General and I

General and I (2017)

8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 692 users
Reviews: 17 users

Brilliant strategist Bai Ping Ting and prince-general Chu Bei Jie of rival kingdoms find themselves torn between loyalty to the country and their passionate love for each other.

  • Native title:

    孤芳不自赏
  • Also Known as:

    Gu Fang Bu Zi Shang; A Lonesome Fragrance Waiting to Be Appreciated; 孤芳不自赏电视剧版;

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anopinion
31 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Feb 10, 2017
  • Overall 4.0
  • Story 5.5
  • Acting/Cast 5.5
  • Music 7.0
  • Rewatch Value 3.0
I had extremely high expectations for General and I. I'm a long-time fan of Wallace Chung; I've liked him since his role as Nalan Xingde in The Secret History of Kangxi. After I heard that he was going to take up the role of Chu Beijie in General and I, I promptly went to read the entire novel. The novel itself certainly impressed, but I can't say the same for the drama read more adaptation.

The reason why the novel stood out is because of the balance of power between the male and female leads. They are intellectual equals, quite unlike Kdramas where the male leads tend to be more dominant, and unlike the trend of female-centric Cdramas where the female leads tend to be smarter while the male leads are really just supporting characters who wield huge power to lend a hand in times of emergency (Princess Weiyoung). I think they tried to maintain the same balance in the drama as well, and I'll give them a little bit of credit for that.

From now on, I'll talk about the divergences between the novel and the drama, and my thoughts on whether these are sound/positive modifications:

1. First up, the character conceptualisation. In the book, the Jing An - He family was executed by the Yan king because their achievements are so great that the Yan king finds it unsettling. Chu Beijie did not play a part in inciting the Yan king. He merely pushed the decision by deliberating losing the battle which made the Yan king even more uneasy. There's no talk in the novel too about Chu Beijie wanting to cease battle to protect the civilians. In fact, I remember distinctly that Chu Beijie wanted to expand the territories of Jin; he was battle-hungry. There is clearly a huge difference in the personalities of the character for the drama and the book. I can see why it was changed. It's to make Chu Beijie a more likable character who regards the welfare of the civilians above everything. Personally, I prefer a male lead who isn't this "perfect" and one-dimensional really. I don't like this, but I can see people preferring it. The biggest change in Chu Beijie is how weak he's become in the drama. He was captured and tortured three times! For his love, of course, very "romantic", but I do prefer the book where he was a lot smarter and didn't have to rely on the damsel to save him in times of distress at all. Bai Pingting also didn't need any rescuing in the novel as well. On the other hand, the drama just turned into this cycle of Chu Beijie saving Bai Pingting, then vice-versa, and rinse and repeat again.

2. Next, we have the process of falling in love. Oh god. This is probably the most annoying aspect of the drama. In the book, Bai Pingting was captured by slave traders during her escape (when the Yan king was trying to kill the He family). She was then sold to the Hua family in Jin and became attendant to the
young mistress. She caught the attention of Chu Beijie while playing the zither. Chu Beijie thinks that she is Miss Hua, they fall in love, and Miss Hua makes use of Chu Beijie's affection towards "her" to cancel her previous engagement so that she can marry her beloved. Bai Pingting's servant identity was revealed, and she eventually stayed in Chu Beijie's manor. Even though the two of them are in love, they are wary of each other. Bai Pingting wants to know her young master He Xia's whereabouts whereas Chu Beijie knows that Bai Pingting isn't who she claims to be (Yang Feng). After some mutual scheming and whatnot, they separate. Isn't this a refreshing storyline? But in the drama, they chose to make the leads childhood sweethearts. If I wanted to watch childhood sweethearts, any bloody Kdrama will do. Why add in such a cliched plot device? Damn. Furthermore, Chu Beijie recognised Bai Pingting as the little girl he met, and decided that he must FORCE her to marry him. And somehow she gradually loves him back, for no rhyme or reason at all. What the hell?

3. The addition of a lot of vertices to the love polygon. Jealous, unscrupulous female character who loves the male lead, check. Another female character who falls for the male lead while the leads are separated, check. In the novel, it was just a love square and it was complicated enough already.

These are just some of the more obvious changes. And all adverse ones in my opinion. The drama honestly would've been much better if it was more streamlined and stuck to the novel like gum to the underside of the table. 62 episodes is way too many. I guess they had no choice but to extend the story with such stupid tropes to keep it going. It's obvious that the production is trying to stretch out the story to get more profit, and I'm worried that more C-dramas will turn to this trend as well.

To add on, here are some of the flaws in production:

1. A glaring one is the green screens that they used. The first episode had really well cheoreographed fight scenes with pretty natural looking scenery. From then on, it just seemed like a lot of the characters were cut and pasted onto the background. There are even scenes where the main characters are keyed onto a background with the calefares on it. That's just ridiculous! It's so awkward to watch. So much money pumped into the production and this is the result? I can understand that Angelababy was pregnant and perhaps they had to speed up filming, thus leading to this. But I can't help but feel cheated. Looking at the trailers alone, I expected a gorgeous-looking drama on or exceeding Princess Weiyoung's level. Nevertheless, the end-product was far from that. Imo, if you aren't going to tell a decent story, at least make the drama decently pretty. G&I was neither interesting nor beautiful.

2. Also, the dubbing. Wallace's dubber is just horrible. He has this slightly unorthodox pronunciation, kind of Cantonese-like, which makes him (actually, his voice) sticks out like a sore thumb. Plus, the voice totally doesn't suit the character. You can definitely get used to it, but it took me more than 10 episodes (still don't like it).

3. Styling. I'm pretty sure Princess Yaotian looks great in real life, but her styling in the drama does nothing for her. It looks horrible! The guys' long hairstyles looked like crap on all of them except Ze Yi and Fan Lu as well. I mean, Wallace Chung and Sun Yizhou looked fantastic with the man bun I have no idea why they had to give them the long hair/dreadlocks. I know it's to differentiate between the different territories but really it's so inconsistent that it's useless.

4. Chu Beijie's deliberate act-cool moves *cringe* (dramas need to stop doing this to their male leads). Forcibly trying to make your male leads "cool" tends to achieve the exact opposite effect. Also, why does he need a mask?

Now here comes the positives. Well, the non-negatives. Some of these are not even well done but just good enough:

1. The cute loveline between Fan Lu and Zui Ju. I didn't pay much attention to this subplot in the novel itself. However, the actors portraying the two characters actually brought more appeal to this storyline in the drama compared to the novel. Zui Ju is probably the most likable character in this entire drama, despite the bad acting (so, so bad). I was worried that they were going to alter this storyline when they gave Chu Moran and Zui Ju a lot of interactions during the time Chu Beijie broke away from the Jin court. Thankfully, they didn't change it that much.

2. The acting. Angelababy gets a lot of flak for being inexpressive. I don't actually think that she is thaaat bad (that being said, she's quite bad). I'm just slightly bothered by her constant smile, which just distracts me a little when the occasion clearly does not call for it. It may also be an after effect of plastic surgery though. Imo, she improved towards the end of the drama. I also have to give her some leeway for getting an acting coach. Hey, at least she knows how awful her acting is and is trying to do something about it (alright, I'm just being sympathetic). Everyone else were just on par. I also disagree that Wallace was great in the drama like what many say. With such a bad story, you really can't judge. The duo above (Zui Ju and Fan Lu) were cute but they are obviously very green. Zui Ju, in particular, was terrible. I'm generally not picky about the acting as long as it doesn't come across as unnatural, so in this aspect the drama gets a passing mark (barely) in my book.

3. Yaotian's ending. I liked He Xia and Princess Yaotian's romance more in the novel, even though the author didn't really touch on it much. In the drama, the two had very little chemistry (actually, chemistry was virtually non-existent for both pairings). Yaotian's ending is the same, but the way it ended was slightly different. I think they didn't want to make He Xia look too bad. But I actually like how "evil" he is in the book, and how tragic this pairing became. I thought it added more flavour to the story.

4. The OST. I must say, they have some really nice songs. My favourite is the duet by William Wei and Claire Kuo, followed by Tan Jing's song. The opening and ending themes don't appeal to me though.

In summary, I think the drama definitely falls short of expectations. It had good source material, but did not make good use of it. It had a huge budget, but didn't spend enough effort trying to refine the drama. If anything, the production itself just screams unprofessional to me. I do wish that they won't rush the filming so much, and gave more time to post-production as well. It could have been at least a pretty drama to look at, but now it's just... a huge disappointment. I usually write reviews only when I really like a drama, or when I hate it (don't ask me why I watch it all even though I dislike it, it's a childish question). General and I belongs to the latter. I'll give it a 4.0 and that's already understating how bad it was [1].

-- Footnotes --

[1] The drama has a rating of 3.6 on Douban as of the time this review is written which is far closer to my personal grade but MDL just has biased ratings. You can see it. Candle in the Tomb, a fantastic drama, is rated 8.3 on MDL and 8.2 on Douban. G&I, an awful drama in comparison, is still rated 8.0 on MDL but only 3.6 on Douban. Therefore, if you are a longtime Cdrama watcher, 3.6 is probably fair and what you should take into account when deciding whether to watch or not. (Just revised my rating to 4.0 from 6.0 from 6.5, which was revised from 7. Because the more I think of it, the more I feel that the drama is crap and I can't believe I wasted time on it. Please pardon my caprices. At least there's a clear downward trend though.)
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Jeana
22 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Mar 17, 2017
  • Overall 1.0
  • Story 4.0
  • Acting/Cast 1.0
  • Music 6.5
  • Rewatch Value 1.0
What an absolute load of bullshit this show was. I don't think I have skipped so many episodes and fast forwarded so many scenes in any show before in my life. I had such a bad taste left in my mouth after I ended this, that I had to quickly download Master's Sun and use that as a relief to swallow this catastrophe down.

To be completely honest, I think the premise read more of this show is quite exciting and I bet the novel it's based on would be something spectacular. I will even admit that I really liked the idea behind the General's and Ping Ting's character. They were supposed to be strong and witty people in their own right and that was essentially what lured me in. But by God, that's not what this drama really ended up being.

Matters were made worse by the horrible acting. There is a lot of negative stigma attached with AngelaBaby but I did my best to keep an open mind and not be influenced by all the drama. Unfortunately, it was a wasted effort because she literally cannot act. Half of the time she's a blank board and in the other half she looks like a psychopath with her crazy eyes and creepy smile. I liked what her character was supposed to be but she destroyed it quite effectively.

Wallace Chung is a good actor but all the edgy scenes really didn't make him cool, instead, Chu Bei Jie mostly just comes off as an asshole who's trying and failing to assert his dominance over everybody.

The overdramatization makes everything more unbearable. With all that flying in the air, jumping over mountains and exaggerated facial expressions, General and I can't possibly expect the viewers to take its bullshit seriously. I watch Asian Dramas for their sincerity and poignancy, not whatever this superficial serialization was offering. So fucking disappointed.

It didn't help that I started watching it in between episodes of Eternal Love, which is why its flaws were even more noticeable than they would've been if an incredible show was not there for comparison. I really tried to give it a lot of chances but by the nth chance, I thought it better for my sanity to skip most parts.

This is an unpopular opinion and if you are someone who has diligently watched all of its episodes and have arrived on a different conclusion, then good for you. Boos should always do their yous.
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Make a Recommendation More recs (5)Recommendations

both have a beautiful love story..both leads are enemies at first before falling in love...both highly recommended!!!
Recommended by Hana
Both dramas about the female lead finding clever and unique ways of solving problems.Both seem to constantly be involved in trouble and always need the male lead to save and protect them.Both male leads of the story are basically crazily in love with their partner and would risk their lives for them. Both also involves harming/poisoning each other to indirectly save each other.
Recommended by ClariceWang

Comments (385)

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  • Reply
    anne 23 days ago - edited

    Question! Why did He xia thought of Yao Tian when he was falling to his death? Did he actually realized that he loved her after all? And did Ping Ting thought that Bei Jie was dead or she just hide from him in the 3 year jump?

    • Reply
      real_Mokona 10 days ago
      Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      Mimi 10 days ago
      Reveal Spoiler »
  • Reply

    I have tried to watch this drama I would say at least 4 times, in all I have dropped. I am going to try again. Despite Angelababy's amazing look, she isn't really fit for an actor in my opinion. She is like a stone wall, anyways, I'm watching this for Chung Wallace, I will let you know if I manage to finish the drama or drop in disappointment for the fifth time. Edit: I dropped it at episode 18, I just can't find the spark in the drama, Chung Wallace is great but the story doesn't seem to move on, a lot of sequences are just being repeated.

    • Reply
      Mimi 15 days ago

      Oh you're probably gonna regret watching it cause I did the acting wasn't good mostly AB n how it dragged too much although I gotta admit that she's really pretty and that the ost were amazing

    • Reply
      Knavery 14 days ago - edited

      I'm struggling through it too and I'm on episode 40. I can't believe this goes on for another 22 episodes. The writing, directing and acting aren't very good. Maybe for some the pairing of the main characters is enough but it's not for me. I'm almost watching it as a comedy at this point to laugh at some of the hilarious monologues (that I assume they want us to take seriously). Monologues like "I am so great, this person is so bad" and it starts to feel like Anchorman "I look good, I mean really good, HEY EVERYONE COME SEE HOW GOOD I LOOK". Now Anchorman is about a fool who is an anchorman while this show is suppose to be about a bunch of military geniuses.

    • Reply
      real_Mokona 10 days ago

      I just skipped 17 episodes and the beginning and the end of the drama were pretty good. Maybe it is a new option to finish it ;)

    • Reply
      EmpyreanConqueror 10 days ago

      Nope, I dropped it at episode 25. Rest in peace.

  • Reply
    Noxidian 29 days ago - edited

    I've seen a few episodes, and I'm already disappointed. So many cliche and unnecessary implementations to the story. If only it could stick more closely to the novel.

    • Reply
      yarnie 6 days ago

      i know right :c it was a real disappointment for me since i really love the novel itself so much that i still open and re read some parts ;_;<3

  • Reply
    Wavery Leanna Jun 19, 2017

    I loved every episode, such great characters!

  • Reply
    MinaVIP Jun 14, 2017

    This drama was such a disappointment -.-* ugh.

  • Reply
    Pinocchio Jun 13, 2017

    Watched this drama till the end and it was such a waste of time it dragged way too much could've only had like 40eps. Also AB's acting wasn't that great she really was like ehhh the whole time.

  • Reply
    makeuptemple May 31, 2017

    watched this in Jan now I have completely forgotten what was it about :D

  • Reply
    KAPP70 May 27, 2017

    I watched this drama for Wallace Chung and he is the reason I finished it. This was my first time seeing the female lead and she was hit or miss. Nothing really stood out about her character and I was hoping that it would.
    As with a lot of long dramas this one could have been shorter. The "I have to leave" became rather repetitive and I could find no real reason for it. The one on one fight scenes started out good but after awhile it became tedious. I mean how many times do I have to see the near miss with the sword?
    I thought it was kind of funny when someone was describing mystery man and they would say it could on be Chu Bei Jie I was right there with them. When they were describing a mystery person with great strategies they would say it could only be Bai Ping Ting I kept saying Mei Changsu.

  • Reply
    jenivan1000 May 20, 2017 - edited

    can someone tell me if the ending was a happy/good ending or if it's a sad ending? :) thanks in advance~!

    • Reply
      KAPP70 May 27, 2017

      It was a good ending.

  • Reply
    Snow flower May 18, 2017

    I think this drama is the best one I see among chinese drama . I see the summary of eternal love
    But i don't like the story although i like the female herione actress . General and I drama is more beautiful than the original novel. I like the changes in the story it makes it more beautiful. The feelings between the hero and herion is very sensitive. The changes happen in the drama support the proof of love on the behalf of hero towards herione . I really love this drama . It makes the audiences reach high level of enjoyment and purity .

  • Reply
    pandanim May 9, 2017

    I cannot watch it any longer.. dropped this drama :( I had very high expectations from it since the novel was really good but I don't know what the heck happened to the drama that it turned such a good and perfect story to something shitty (sorry!!) like this :((

  • Reply
    Chie Apr 14, 2017

    Happy Ending?

  • Reply
    Red Apr 1, 2017

    great drama :) even tho they didn't need to drag it to 62 episodes xD.. and I still want to know what happens to the other characters/couples
    I like that the main characters remained strong till the last minute of the drama <3

  • Reply
    dramaeli Mar 21, 2017

    never read the novel. one of my favourite c-drama so far. a hint of sensuality so rare to see in oriental dramas

  • Reply
    Mimi Mar 19, 2017 - edited

    So disappointed in this drama, the novel was amazing had so much expectation at first but then this drama just dragged out way too much also idk if it's me or what but Angelababy acting wasn't that great however her costumes were amazing. I watched it till the end only because of Wallace Chung but still he couldn't save the show *sigh*

    • Reply
      moondust Mar 19, 2017

      No it's not just you. Anyone with any expectations for acting will think she's terrible - though she did improve and wasn't all terrible 62 episodes later. She is breathtaking tho - which isn't what Bai Pingting is supposed to be in the novel/manhua.

    • Reply
      Mimi Mar 19, 2017

      Lol I noticed that first bc in the beginning of the novel/manhwa bai pingting got kidnapped n they said that she was not pretty and here's Angelababy looking all pretty and breathtaking like you said

    • Reply
      moondust Mar 19, 2017 - edited

      Tell me about it! I was genuinely happy when they first announced the airing of this drama, FINALLY we're gonna see a female lead who is described as very plain but her brains is what made a man much more beautiful than her fall heads over heels for her, just to be given some overused drama trope about childhood love. Sigh

      They took a GREAT novel and turned it into wasted potential

    • Reply
      Mimi Mar 19, 2017

      I feel you like really why did the director changed it like yeah go ahead add things you want but like make it better not worse

    • Reply
      Jeana Mar 20, 2017

      Y'all needa go watch Empress Ki then :")

Details

  • Country:

    China
  • Type:

    Drama
  • Episodes:

    62
  • Aired:

    Jan 2, 2017 to Feb 10, 2017
  • Aired On:

    Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Network:

    Hunan TV
  • Duration:

    45 min.

Statistics

  • Score:

    8.0 (scored by 692 users)
  • Ranked:

    #627
  • Popularity:

    #95

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