unique movie will definitely look better than a movie that appears to be a copy of a previously made film. In fact, uniqueness is what audiences typically look for whenever they watch films.
Diction and Characterization
It is usually hard to drive a lot of audience to listen and be attentive until the climax of a movie. Having only two major characters is one of the dilemmas of this second film. With only two people to spin the story and carry the conversations, there is a possibility that the audience will lose their attention and start to get bored. Thanks to the expertise of Chao Jung Chen and Bai Ling’s expertise in acting, they successfully characterized their roles and portrayed them as if they really exist in reality.
The two Taiwanese Films reviewed were actually both good, considering the limited number of artists involved. Also, these two movies were produced with a limited budget. “Comedy Makes You Cry” is the one with higher quality and more commendable compared to “Invitation only”. The latter was also good but it wasn’t good enough to be at par with “comedy makes you Cry”. Ultimately, the existence of these two films is evidence that the Taiwanese could also do well in the industry of film-making (Deslandes, 2000).
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Hong, S., & Aveyard, K. Private Sponsorships and independent film exhibition in Taiwan. Media International Australia. 2011.
Lupke, C. Representing Atrpcity in Taiwan. Rocky Mountain Review. 2011.
IMDB. Comedy Makes you Cry. 2012
IMDB. Invitation Only. 2012.