I gave it a shot because Kim Soo Hyun has a guest role in it. But I totally forgot about him when I started the movie.
Shim Eun Kyeong is an extremely talented actress. She doesn't have the usual flawless beauty like all the other ones hence her acting stands out even more because she can capture her fans, her viewers with her skills alone. She doesn't need extreme beauty. She has great harmony with her co-actors and that reflects on the screen.
I gave a rating of 10 because I just can't find anything to critize. I enjoyed it from beginning to end and I had to laugh so many times. I had to laugh, I had to cry and I was able to plunge into beautiful music. The songs alone make it worth watching the film. (And damn, I never saw a more beautiful baby than the one in the backflashes)
If there is any long-lasting meaning to the film, it has to be that no one should regret his past decisions and be proud of the hardships he/she overcame in the past. Everyone gets old and no one should live his life in regret. Make the best of it.
All in all, a really touching, enjoyable movie that I highly recommend.
(The ending is hilarious, btw! hehe...)
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I actually didn't want to write a review about this because there are already so many of them out there which capture the magic of this drama quite well. But there are so many things I liked and loved in this drama that I somehow needed to write all these things down myself.
There is quite a large amount of crime and suspense dramas out there lately, that it's hard to find some distraction with a good rom-com, and I was hesitant with this because of Yoo Seung Ho. He has already proven that he can act with other dramas but he's also the master of crying - and that not always to his advantage. Whether directors demand him to cry to his heart's content or not, sometimes it's just too much for the drama. But with his latest project it seems as if I discovered him all anew and he did won me over with this big time.
The story evolves around Kim Min Kyu who is allergic to humans. One slight touch results in life-threatening consequences, and because there doesn't seem to be a cure yet, he has to be very careful to never touch another person. Therefore he lives in isolation and loneliness and has developed some kind of friendship with his cleaning robots over the years. Just then he finds out about this new human robot with an AI and decides to test it out.
There is nothing like a unique and new idea in this world and people might be reminded of "AI", "I Robot" or "Bicentennial Man" with this show. But when it comes to K-dramas, "I'm Not a Robot" is still a fresh concept. It won't focus too much on the AI topic, but more on the romance part, and therefore doesn't dive too deep into "conscientious invention for the next generation", even though it might graze those things in a very superficial way as well. For example, there are the geeks who invent for the sake of creating new things that can be helpful for humanity in a peaceful way, or the evil guys who only see money and war toys.
Whether Kim Min Kyu's illness might be too far fetched or not is hard to judge. Maybe it sounds unbelievable the first time you hear it but... ever since I started working in the medical field, I developed this thought that we will never be able to know of all the diseases in the world. There are so many which are not yet discovered or very rare illnesses the majority of people don't know of. And who knows, maybe there really is someone like Kim Min Kyu, too. For me, the drama was able to deliver that subject well enough to buy its story.
Of course, it's not free of clichés and it's very predictable. But in a good way. You know what will happen, you anticipate it and you're happy when it's indeed happening in the end. This drama doesn't always follow reality, it's still a fantasy (and Korean!) drama. Sometimes it might also have some logistic miracles, but seriously, who cares. It's too much fun watching Kim Min Kyu and his experiences with this very human "robot". When I say, you will laugh your ass off, you definitely will. It's been a while since I myself laughed that hard, that often.
What makes this drama so great are its characters and the cast who did an incredibly smashing job. You will find yourself attached to most of them in no time, and you will have this constant grin on your face whenever you see the leads, the research team (and it was so much fun seeing Uhm Ki Joon play a good guy for a change, too) or that little robot that reminded me so much of Little Groot! Too sad it didn't have much screen-time. The female lead's friend and also her family added a lot to the fluff and comedy, and even though I didn't like the brother in the beginning, his timid behavior grew on me quite fast, too.
As I mentioned before, Yoo Seung Ho literally blew me away in this. His looks/styling were dashing and his acting was cuteness overload without getting too cheesy. He managed to show a plausible transformation from a lonesome boy who fears the contact with other people to a guy who slowly learns to build a relationship with another person. His reactions to new experiences was heartwarming and once in love he became endlessly cute. His crying which I always fear in dramas, were kept in line. It was well balanced most of the time and only one or two times where it was a tiny bit too much, but I don't want to nitpick. I'm more than happy with what everything else he gave me here. And wow, he had such an amazing chemistry with Chae Soo Bin. I loved her in Rebel and was excited to see her in this drama. Both of them delivered beyond my expectations. Especially Chae Soo Bin must be praised for her performance of her human character Jo Ji Ah and the robot Aji 3. I was able to tell them apart very easily and create a bond with both of them individually. I'm even a little sad that the robot didn't have that much screen-time. I would have loved to see more of her.
I usually don't mention kisses but I was quite fixated on them here. I don't even know why, maybe because I can't remember Yoo Seung Ho's previous drama kisses or because I'm always nervous about them in general because they can either be a hit or miss. But don't worry! They were a pleasure to the eyes and to the heart. Lively and cute at the same time.
The only ones I was a little disappoint in, were the bad guys. Kang Ki Young for example. I liked his acting whenever I saw him in a drama. But here he was... how shall I put it... too bland? It didn't reach me, it felt subdued. As if he wanted to show that he can also take on other more serious roles but failed to express the necessary emotions. His character was kind of "flabby". Maybe he is better off playing funny guys. Same goes for the whole conspiracy plot in this drama. I wasn't convinced even one second. The major problem was probably that it didn't get enough screen-time to build a proper ground. On the other hand I won't complain much about it either because I was way more happy to see the leads all the time. I know, it's a contradiction but I can't help it. And since this drama is just another rom-com, I didn't expect much depth in its evil side anyway.
Phew, I wanted to keep myself short on this but ended up going too much into detail. If you were able to read through all of this, let me thank you for enduring this long text. I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts and maybe will start this drama yourself~
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I'm always careful with dramas that put soul-switching/multiple personalities (or whatever you may call it) on their front page, and it depends on the writer's skill whether I will like it or not. I have not yet seen Kill Me, Heal Me (but I want to), so the only other drama I can compare this to is Hyde, Jekyll and Me which has also some diverse opinions. I don't want to scare anybody away from this drama just because he/she didn't like Hyde, Jekyll and Me. There are not much similarities, I only felt slightly reminded of it in the beginning.
At long range Meloholic has its own charm. It starts as a rom-com with a silly student who doesn't care to feel embarrassed while confessing his love for his girlfriend in front of everyone - with the most cringy method ever. Of course it leads to the guy getting dumped. After an incident he achieves the ability to read the minds of women by touching their hand - ONLY woman that is. Later on he meets this girl that seems so different from everyone else he's met over the last years (of course there is no other girl that wears her heart on her sleeve - therefore as we all know it doesn't need further explanation how and why the leads will fall in love, right?). Crucial point about this girl though: She has two personalities and therefore doesn't want to date anyone.
It sounds kinda like your default premise, doesn't it? Well, I won't deny that. And throughout the drama you won't find any unique tropes at all. It's the same chair with just another covering. Even the crime case that suddenly pops up out of nowhere is nothing new anymore. BUT it spiced up the story quite nicely.
It was well connected to the romance plot and moved the story forward. It subtly gained more weight until the right time was near for it to come to the fore. The more you got to know about it, the more thrilling it became. There were only two things that bothered me. It always looked like they wanted to hide the culprit until the story was ready to expose him. But it was pretty obvious who it was since early on. That attempt to hide him was too strong to be trustworthy. The second issue was the finale. Some nonsensical decisions took place that marred the otherwise well done crime.
Because of the additional crime theme the psychological part of the romance and personality aspects is kept short and superficial, so don't expect any deep analyses of dissociative identity disorder or telepathy.
If I had to mention something positive, it would be the comedy. Seriously, I'm quite picky with that one, but I liked it in this drama. Even though it was pretty daring sometimes (yeah, call me a prude but some of them went overboard), it made me laugh out loud other times. And even though it's being used in every drama by now, I still can't get enough of that whiny puppy sound they play whenever a character is showing his puppy eyes.
Okay, let's get to the cast.
Kyung Soo Jin. I love her - like forever. The first time I saw her in was Shark. She was already in her mid-twenties but played a high school girl with so much confidence that it made me remember her for future projects. It's so nice to see her play adult roles because she's capable of so many versatile characters which I just confirmed with this drama again. She is playing two very different personalities stuck in one body. Believe me, you don't recognize the previous personality when they are switching. She's pulling off that role so well that even though the script doesn't allow her to deepen the character, she still manages to breath life into Han Ye Ri/Han Joo Ri. If it wasn't for her, this drama might have become one of the few I would have dropped eventually.
Why? Because whereas there were other entertaining traits, the male lead was a huge turn off. I can't exactly outline what bugged me. His acting was really strange sometimes and it felt awkward to watch him. Especially the kisses. Even though they became a little better towards the end, it was still not enough to satisfy me. There were times when I thought that he looked too much like pervert, although half of it was intentional for the comedy. Maybe... another part of my annoyance might also have been his character. Except for breaking promises he made to his girl, the biggest failure he kept doing was holding her hand to check her thoughts - whether she does say what she thinks or is lying. That's the biggest betrayal of trust you could actually do. If you truly care for your girlfriend, you have to trust her. And if you can't help but to touch her (of course you won't be able to hold back at some point in a relationship), wear some goddamn gloves (even more so tell her about your ability).
Other than that - although it might sound like a contradiction - the leads did have chemistry. I enjoyed their lovey-dovey behavior at times. It was cheesy and exaggerated, but still kinda cute.
Choi Dae Chul, who is playing a university prof and the non-related Hyung of the male lead, is my personal highlight in this drama. He was a pleasure to the eyes and I was fancying over him throughout the whole show. Can he get a lead role in an awesome drama, please?
As I already mentioned before, the finale was a real letdown. It had inconsistencies, stupid decisions, default dialogues, convenient accidents, more stupid behavior and one of the most common drama clichés ever. Even the villain became low-carb food in the last minute.
While my review started out quite positive, it became rather critical mid-way. I have to admit that I'm quite torn about this drama, but I also enjoyed it in some way. If it weren't for Kyung Soo Jin and Choi Dae Chul, my rating would definitely be lower. Half of the show only worked because of those two. And the crime. And the comedy. And the subtle waving between those two genres.
It's hard to say whether to recommend this or not. If you're into the male lead, then you will probably enjoy this alot. If not... phew, you have to decide for yourself whether you can cope with the male lead and still enjoy the things I highlighted ;)
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I feel bad for rating a drama so low because I know that the actors and directors and producers usually put alot of effort in their projects. But I couldn't help myself and I should have known better after seeing the first action scene in the first episode.
So, where to start...
Well, first of all: The drama didn't seem to know what genre it was in. Crime? Suspense? Romance? Comedy? Ridiculous twists? Nothing matched the other. Even if a drama has various genres combined, there should at least be some common vibe during the whole drama. But that wasn't the case.
At the beginning it seemed interesting but as it continued it looked like the writers only thought about the next episode but not about the bigger picture. So, everything looked kinda messed up. There were plot-holes and strange behavior by side characters and turns of events that didn't make sense at all. As it went further ahead it just couldn't pull off the excitement and suspense because of all those absurd things that happened as the story continued.
The cast/The acting.
I really, really wanted to give them a chance. It's Park Shi Hoo finally again, dammit. But even he couldn't convince me at at all in the end. His acting wasn't what it used to be back then (That doesn't mean I won't try out other new projects of him though)
I got annoyed by many ridiculous, shallow characters, but most of all by Seo Ahn played by Choi Yoon So. It seemed like she only had one facial expression. She had ALWAYS the same stare. Furthermore, since she was supposed to be the love interest for Baek Shi Hoon (Park Shi Hoo), she had no chemistry with her co-actor. NOTHING.
Choi Chan Gyu was just dump. The actor himself even admitted that he played a dump character who's only good at running. (Well, I'm sure he meant that in a good way. Not me though)
Writer Bae played by Kwon Yu Ri... well, she was average. She had my support regarding a possible love interest but she couldn't keep that up as her character didn't develop at all. But there was definitely more chemistry between her and Park Shi Hoo than with Seo Ahn.
The only one I really, really liked here (among some other side characters) was police officer In Tae Ho (Jo Sung Ha) and his family. All of them were very adorable. He was the only one who actually showed reasonable inner conflicts and a change of heart in the end.
Also, that one bad guy. Yoon Sang Min (Yoon Tae Young) showed more than just one side of him and the actor was convincing in his role.
I'm not blaming all of it on the acting. I'm partly putting the responsibility for the drama's failure on the directing and script. They didn't do a proper job here and they certainly didn't use the full potential of all those (usually) very good actors. There were scenes where they could have shown more emotion whereas in some other moments half of it would have been sufficient.
Bad. Just bad. Camera movements were too shaky. I know that it's also a method to create some mood but in this show it was too much and made the action scenes become either very blurry or just too vivid (not realistic). It also made the fighting scenes look visibly staged or out of focus.
Well, it wasn't bad but sometimes it was kinda over-dramatized.
Not. At. All. Wasted time in my opinion.
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The first reason why people would actually get interested in this movie must be that beautiful poster. Hands down, they did a great job with that. But don't get your hopes up if you expect something epic.
The story is quite simple. A business man is developing a new area and in the process is killing mermaids whose existence he of course doesn't know of. Therefore the mermaids send their most beautiful girl to kill him. That doesn't go so well because she falls in love with him - and he with her. Of course.
Well, storytelling is as fast as a high-speed train (write off authentic feelings). The scenes are completely exaggerated and (in the beginning) went over the top. After a while though it achieves a balance and holds its ground to a point where the jokes are getting quite funny. There are some hilarious moments that really stuck in my mind. And suddenly the story turns from comical to sober within seconds. The movie takes on a new perspective and shows some really nice action scenes and drama. Adding some beautiful sceneries and sometimes well done CGI and it was easy to go on with the film and finish it.
Like this the movie managed to keep me watching till the end despite all the flaws, and the leads were also kinda charming.
To summon it up:
I went from "Oh sh**, what's that?!" to "Oh well, it's nice and sweet and stupid but enjoyable."
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Since the synopsis is what made everyone curious about the drama first, it's not like you were thrown into cold water. So, of course I knew what was coming. After showing the key incident, the drama starts quietly to show how everything began. After that, most times it just evolves in a way you maybe already foresee - but in a good way, it's not getting boring or someting. It's more like you're anticipating every new development as you want to know whether your judgement was right or not. It's also not without surprises. There are plenty of surprises as well.
What makes the story and the drama so valuable is the cast. Seriously, this awesome cast! Except for Ji Sung and Bae Su Bin I didn't know anyone of the actors here (ok, some of the supporting roles I've seen already somewhere else, but that's not the point here). I only knew Ji Sung from Protect The Boss where he was really good but didn't make me follow his work further. And as for Bae Su Bin... only saw him in 49 Days but can't recall his acting there since it's been too long. So, at the end I was very surprised by all those astonishing actors esp. him. He totally nailed his role here and kinda changed my view of him. So, overall all of them never failed to impress me. Whether it was the bad guys or the good guys or the good ones who turned bad or vice versa. At no point I was ever annoyed by their actions or behaviour whether they acted just like jerks or hypocrites or threw stones in the good guys' ways. I could always comprehend their actions and even loved those moments.
In the end that's the most charming point of this drama, the acting, plus a good script. There are some scenes where you think: 'If that didn't happen, things would have turned out different. She would have ended up with someone else.' It's rare, that I have those thoughts about a drama.
Furthermore, you can actually see the character development here. Not from one person or two but everyone. That's quite enjoyable because you don't have to worry that one of them might fail your expectations. I have to admit, some side characters remained a bit shallow and at some point it bothered me. But in the end I think I can forgive that. (I'm even a little surprised at how the company thing turned out in the end.)
If I had watched this drama when it aired, I don't think I would have had the same feelings towards it. Don't get me wrong, it would still not have effected the rating. Just the feeling would have been somewhat different although I don't know how to explain it.
At some point I thought I wouldn't want to rewatch the drama because the same anxiousness wouldn't be there or at least be the same as the first time. But now I think different. The first half of the drama was very intriguing, watching that vengeful person slowly turning and not being able to resist any longer in the end.
So, to cut it short: I enjoyed this drama very much!
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Back then during the airing I wasn't really interested in Healer. The story seemed nice, the only actress I already knew from previous dramas was Park Min Young. But the poster didn't look very appealing. So, I kind of skipped the drama. But not long ago someone indirectly pushed me to watch it, partly because of Ji Chang Wook. I didn't know him until now.
I think 'Healer' is the ever first drama I gave a detailed 10 point rating in all categories. I have alot of favorite dramas in my list and also one that I like the most (who doesn't). Until now. Although I don't want to rush things, I'm afraid Healer just kicked my current No.1. I'd never thought a day like this will come. But here it is.
What impressed me the most? Or... well, it was more like I got bewitched, enchanted, placed under a spell or whatever you may call it.
First of all the story. Without that... well, everything has to start with an idea, a story to tell. And I must show my utmost respect and gratitude to the writers of Healer. It's not only the plot but also the way how the story unfolds. There are so many moments when you think you know exactly what happens next and what happened in the past. And then peng!, it takes you completely off guard because something totally different was the case. You get fooled quite good. Many times.
On the other hand, there are also many moments you can't get enough of and you think to yourself, he/she should do this now, it's only logical. And as if the drama can read your mind, it just takes your thoughts and wishes and displays it on the screen. Then you find yourself quitely giggling and smiling while watching the leads acting out your only just daydreams.
Okay. A good story doesn't function without good acting. And damn!, they hit the jackpot with those actors and actresses. And not only the few leads. No, even the smaller parts, the supporting roles and the bystanders were awesome in their appearences and carried out their 'missions' perfectly.
The romance part is a special case. Nowadays I'm a bit picky with it. Here it just hits and hits and hits and there's no other way than gazing at the screen and immerse in the mood. And again, giggling along.
Music? Fits! Everytime. Everywhere.
Fighting scenes. I have to mention it because they did such a good job with that. You don't get the feeling that it's just show but that they are actually able to move that way.
Cinematography? 10 points. There wasn't even one scene where I thought the producers missed some editing. Everything just fits in pefectly... Okay, there was one thing. But it's not even worth mentioning because it was such a small matter and could be explained well, fitting the story.
At the end there's only one downer. Too short! It's the first time that I actually think 20 episodes where way too short for this story. At least some more scenes at the end? No? No...
Okay, now I'm off, but still in awe. I have to go track down the OST, so that I can enjoy this satisfying feeling that Healer left me with a little longer.
Oh, and I just love Kim Mi Kyung. Such a talented and charismatic actress.
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The drama has a very good, fast pace throughout the whole story. There was a well woven net of deception and order of events that led to a well carried (but also kinda calm) finale, even though I still felt like being in the middle of the story at the beginning of the final episode. I could have watched so much more. Seriously.
Characters (played by a high level cast) were so well written, so multifaceted, so likable - some more, some less. There were bad guys who were bad and clever, good guys were good and clever, the police was actually police and seemed to get its job done properly while the power-division/struggle was evenly shared and well balanced. There was always the right amount of give and take and there was no one who would always have the upper hand.
Action scenes were also very well choreographed without looking excessive, but still emanating some coolness. The best thing about that part: Even though there were many fights with one guy versus many gangsters... They never made them look like superhumans with endless physical strength and stamina. Regarding the environment they grew up, they were of course well trained. But that never meant that they were able to take on a bunch of ruthless thugs and get away unscathed. They either got beaten pretty badly or were able to run away in the end. And that is way more realistic than everything else you so often see in other dramas.
Romance was... intense and hot but sometimes also on the short side. I mean I'm a fan of dramas where romantic scenes appear rather rarely. Because when they do happen they feel so much deeper. And I just wished that those rare scenes in this story would have been extended a little bit. Though I can't blame the writers either because there was so much to tell in this story since there were so many great characters, that it must have been difficult to pack everything in 20 episodes.
Jung Kyung Ho was fantastic in almost every aspect... Yes, you heard right. "Almost." :P And this is probably only a personal matter of taste. I'm not really a fan of those high pitched sounds when someone is crying. I mean... don't get me wrong, it totally fitted the moment and showed an increased level of emotion necessary for that scene, and it was definitely done splendidly by him. And maybe I'm only complaining about this tiny little thing, because I was looking for perfection after all that praise, but it still got me a little distracted. Though I wouldn't let this small matter affect my rating.
It was a great and very entertaining, moving and captivating drama nonetheless, and it by all means deserves all the praise it's getting.
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First of all, this is definitely one of the better crime investigation dramas out there and evidence that OCN can indeed produce great shows. I lost faith after Neighborhood Hero, but Missing Noir M was able to mend my shattered heart.
The acting was thoroughly awesome. Not only the leads who had great chemistry in a non-romantic way but also every single guest actor/actress who played important roles in each case. They were able to make me excited to a point where I couldn't stop watching while at the same time I was worried that I'd finish this drama too fast. It's unfortunately only 10 episodes but I could have watched 10 more of it. The cast delivered their emotions and messages so well, that I'm still stunned when I think about it. Though I didn't really cry, they still moved me to tears so many times. This was about interpersonal relationships which were put to proof under extreme circumstances. It's about justice and injustice, and about trust and suspicion.
What I loved so much here was how every case was built. Disclosing one secret always meant to find ~10 other secrets within that had to be solved in order to see the whole magnitude. Layer by layer and in the end the picture always looked completely different from what you had expected in the beginning.
Though I must say that I didn't enjoy the last case as much as the earlier ones. Maybe it's because I prefer psychological mind games over corruption cases. I know what they wanted to tell their viewers with that last one, but I still think that it didn't really fit well between those other mind-blowing puzzles. It seemed rather short and rushed and failed to properly explain its own story. It felt plain compared to the other cases.
There were also some loose ends, especially the reason why they even formed that special missing persons investigation team when they were so worried about opening Pandora's Box. It was quite well explained for the first case but for all the other ones, it remains a mystery to me.
Background music was, as I already mentioned some days ago, exceptional. So damn well composed, balanced and in sync that it managed to liven up every important moment to its full potential.
Rating 9/10 - Great ride and exciting watch ?
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So, yes. This drama was hyped alot and now that it's finished, opinion is deeply divided on this issue. I think the only problem is that the more you label something as perfect, the more you'll get disappointed when it doesn't reach your expectations in the end. You know the saying 'Don't count your chickens before they're hatched.' That perfectly describes what went wrong here. So yes, everyone said it was perfect in the beginning. As it went further, the excitement and hype expanded and many people said it was flawless, so it HAD to be flawless. Not letting in even one mistake.
Maybe it's overrated as some people say. But that doesn't mean it was a bad drama. It was still great and many people enjoyed the ride. Because there WERE great parts in it. Parts that filled us with excitement, with joy, with happiness and with sadness, frustration and anger.
So, what was so great here?
The bromance. Two totally different guys being the best buddies you've ever seen.
The romance. Refreshingly no love triangles, instead you can ship not only one but two couples wholeheartedly and not be afraid of some twists within their relationships as those we have already experienced in other dramas. You can enjoy the sincere feelings, the genuine caring and worrying and loving. There's chemistry between all of them and you can feel that the actors also felt proud to be part of something so special like this. The whole team is complementing each other.
The comedy. You have to admit, you laughed your butts off. Hilarious scenes all over the place.
The side characters (the good guys): It's not the first drama but there aren't THAT many dramas out there, where you actually sympathize with every character that appears in one show. Regarding that, it never gets boring.
The scenery: Not the usual korean areas around here but something new and refreshing. Beautiful landscapes and impressions.
As to where we took a hit: In my opinion it was the story. It wasn't bad. And until reaching a certain point it was quite entertaining. I would have liked it more if there had been one big story running like a golden thread through the whole drama. Not those many smaller stories following one after another - as interesting as they were in their own. But what really created some headaches (at least for me) where some issues that didn't add up to a logical process. And that was what made me kinda disappointed because those flaws were obvious. It seemed like all the effort they built in the beginning subsided towards the end and made some scenes seem ridiculous.
As for the bad guys... Well, that's an issue per se. They weren't that bad. They did a decent job and gave off thrilling moods, although sometimes it seemed a bit overdramatized. Maybe because most of them were foreign villains. And as we all know, foreigners in a korean drama just seem weird most times. Plus the foreign languages. Well, I wasn't really bothered by it. We are happy when they can actually pull that off better than what we'd expect. But we're also not disappointed because that's just the korean 'style'.
The OST was great because it created a unique feeling and beautiful atmosphere for the drama. Definitely on my mp3 list, soon.
So, nevertheless of all the critiques... Descendants of the Sun is by far not the most perfect drama out there. But it still manages to entertain us in many, many ways and often throws us in some big thrilling turmoil, what shouldn't be disregarded. And of course at some point it made us all hooked up.
Although I had some disappointed moments myself, I still enjoyed the drama. I will definitely rewatch this one as I want to re-feel all the emotions I run through during the first watch, but this time without having to wait until next week.
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Overall, it's not really a horror movie. It starts like one, with all the suspense, dark corners and those special asian girls crawling on the floor, all wet hair and moving strangely. At some point I thought it was something like 'A Tale of Two Sisters', but it's not.
But the turn in the middle of the story was quite a surprise and left me less anxious. I was more relaxed while watching but it was nevertheless still exciting. In fact I enjoyed it even more. The beginning was a bit too calm and maybe a bit boring. I guess the producers were trying to create a really oppressive atmosphere but that didn't work out that well. Therefore the second half of the movie was more interesting (although a little more suspense couldn't have hurt).
Focusing on the little details... The scenery/setting was quite nice. I enjoyed looking at the places and the school. Also the make-up. It didn't show much but it was effective, well placed and did add to the atmosphere.
The acting of the girls was also a plus (not the principal though - too hollow). I'm starting to recognize Park Bo Young's skills. I already saw her in 'Oh My Ghostess' and 'Don't Click' and I liked her acting so far. And since I didn't watch 'A Werewolf Boy' yet, I guess I have to continue with that one.
Don't mind my rewatch value. It was a good movie but I don't think I will watch it again.
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First thing I imagine when I read the title, is something flashy, magical and colorful. "A Korean Odyssey" definitely scores a hit in that category. Bright colors and places that make the world our characters are living in seem a little extraordinary. On the other hand (and my personal complaints) is the way those elements were executed. You might disagree with me and say that if the story itself is good, one can overlook failed CGI effects. Well, for me it's a really important factor because well done special effects can lift the quality and increase the impact of a certain moment a lot. You can probably imagine how I had to cringe whenever such a scene occurred - most of all in the finale.
Despite that though! When it came down to the really important things which involved feelings, difficult decisions, realizations etc, you can say that the job was done neatly. They were even able to offer some killer minutes of emotional torture.
Looking at the story, yes, the first half didn't feel like having a clear structure or a straight path to follow. It seemed uneven and tortuous. The second half though was more focused on progressing the actual story and preparing for the finale. As you can see, I liked the plot. The cast was great and fun to watch. Lee Seung Gi had great chemistry with all his co-actors, esp with Chae Seung Won (it's a matter of fact that these two are a match made in heaven - literally) and Oh Yeon Seo. I was worried about some awkward kisses between them and they were indeed a little coy at first, but in the end they did really, REALLY well.
What else to like... I became a big fan of the supporting roles in this drama and the one who needs to be mentioned so much is Lee Se Young. In "The Best Hit" she didn't leave a lasting impression, rather the opposite. That's why I was even more surprised when I finally spotted her in this. Yes, it took me a while to even recognize her and if you haven't watched the drama yet, you will get what I'm talking about right then. Let me applaud to that girl, she was a real bombshell.
My second favorite was/were Fairy Ha and Winter General. Two characters, two genders but one actor. Sung Hyuk was incredible. He pulled off these two totally different and yet so similar personalities, made both appear with their own aura and was able to touch my heart with their story.
Lee Hong Ki aka PK. I enjoyed his character the more I saw of him. Just like all the other heavenly creatures he was flawed, self-centered and never left out an advantageous opportunity (even though he was interrupted most times). But he had his heart in the right place and defended that one friend he got impulsively - although not always with the most clever methods.
My happiest moments while watching "Hwayugi" were whenever I noticed certain elements of other mangas. Yes, you did read right. It doesn't sound nice, I know. But believe me, it's not meant in a bad way. It's exactly the opposite because there were so many different things packed in this one drama, that they became a sweet additional ingredient. Some examples are Inuyusha, Kamisama Hajimemashita, Sailor Moon and Naruto. Feel free to search for other ones. It's definitely a fun side game.
I mentioned "striking flaws" earlier and I already noted the most annoying things for me. If I were to add one more thing it would be the music. Don't get me wrong, the songs were a beautiful mood supporter. But whenever they changed scenes, they cut off the tune so brutally, that they ruined my special moments and gave me a hard time getting into the new scene.
This being said... I don't know about others (although I saw that not everyone was satisfied and expectations were shattered cruelly), I for myself had a great time watching "A Korean Odyssey". I was not able to overlook its blunders, but they were not overwhelming enough either and didn't diminish my enjoyment. Call it guilty pleasure or whatever. I had a great time.
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Then when you're halfway finished with it, the waiter suddenly takes your meal away and puts the most common dessert in front of you. You know it, you've eaten it so many times and you like it because it's delicious but you just don't want to eat something sweet now. You want your spicy, juicy steak back. But that won't happen. And that leaves two options: Swallow the pill or cancel the rest of your meal. If you do decide to continue eating, be aware that at the very end you might bite on a forgotten nail or something. It sounds disgusting, I know. But don't say I didn't warn you.
One of the worst things that can happen to a drama is mixing up genres the wrong way. You always have one main genre and only glimpses of other ones. It's important to stay true to your roots and never let any side genre take over. Because if that happens, it will ruin the mood like nothing else, especially if they allow the most common plot holes to occur along the way. The story becomes sloppy and all over the place and you just feel like being on a very bad trip. One part of you feels angry and frustrated, the other one feels pity for the impressive first half of the drama that got you so damn invested in the story.
I know that I sound very negative right now and many might wonder why I still gave such a (relatively) high rating considering everything that went wrong. Well, as I said before, those first 9 episodes were almost brilliant. And I would recommend them without a second thought. After that it feels like a sharp clean cut and everyone has to decide for themselves if they are willing to watch the messed up rest. I finished this drama because I was curious about that ending everyone was complaining about. Well... it was indeed something I would have never imagined. It's not explosively unexpected, it's more like the tip of the iceberg after a chaotic and way too long aftermath.
I gave this drama a 7 because there were many things I really, really liked. First of all of course those first 9 episodes that take you on a thrilling journey full of surprises and "what the hell"-moments.
Then those 9 survivors. Believe me when I say that the actors were doing a great job with their characters, most of all Jung Kyung Ho who I avoided for a long time. I didn't even like his role in this at first. He was pissing me off and I never expected to grow fond of him. But I did. He became my most favorite character, along with Baek Jin Hee's role. Those two had amazing chemistry till the very end, and regarding every relationship I've seen in dramas until now, they have become one of my dearest. I loved how they became fond of each other, how they supported each other. I loved their warmth as well as their teasing, and I loved how they encouraged and gained strength through each other. But most of all I loved how Seo Joon Oh (Jung Kyung Ho) became a better person through Ra Bong Hee (Baek Jin Hee).
The music is playing an important role in this drama as well because it literally takes you away. It sets the right mood when the show drifts to the island and focuses on every single person, their endurance, their personal development and different realizations while facing extreme hardships. After listening to it again, it reminds me of Hayao Miyazaki's movies. There is something dreamy about it within the instrumental pieces.
Sometimes their time on the island didn't seem to take itself serious and the group looked like they were on a picnic trip or something. But those scenes never lasted too long, the anxiousness remained and unfolded in no time afterwards again.
After those incredible 9 episodes you get thrown into your typical k-drama world filled with clichés and plot holes and an unexpected overwhelming comedy that makes the drama look like it doesn't take itself serious any more. While confronted with corruption from all sides (one of my most hated tropes in dramas), they behave like they got all the time in the world, calmly chit-chatting at home and meeting up in public as if there's no danger closing in at all - but the villains don't seem as clever either. Not to mention the ridiculous ending that will only hit you during the last five minutes.
Don't get me wrong, I loved most of the subtle comedy parts as well, if I look at them individually. But in combination with the first half of Missing 9, it felt off and ruined the initial expectations I (and probably many others) had. The mix between mystery and later corruption/comedy didn't go well in my eyes.
A few things that remained the same (thank god) were Joon Oh's and Bong Hee's special relationship, me growing fonder of them every time they appeared on screen and those genuine talks between two characters, filled with meaningful closeness and honesty. Contrary to everything that went wrong and could have made me drop the drama, those few consistent things were strong enough to keep me at bay and complete the drama. I've seen way worse than this. What makes this drama such a disappointment is the brusque change in the script that started off great in the beginning and remains brilliant in its core.
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At this point I may be already biased in judging this drama objectively. I won't tell you guys to go watch this if you haven't done it yet. It's not possible for everyone to like or love it (what kind of drama can actually do that). It's also not perfect, I admit that. But despite all that I was highly entertained and mesmerized by this one and have a hard time containing my fangirling over this.
Is it truly this awesome? Yes, for me it was. It's like Healer in sageuk style. Not much similarity but the same charm that will capture your heart. The same way Ji Chang Wook convinced and bewitched me, the same way did Lee Joon Gi. Before starting their dramas I had either never heard of them before or didn't complete a drama with them yet. So, I was walking into this drama without a fangirling heart for the leads but ended up getting one.
Not much to tell about the story since the summary is already saying everything, although it's not quite accurate and a little misleading (as summaries always are, imo). But see for yourself if you start this drama.
What I liked about The Night Scholar was in fact the story-telling. The impressive and shocking beginning, the introduction of the characters, the way new events were unfolding and leading to new plot twists... and most of all it seemed like the drama always knew what I wanted to see next. The writer(s) should be complimented for giving me that kind of feeling (of a fangirl that doesn't care for logic but only wants to have her way with the characters) and still make the story work properly and logically.
As I mentioned before Lee Joon Gi was impressive and found his way into my heart. His display of the vampire Kim Sung Yeol was great. His turmoil, his growing love, his overcoming over his past love...
The other characters grew on me, too. Kim So Eun was great in portraying two different characters, esp. the conflict of her second role here. Shim Chang Min and Lee Soo Hyuk did a solid job of their roles as the Crown Prince and the evil vampire Gwi, and the supporting actors also did their parts well. Not outstanding but a solid, (most times) convincing performance.
The reason I didn't give this a 10 is simply because there were times when I wasn't fully convinced with the fights. For a mystery drama the special effects were really good. But as for some battles and confrontations... sometimes they looked a little too staged and/or forced. No matter how much I enjoyed this drama I couldn't overlook those parts as they were continuously knocking against my head. But on the other hand big compliment to the make-up artists. They did a great job with all the blood, the look of the vampires and everything else (esp. the ugly duck turning into a swan scene).
Putting that aside... Let's talk about the music. Great plus as most times in sageuks! Harmonizing with the story and making the scenes look even more emotional. I'm already in love with the OST.
Phew... looks like I still got to say all the things I wanted to tell, haha~ Hope, you enjoyed this review (although it got quite long...), despite the fact that it might sound biased.
Ohhh, wait! Before we go on with our lives... Can someone please admire the scholar's garbs?
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