Wednesday, November 2, 2016

K-Drama: Scarlet Heart Ryeo

Synopsis: Lee Joon Ki (Arang and the Magistrate) and Lee “IU” Ji Eun (Dream High) star in a dangerous romance across time in what sure to be one of the biggest historical epics of the year. Hae Soo (IU) is a 21st century woman who gets caught in a solar eclipse and is transported to the Goryeo Dynasty, which ruled Korea from the 10th century for nearly 500 years. Suddenly, Hae Soo finds herself in the royal palace, where she comes across Fourth Prince Wang So (Lee Joon Ki). A man as feared as he is handsome, Wang So is based on the real-life fourth king of the Goryeo Dynasty and makes others tremble but wins over Hae Soo’s heart. However, he is not the only one in the palace with eyes on the throne, and a political battle of deception, secrecy and lies ensues between Wang So and all the other princes. Adding to the drama are Eighth Prince Wang Wook (Heirs star Kang Ha Neul), who is less than willing to wait in line behind seven other members of the royal family, and Third Prince Wang Yo (Beloved alum Hong Jong Hyun), whose right to the crown actually precedes Wang So’s.

Also known as Moon Lovers - Scarlet Heart: Ryeo, the drama is based on the Chinese novel Bu Bu Jing Xin by Tong Hua, which also inspired the 2011 Chinese hit Scarlet Heart starring Cecilia Liu and Nicky Wu. 

My thoughts: MY FAVORITE K-DRAMA OF ALL TIMES! BY FAAAAR! It has everything: romance, action, history, drama, comedy and adventure!

It’s about a 21st century girl who gets transported to the Goryeo Dynasty (around the 10th century and lasted about 500 years) because of a solar eclipse. She gets caught up in the royal family, having to live among the fourteen princes of the King Taejo. In between, there is the arrival of the 4th prince Kang Wang So, who was “adopted” – more like living as a hostage – by another region and returns home. But, because of his looks – he has a scar that is covered up by a mask that resembles the one of the Phantom of the Opera – and the rumors surrounding him, is feared by everybody.

First of all, I have to say that I LOVE HISTORICAL SERIES. That’s because they have to put more effort than the series that happen today. Not that the present-time series aren’t good, but historical need to do a lot more research in order to be accurate, from social structure and behavior to the wardrobe. With that being said, this show is very historically accurate, at least for me who am not very familiarized with Korean History. The series is all history based, so their way of moving and talking is completely different from today. Even the alphabet at the Goryeo Dynasty was distinct: they seemed to use the Chinese symbols rather than the Hangul, which is the alphabet used today. So the series made sure to show that.

Also, the reason I liked it so much was because it resembled me of Outlander, by Diana Galbadon. A girl is transported to the past and has to try to survive in there, without knowing when she was going to come back.

Second, the acting was ON POINT. Lee Joon Ki (that plays Wang So) was amazingly good, as well as all the other actors – Baekhyun (EXO’s main vocalist) as the 10th prince, IU (singer) as the protagonist Hae Soo, Kang Ha Neul as the 8th prince, Kim Ji Soo as the 14th prince, and everybody else. I screamed and cheered throughout this TV show, and the last episodes made me cry, because their acting was SO GOOD, that I couldn’t help but suffer WITH them. As you all know, it’s VERY hard for me to cry when watching something: be it a movie, a TV show, you name it. So to be able to actually make me cry, make my nose run and my tears fall is a HU-GE deal for me. I hated Yeon Hwa – she is the 8th prince’s sister, a b** who wants the throne and the power that comes with it – with all my heart, as well as the 3rd prince Wang Yo, the 9th prince Wang Wook and the Queen Mother Yo – mother to the 3rd, 4th and 14th prince. The queen specially because she was the one who scarred her son for life, and was such a fake person, rotten inside and manipulative toward her sons, that I questioned myself if she ever loved one of them, or if she was only trying to secure her place as one of the most powerful people inside the palace.

A thing that I realized in Korea is that looks REALLY matter over there, and apparently in the past that also applied. The 4th prince was condemned to live apart from his family for years because his mother couldn’t LOOK at the face that she herself scarred. He used a mask for most of his life because he knew that people would be disgusted and afraid to look at him! Only when Hae Soo appears and sees him as a NORMAL BEING, not a monster or a demon because of his looks, that he first experience affection. The actress that played Hae Soo was very good: she isn’t like Outlander’s Claire, strong-headed lass, but she isn’t a plant either. Soo is, after all, a 21st century woman, and even in Korea things have change since the 10th century. It was very pleasant to watch her.

Third, the soundtrack was AMAZING. I liked it so much midway through of the series I already knew how to sing most of them – in a broken Korean, but no matter. They were so soft, beautiful and heartbreakingly adorable, as well as some were melancholic AF. The OST has to be good in order to complete the context of the scene that is shown and boy, they killed it!

The only ONLY thing that really irritated me was the ending. Don’t take me wrong, it was beautiful and touching and all that, BUT I WAS PROMISED A MEETING, A RENCOUTER, AND THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN! For Pete’s sake, the way they ended it was so maddening that I couldn’t function after a few hours and even when I lied in bed to sleep I wasn’t believing my eyes. They created such a beautiful love story, a kind of transcendental love, that would last centuries and ENDED LIKE THAT?! C’MOM PEOPLE YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT! The alternative endings I created in my mind were FAR BETTER. It was a good ending, but not up to the level of the show.