In 637 AD, a young girl named Wu Ru Yi from Jingzhou County was selected into the imperial harem of the Tang Dynasty. Ru Yi danced very well and outshined all the other girls. During a rehearsal, she caught the attention and affection of the emperor Tai Zong Li Shi Min, who nicknamed her Meiniang, which means elegant lady. At the time, she was 14 years old, and he was 39. The same night, another girl was murdered, and everyone accused Meiniang of being the killer. She was tortured to confess the “truth” and was banished into the Cold Palace.
Cast & Credits
The story is based on the historical character Wu Zhetian - the first and only female emperor in Chinese history. From what I have learned about that era, this drama reflects well on major events as well as some minor events. However, this drama focuses more on the romance of the main character. The pace and transition of each saga of her story is well organised.
The chemistry between the actors/actresses are really well shown. The actors/actresses casted to portray the characters are well chosen and I cannot ask for better. The acting is well done and there was hardly any cringy acting.
The opening song really shows the strong Chinese dynasty and goes really well with the clips that are edited with it. After watching her drama, look back at the opening sequence you will feel very emotional as you look at the development of Wu MeiNiang (Wu Zhetian) and her interaction with other characters.
This is the longest drama I've ever watched. It went far above my expectations. The makeup, clothing, movement to plot, music and characters are so well put together I don't think anything can be better. I hardly do reviews for dramas but this really worth a recommendation. My favourite part of the drama is the chemistry between Wu MeiNiang and Li ShiMin.
Sadly, the censorship which edited the clothing and scenes which were considered 'inappropriate' slightly ruined the character development and chemistry between some characters.
Now, that is what history remembers Wu Ze Tian as - brilliant, perfectionist, strategist & murderer. But is this the personal Wu Ze Tian? This series acted and produced by Fan Bing Bing give viewers a different take on the cruel empress - one that colours We Ze Tian as a kind woman who fell victim to broken relationships, lies and plots of others around her. A helpless and vengeful Wu Ze Tian??? Hmmm....I know many who are skeptical of this! At least I know my aging mum who's a bit of a Chinese history buff cursed this portrayal of Wu Ze Tian. All Chinese knew this empress as a cruel person - why is she suddenly a nice, innocent and victim-of-circumstance person? Perhaps, this is just another perspective - albeit a more feminist perspective of Wu Ze Tian. We all know that Fan Bing Bing's a consummate feminist and this is her attempt to give the world a different portrayal of powerful Chinese female historical figures. Her next project is a drama on Empress Dowager Cixi. The Chinese hated Cixi even to this day. There is a tradition in China where ppl spit at her grave and curse her even to this day - that is how hated this woman is. Like Wu Ze Tian, she murdered many - including her own children and relatives. She's also the woman who signed away HK, Macau and many important Chinese ports to the Brits so she could continue with her opium addiction. Unlike Wu Ze Tian who at least ruled the country wisely and contributed to the expansion of the Chinese empire, Cixi actually almost destroyed it. The Chinese saw the last of the Chinese emperors, partially thanks to her. So, how will Fan Bing Bing portray Cixi as a heroine in her next project? Let's wait and see...
Acting/Cast: Acting is good as all actors and actresses are very experienced. No problems in this department. The costumes are brilliant. Although the cleavages are common to the Tang dynasty's fashion, the elaborated designs, bright multi-colours and accessories may be a little too modern (and fanciful) to the time. There are also many instances when Wu Ze Tian has a more elaborate costume compared to the other women who were higher ranked than her. She even out-shone the emperor's costumes.. which is a no-no. It is obvious that the best costumes are reserved for Fan Bing Bing's main character of Wu Ze Tian which kind of created an unrealistic atmosphere. She should have gone with less elaborate costumes as befitting her station in the palace instead of insisting on being the 'peacock' of the lot.
Music: The OSTs are ok but not the main feature of this drama.
Overall: It's a good enough entertainment but let's be honest here, with 96 episodes... I don't know anyone who is crazy enough to re-watch this again. It is not the 'WOW!' kind of drama that would cause you to re-watch it. It's a once-off drama that is good enough to keep you entertained.