Law Jia-Yun ‘19/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Agents of Secret Stuff. Strangers, Again. Away We Happened. After over a decade of creating unforgettable and heart warming content on YouTube, Wong Fu Productions (WFP) has finally made a full-length film called Everything Before Us.
Everything Before Us follows two couples as they try to maintain and strengthen their relationships while navigating the elaborate rules of the Department of Emotional Integrity, otherwise known as the DEI. Set in the near future, the DEI oversees all romantic relationships and assigns a relationship score to everyone.
As if being in a relationship isn’t hard enough, couples in this film have this additional aspect to think about as their relationship score affects various aspects of daily life, like getting a job, applying to study abroad and even taking out a bank loan.
The film showcases the talents of Ki Hong Lee (The Maze Runner, She Has a Boyfriend), Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat, Too Fast), Brittany Ishibashi (Political Animals), Aaron Yoo (The Tomorrow People), Brandon Soo Hoo (From Dusk Til Dawn: The Series), Joanna Sotomura (Emma Approved) and newcomer Victoria Park (Take It Slow).
To say that this film had been long-awaited would be an understatement. With over 2.5 million subscribers and 380 million views on YouTube, fans have been clamoring for years for the filmmaker trio Philip Wang, Wesley Chan, and Ted Fu to make a full-length film and the reception has been great: it scores a 7.7 on IMDB and 74% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Struggles faced by the fictional couples in this film are relatable to the obstacles couples face today. The juxtaposition between Haley (Victoria Park) and Seth’s (Brandon Soo Hoo) young passionate relationship and Ben (Aaron Yoo) and Sara’s (Brittany Ishibashi) more complicated one highlight that despite the differences of age—and in this case, the differences in society—every relationship comes with their own set of problems. Sometimes you over come them, sometimes you don’t.
The film explores this notion through 4 main characters which arguably doesn’t allow the viewers to invest in the lives and fate of the characters. Except for that one connection, their stories essentially run parallel to each other so that we are never really moved by Ben’s confession of love or Haley’s break up with Seth.
Viewers never really get the opportunity to immerse themselves completely into the film’s reality and more often than not, we feel disconnected from the characters and their world. By comparison to short films created by Wong Fu Productions, this film isn’t as effective in engaging its audience. Possibly due to the usual time constraint of the short film format, the pacing in this film feels slow and at times even draggy.
However, like with any Wong Fu Production endeavor, Everything Before Us is filled with creativity and we can see its effects in the cinematic shots and their decision on the resolution of both relationships. Both relationships end on bad terms but it was the way WFP decided to resolve them that reminds us why we love them. Making their directing and writing film debut, Wang and Chan have created a unique world within which two extraordinary stories of relationships take the viewer on a journey of sorts.
Everything Before Us premiered at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival on April 23, 2015. It is amazing how YouTubers have moved from our computer screens to the big screens. Congratulations to Wong Fu Productions who have worked tirelessly toward this dream that they have had since their university days in University of California, San Diego!
Check out the trailer below!