Why so biased towards EXO?
Documentary SMTown The Stage gives boyband EXO too much airtime, neglecting labelmates f(x) and Girls' Generation
As K-pop's most prominent entertainment company, SM Entertainment is terribly biased.
Unfortunately, that was the first thing I took away from watching new concert documentary film SMTown The Stage.
Produced by the renowned talent agency, it features performances, interviews, rehearsal and behind-the-scenes clips of mega extravaganza SMTown Live World Tour IV.
What was supposed to be an amalgamation of SM Entertainment's army of top acts - after all, it is home to no less than 10 active outfits and solo acts including Super Junior, Girls' Generation and SHINee - turned out to be a shameless promotion for one particular group: EXO.
The South Korean-Chinese boy band, formed in 2011, appeared in nearly two-thirds of the 107-minute movie, which is now showing at selected Golden Village cinemas.
From the start, we are treated to footage of their greenhorn days as trainees, loving close-ups of each member, lengthy dance sequences, as well as overwhelming praise from their showbiz sunbaes (Korean honorific term for seniors).
If you're a diehard EXO fan, SMTown The Stage will be worth the money.
You know your idols are adored unreservedly when Tao, an inactive EXO member, is given ample screen time despite being in the midst of a contractual lawsuit with SM Entertainment.
In stark comparison, female quartet f(x) are brutally neglected.
Their segment amounts to a paltry five minutes and doesn't include a single sound bite from its most popular member, Krystal Jung, whose omission is glaring and dubious. It makes us wonder if it has anything to do with her older sister Jessica's departure from Girls' Generation and SM Entertainment.
Granted, f(x)'s brand of music has always been labelled quirky and offbeat.
Still, this is a group who won street cred by becoming the first K-pop act to play at renowned Texas festival SXSW (South by Southwest) in 2013.
The fact that they had less screen time than rookie group Red Velvet is a huge travesty.
However, for fans of Girls' Generation who couldn't catch them in the flesh at their sold-out Tokyo Dome concert last December, SMTown The Stage is not all bad.
Enjoy the touching ballad version of their breakout song, Into The New World, and weep along with the girls as they get misty-eyed and teary.
Just don't expect them to be the stars of the show.