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Burn the Stage: The Movie

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Burn the Stage: The Movie Movie Poster Image
K-pop boy band docu is best for fans; some drinking.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 84 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

No positive messages. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Through interviews and action, shows how much work BTS puts into their concerts, amount of time and effort put into the band so it would be successful. 

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Members of BTS shown drinking after one of their concerts, drinking at a pool party. One member, after a concert, says, "I'm going to drink a lot of booze." BTS member shown drinking wine while trying to write a new song. Beer, wine, champagne drinking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Burn the Stage: The Movie is a 2019 documentary about K-pop sensation BTS's 2017 "The Wings" world tour. While there's nowhere near the decadence of rock groups past, there's some drinking. After a concert, one of the members tells the camera that he is "going to drink a lot of booze." BTS is shown making toasts and drinking at dinner, and drinking at a pool party, and one of the members is shown drinking a decent amount of wine while trying to write a new song. Aside from this, the documentary follows BTS from city to city as they soundcheck and rehearse, experience exhaustion amid the massive worldwide success, and find time to have fun between concerts: shopping, goofing off. It's probably best enjoyed by those who are already part of the BTS fan base, nicknamed "ARMY."  

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What's the story?

BURN THE STAGE: THE MOVIE follows K-pop superstars BTS on their 2017 "The Wing" world tour. It shows them both on- and off-stage on a tour that takes them to South America, Japan, and the United States. As they put on the best shows they possibly can for the "ARMY" (the nickname of their fan base), the documentary also shows members of BTS struggling with exhaustion, as well as the challenges of maintaining international success. Throughout it all, they do their best to enjoy the moment and each other as they win Billboard Music Awards and fill arenas. Members of BTS reflect on how far they've come in five years and how much their fans mean to them. 

Is it any good?

This music documentary is of the "behind the scenes" variety, the kind where even the "unscripted" feels scripted. Throughout Burn the Stage: The Movie, there are voice-overs such as, "We made oceans while crossing the desert, and we shared all that with our fans." It's the kind of overblown melodrama that will resonate with their young fan base, even if it makes everyone else's eyes roll to the back of their head or causes older audiences to recall their own youthful infatuations with, say, Backstreet Boys, New Kids on the Block, David Cassidy, etc. That said, while this documentary should appeal to those who are already fans of these K-pop superstars, it's not going to win any new converts. 

While BTS has millions of fans all over the world and wins awards, success is not all it's cracked up to be. Sometimes, the guys need to catch their breath, and other times, they need an extra-long session with the masseuse. But all of this is tolerable, because it's all about the fans. Perhaps the most honest moment of the documentary is when BTS members are sitting behind long tables in a meeting room with their manager, who informs them of how the American market is starting to respond to their earnest energy, and how they need to be and look happy with their success. None of it seems especially designed to win new converts, but perhaps that's not the point; like the name of the tour, this is for "The Wings," the name they call the self-described ARMY of fans. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about music documentaries. How does Burn the Stage: The Movie compare to other music documentaries you've seen?

  • How is BTS similar to and different from other "boy bands" of the past and present? 

  • What did the documentary reveal about how much work BTS puts into concerts? 

Movie details

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