Tuesday, August 30, 2011

[DVD] It's a Great Great World (大世界 / Tua Seh Kai) (2011)

Watching The Fireworks

What's one of the best ways to enjoy the local film It's a Great Great World if you have missed it in the cinemas earlier this year? By getting the DVD and watching the film with friends and family, especially so if they are of the older generation who will inevitably have been to the actual Great World amusement park since it's on the social calendar of almost every Singaporean then.

Besides enjoying the narrative, you'll get a running commentary by the elders who will pepper your viewing with a reminiscence of the good old times sharing anecdotes drawn from personal experience to augment what is going on screen, since famous locales and attractions within the park get faithfully recreated for the film and will trigger good memories. Trust me on this one, and watch it with your elders, which shouldn't be too difficult to do so since this is one of the local films that boasts an ensemble of recognizable cast from television.

You can read my review of the film here.

The Region 3 (which played on my Region 1 player) DVD comes packaged in a handsomely designed, hard cardboard slip case, with an exclusive luggage tag included as a free gift. The film is presented in a pristine anamorphic widescreen transfer with audio in its original language track presented in Dolby Digital Stereo. Scene selection is available over 9 chapters, and subtitles are available in English and Mandarin.

A number of Special Features are included in this single DVD edition, that includes Trailers both in theatrical form (2:00) and 3 TV Spots running 0:25, 0:30 and 0:25 that play back to back continuously. A Photo Gallery contains stills from the Press Conference (9 stills), Gala Premiere Night (12 Stills) and more than 50 stills taken from the Movie itself.

Two made for television variety programmes also get included (naturally in full screen, letterbox format, in Mandarin without subtitles), which were played during the promotional run up of the film. Great World Once More (23:25) hosted by actor Chen Shucheng brings us through a short history of the amusement park where the Great World City complex now stands, with old photographs, clips from the film and a behind the scenes look at the production. Interviews with both cast and crew from Lucas Chow to Man Shu Sum and Kelvin Tong are also included, before the highlight which is a trip to the present day Yong Chun Yuen restaurant (now Spring Court Restaurant at Upper Cross Street) where Chen meets up with fellow cast members Chew Chor Meng, Kym Ng, Marcus Chin and Auntie Lucy to reminisce their experience of the actual locale, and their behind the scenes anecdotes. Lucky for them they get to savour the actual famed dishes that the restaurant is famous for, prepared by one of their (retired) veteran chefs. I think I want to make a trip to the restaurant sometime soon too!

The next programme Amazing Great World (23:11) is a little bit more of the above with similar interviews conducted with the production big-wigs. Hosted by Ben Yeo and Apple Hong they go on a spree within Great World City to ask shoppers if they know where certain iconic landmarks from the Great World amusement park were situated, from the Ghost Train to the cinemas. As always with camera-shy Singaporeans, many run far and fast when the two hosts make their approach (and a lot of foreigners too who obviously do not have a clue; tells you a lot about our composition these days), although they do get successful and provide us that glimpse into where the landmarks were. Since this was a variety show conducted on location, they also held a Tikam Tikam game in a bid to raise awareness during the promotion of the film.

And finally, there's the Full Length Audio Commentary with Director Kelvin Tong. The audio quality had a little echo, and it took a while for Kelvin Tong to warm up and shift as the commentary wore on from being descriptive of scenes that are currently played, to opening up and sharing a lot more details from behind the scenes and anecdotes from the shoot, although it did sound like the heat and humidity were topics that never fail to crop up. Some uncomfortable periods of silence do creep in once in a while.

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