Koch Vision // 2004 // 108 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // August 6th, 2004
America is indeed the land of opportunity when this guy scores a DVD and a recording contract.
Ironic, isn't it? The amateur pop star that creates the most stir from American Idol isn't even the winner. Poor Fantasia, upstaged by William Hung, the plucky Berkeley student with a voice that can short out electrical transformers and dance moves not unlike an epileptic seizure.
Booted from the preliminary audition, derided by Simon, and generally laughed at by the rest of the judges panel, William Hung made the jump from potential no-name loser to pop culture sensation with his response: "I tried my best."
This humble, carefree, honest reply to his failure quickly melted the hearts of many a viewer. With his own fan site cropping up soon after, this mild-mannered wannabe musician found his popularity skyrocketing.
And now, Koch Vision has unleashed this definitive William Hung DVD, crammed with loads of features. You get:
* The long version of his "She Bangs" video, complete with
* The short, finished version of his "She Bangs" video, complete with gyrating-Hung footage!
* A twenty-minute feature of "The Story of William Hung"!
* Thoughts and inspirational comments by the Hungster himself!
* Snippets from the studio recording session of William Hung's "Inspiration" CD!
* Bonus concert footage!
Cue the apocalypse.
What can I say? William Hung is a genuinely nice guy with zero ego and loads of gusto.
But he just isn't in on the joke.
He alludes to the fact that he felt most people found his song and dance routines funny, that he's uncomfortable being an amusement, and that he's "serious," but for the most part, the guy isn't an object of attention because of his talent.
It's his utter lack of talent that has catapulted him from namelessness to, uh, namefulness. Maybe I'm painting too many of Hung's supporters with a broad brush. Perhaps there is a decent amount of you Hung-arians (for a lack of a better term) who embrace this guy because of his honest, likeable attitude. But don't tell me it's because of his sweet, sweet voice that you're a fan (deaf fans excluded). Hey, I don't have a lick of musical taste or talent, but I know when someone can carry a tune and when they sound like a gopher being castrated.
Anyway, this DVD plays the Hung phenomenon straight. Some of the record producers interviewed admit that Hung's musical talent is on the low end, but they appreciate his grit and his amiable personality. His fans echo the same sentiments.
But for us in the year 2004 on planet Earth, Hung's popularity is his talent-free novelty. Just look at the ridiculous "She Bangs" video. Hilarious, but not serious, as Hung would long for it to be. An über-juxtaposition watching Hung gesticulate wildly and croon with all his might, while surrounded by a "real" set and "real" dancers. The video looks authentic, if not for Hung. Surreal, and funny, and probably not eliciting reactions the auteur wants.
For further proof, look at the bonus footage of Hung letting fly his trademark Ricky Martin at a wedding. The guests laugh. You see, they're in on it.
I should say I don't think this is a mean-spirited laugh-at-someone-else's-expense dynamic happening here. We're not talking "trip the autistic kid." Hung is a neat guy, people recognize it, and probably laugh along with all the good nature in the world.
The "Words of Inspiration" segment of the disc is more in on the joke than any other portion. Some of Hung's more cryptic advice is highlighted, as well as a really funny bit about his unique laugh.
Hangin' With Hung is a smoothly put-together disc. The menu is vibrant with music pounding out. The full-screen video is clean and crisp, and the stereo mix effectively blares out the music. The L.F.E. gets a half-decent workout, particularly on the music video portion of the disc. Be warned, the sound for the bonus concert footage is horrendously recorded.
I can't believe I just wrote 667 words about William Hung.
Guilty of first-degree assault on my ears, though time off for good behavior. Court adjourned.
Review content copyright © 2004 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Koch Vision
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 108 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus footage
* Official Site
* American Idol