FNC’s new six-member group P1Harmony made a very impactful debut with “Siren” in November. And since then, I’ve slowly, but surely become a fan of theirs. In reading up about them and getting to know more about them, I learned they actually starred in a film to gear up for their debut. I decided to check it out. And let me tell you, I was absolutely shocked.
Reading about a pre-debut film, I assumed it would be some kind of typical extended music video which many K-pop groups have increasingly done recently. Not necessarily a film, just narrative-heavy extended music videos. The most film-like releases that I could think of from a K-pop group would be the extended music videos for B.A.P’s “One Shot” and MYNAME’s “Baby I’m Sorry.” The latter of which was actually a music video cut of a full 30-minute short film that the company hoped to screen at film festivals.
So going into the movie, that was my expectation. Some kind of fun, interesting long music video about six guys coming together to form a boy band.
But boy was I wrong!
P1H – The Beginning of a New World is a full-on, legit film. Production quality, an epic story and yes, the acting are all on par with a typical feature film. At the very least, it’s on a comparable level to a television drama. But even then, this is certainly more than just some music video.
P1H – The Beginning of a New World is divided into three sections, all surrounding a mysterious virus that is infecting the world and causing people to become violent. Each section deals with either the past, present and future world with relation to the virus. And in each section are a number of the P1Harmony members paired with some familiar faces to get us through what is a relatively intricate plot.
The film begins with Han (veteran actor Jung Jin Young) leading a group of young survivors Noona (AOA’s Kim Seol Hyun), Theo, Jongseob and Soul through post-apocalyptic Seoul. Han believes the three boys are among the chosen ones who seem to be immune from the virus. Believing in a mythical story, Han says they must set off to the landing site of a meteor in order to get the answers they may need. Their journey is dangerous as they must stay safe in the barren wasteland that Korea has become as well as avoid the virus-carrying drones that litter the landscape.
The film then moves on to “past Seoul,” where two amnesiac young men Keeho and Jiung wake up in outskirts of the city to a masked person videotaping them and two men who appear to want to kill them. They try to piece together who they are and what is going on. And with the help of a mysterious man (Yoo Jae Suk and Jung Hae In), they discover they have special powers and learn they need to make their way to 2020.
In the final section of the film, dancer and aspiring idol Intak, his dance teacher (Choi Yeo Jin) and a father and daughter (Jo Jae Yoon and Lee Chae Yoon) get caught up in the onset of the virus outbreak as all hell breaks loose in Seoul in the present day.
Each section initially plays as a sort of a standalone short film before eventually coming together in the end. And each section touches on very specific genres and does them well. Whether it’s the action-packed post-apocalyptic world or the supernatural/superhero adventure or a slice of life and coming of age drama, the film does a particularly good job at each. And then does the relatively incredible feat of bringing them all together for one cohesive story.
With the experienced cast to lead the way, the P1Harmony members flex their acting talent alongside them. It’s not hard to connect with the characters even as they are thrown into extraordinary circumstances. But the six rookies are able to come across just as experienced as their fellow cast members.
As an introduction to a brand-new group of talented artists, it is epic and unprecedented. As a feature film, it can definitely hold its own against ones not connected to a K-pop debut. I hope they continue the series. Though on this scale, I’m sure it’s not going to be easy (or inexpensive). Still, P1H – The Beginning of a New World is a thoroughly exciting and engaging film. A very pleasant and welcome surprise. And it certainly has me excited for the group moving forward too.