Branching out into the western music industry for the second time since the release of their first studio English album “All About Luv,” k-pop band Monsta X released their brand-new documentary “Monsta X: The Dreaming” for an exclusive two-day premiere. With the movie only being available Dec. 9 and 11, fans eagerly rushed to theatres to witness the concert performances, interviews and personal stories of one of their favorite bands on the big screen. As someone who decided to snag a ticket as soon as the movie was announced, it was definitely worth the time and money.
K-pop bands releasing documentary-style movies to an audience outside of Korea is not something that fans haven’t seen before, but what makes “Monsta X: The Dreaming” stand out from previous films that give a behind-the-scenes insight into a k-pop band’s lifestyle is the format in which they decided to conduct the movie. While previous k-pop-related films went deep within the subject of how taxing the industry is to an idol, Monsta X went for a more light-hearted approach, treating the movie as a gift to their fans. In a scene during the beginning, members Yoo Kihyun, Lee Jooheon aka Joohoney, Lee Minhyuk, Chae Hyungwon and Im Changkyun aka I.M. meet with their staff to discuss what the focus of the movie will be. The boys suggested, ironically, that they want the movie to be about them making the movie. Specifically, the performance aspect of it.
The documentary they filmed actually turned out to be only half of what the movie entailed, as the other half revolved around the members performing their songs in an online concert style. To give their fans a more in-depth look into their lives, the members filmed themselves preparing for such performances. Whether it be their choreography they had to rearrange due to a member being absent, or re-recording their previously established songs, it was an interesting aspect that made for a unique viewing experience. Personally, the way in which the movie displayed to the audience how Monsta X truly acts when they’re off-stage was enjoyable to watch as a fan and displayed perfectly how close they were as a team and as a family.
As previously stated, one of the members of the band was missing throughout the course of the movie, only being seen in flashbacks to concerts held pre-coronavirus era. Son Hyunwoo aka Shownu is currently serving his mandatory military service, and since the clips of the members being interviewed and performing were filmed after he had enlisted, he does not appear in the majority of the film. Fans were distraught at the thought of the band’s leader not being a part of the documentary due to this miscalculation, however, after watching the entire film and looking out for any instances in which they might have avoided talking about him, it is clear that the rumors of him not appearing at all were false. There are multiple scenes in which they reference the leader, whether it be in a situation that reminds the members of him, or a retelling of his life predebut. Although he wasn’t there physically to perform or give his thoughts on his past, there’s no missing that he’s a prevalent part of the group, and that the members are always thinking of him regardless of where they are.
The concert in which the documentary was leading up to was definitely an aspect that perfectly encapsulated how talented Monsta X are as individuals and as a team. While performances of songs like “Gambler,” “Love Killa,” “DRAMARAMA” and “Stand Up” were a treat to witness on the cinema screen, it was the performances of three new songs from their second English album titled “The Dreaming” releasing Dec. 10 that further elevated the movie. “You Problem” was the first to be presented with its disco-inspired sound and bright aesthetic to match. Although it deviated heavily from the distinguishable Monsta X sound, it brought about a cheerful introduction for the rest of the songs as the title track. “Whispers in the Dark” and “The Dreaming” were more vocally dependent, and although there is no doubt that the recorded versions sound just as beautiful as the live versions, there is no comparison when it comes to which one flawlessly captures the emotions within the lyrics. There’s an argument to how the recorded versions don’t do both the song and the members’ singing ability justice, so having the songs showcased in a live format was perfect for this circumstance.
“Monsta X: The Dreaming” serves the purpose the members set out to accomplish in a fascinating and engaging way. It’s definitely a great movie for fans who want to watch more content of their favorite band and could possibly serve as a great introduction to k-pop as a whole for those who do not follow such music.