There was so much hype around Tiny Times trilogy, fans and critics showing pretty polarized feelings.
Fans of the book series , on one hand, showed so much support for both the first and second movie installations that they hit the box office in China. Critics, on the other hand, criticized the films being materialistic, not having a solid storyline, so on and so on.
Then I watched. My experience says, no matter what the critics say, there is something addictive about these movies. Well, let me explain.
What are the good points?
First, why wouldn't you like a story, which is all about what you dream of? The critics say the luxury showoffs in the films make it materialistic; therefore, a bad influence for young people in China. But, come on, who cares? Friendship, relationships, career and dreams.. these are all what young people can think of, at their age. The film is unrealistic - that's true! But it gives the audience a fantasy that they can enjoy, but that's it, nothing more than that!
Second, the eye candies! I didn't know the male cast before, even Kai Ko who was in "You are the apple of my eyes". The male cast is beautiful, especially Chen Xue Dong who plays "Zhou Chong Guang", a character representing Guo Jingming, the author himself :P. And famous actresses, Yang Mi and Amber Guo, joining the cast, make it more perfect though I don't like Yang Mi that much.
The music was GREAT! I totally fell in love with Sodagreen's Wo Hao Xiang Ni (I Miss You). Other soundtracks are also good.
Here comes my favorite part, the narrations! Maybe due to Guo Jing ming's intention to follow the books strictly, the films incorporate lots of narrations, from Lin Xiao's (Yang Mi's character) perspective and also Zhou Chong Guang's. I prefer listening to someone narrating rather than reading it. Giving you a taste of it:
We live in a vast universe, stardust and light particles floating all throughout. We are existences smaller than these. One does not know when life's direction would change, sunk into a darkness as think as ink, dragged into a deep abyss by disappointment, trapped into a grave by illness, trampled to pieces by frustration. You are jeered, mocked, disliked, hated, patronized, abandoned...But we preserved hope in our hearts, kept a heart that would not give up beating. We still make tiny efforts in the midst of great despair. And this feeling of not willing to give up - it becomes the specks of starlight in the dark. We are all small specks of starlight.
- Zhou Chong Guang (Tiny Times 1.0)
It is not flawless though.
The acting, to start with, isn't that great, though not that bad either. I found some scenes cliche and over-acted, turning comical. Amber Kuo stands out among others, and Chen Xue Dong also did well as a newbie while I didn't like Rhydian Vaughan's acting on the other hand.
However, the major flaw would be the story itself. Although the story, like I said before, is something that you can relate to and enjoy, it is shallow; there is no depth in characters; there is no explanation behind their behaviors. Let's say, for example,the love line between Lin Xiao and Zhou Chong Guang is poorly developed.
Considering these flaws, does it deserve a very low rating of 2.6/10 in IMDB? I don't think so.