Sunday, August 24, 2014
Famous idols who go into acting often share a very similar issue. The position of the roles they get is very central compared to what their skills at the time can actually handle. Park Yoo-chun showed promise straight away, by managing to carry the role of a lead in his very first work a lot better than what a lot of idols or other rookies manage.
Park's career in the Korean drama scene started with 'Sungkyunkwan Scandal' in 2010. Since then, he has been having a very steady career in this industry and has also made his entrance into movies with 2014 film 'Sea Fog'. Park's strength in terms of choices comes from the fact that he does not go for romance alone, neither do his efforts only go as far as will be beneficial to his career as a musician.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Idol Actors] Park Yoo-chun and Seo In-guk.
Co-written with Raine of 'Raine's Dichotomy'.
There are a lot of issues with the Korean drama industry and the fact that new ideas can rarely escape the confines of the drama formula is one of the big ones. Romance is almost inescapable and overly melodramatic tropes and devices turning cliche are another such element. Even good writing cannot always escape those and often does not even try. 'Nine: Time Travelling Nine Times' is a series which had great potential and has many virtues, but it also has a few problems, its biggest issue being that it fails to incorporate a solid romance into its plot and goes cheap with its melodrama.
When Park Seon-woo's (Lee Jin-wook) brother is discovered dead in the Himalayas, an incense stick he was holding is found in his belongings. After Seon-woo discovers he can travel back in time upon burning the stick, he tracks the case containing the rest of them and makes a plan to use this ability in order to prevent a tragedy that ruined his family. With barely any grasp on how the sticks work and no clue about their origins, Seon-woo finds himself meddling with a force he cannot control and which brings about many changes, not all of them for the better.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Nine: Time Travelling Nine Times".
Sunday, August 17, 2014
Knowing one's level and limitations is an important virtue for creators of any kind. While ambition is good, it is also crucial to not take oneself more seriously than is appropriate. One common issue in Korean dramas is that works often tend to present themselves as more than the light entertainment they usually are. Once in a while, however, come shows that know where they stand, be they melodramatic or comedic. 'Haeundae Lovers' is a romantic comedy drama and it is also fluff, something which it is aware and unapologetic of, allowing it to be fun.
Lee Tae-seong (Kim Kang-woo) is a prosecutor who is devoted to and passionate about his job. He has a rich and powerful father, a beautiful fiancée, but cares more about catching criminals than belonging in his circles. For his latest case, he goes undercover and attempts to infiltrate the family of Go So-ra (Jo Yeo-jeong), the daughter and heir of a famous has-been gang in Busan. So-ra and her family are trying to get by and hope to one day reclaim the hotel that was stolen from her father, leaving him mentally challenged during the gang conflict. After losing his memory due to an accident, Tae-seong is taken in by the family and begins bonding with them and falling for So-ra in the process.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Haeundae Lovers".
CN Blue’s lead singer, Jeong Yong-hwa, is a talented man with a expansive stage presence and an abundance of energy. More often than not, however, this presence and energy doesn’t find its way into Jeong’s dramas. That makes his characters shaky. His more recent work has more finesse and relatability, but he started out quite rocky.
Jeong’s first role was as the second lead in the 2009 drama “You’re Beautiful”. He had just debuted with his band CN Blue and was a rookie in every sense of the word. It is difficult for rookies to take on lead roles with no experience to fuel their acting. This was true for Jeong. Although he is winning on a concert stage and on reality television, it is quite another thing for him to take on the persona of another and be convincing with it. His Sin-woo in “You’re Beautiful” went through the motions, but did not feel alive. Despite this, “You’re Beautiful” was wildly successful and gave him a foot in the door for his next big television project.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Idol Actors] Jeong Yong-hwa and Kim Hyun-joong.
Co-written with Raine of 'Raine's Dichotomy'.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
So while I have been busy and unaware of Korean happenings these past few days, this happened. A piece of news, translated above by Soompi, about Kang Dong Won having tried to get back to Korean drama and gotten rejected for the undisclosed part he took a shot at.
Firstly, I am amused by the fact that many fans think the rejection was shocking. Casting directors are not fangirls, folks. We might find these people awesome, but everyone has their place. Kang Dong Won has little drama experience and is probably higher maintenance than actors who are used to being treated poorly by this system.
Secondly, since no really awesome dramas have come out lately, I am personally glad he was rejected. I hope he can maybe land a cable one or at least almost entirely pre-produced one. There is no way he can avoid the things he went through during his short drama career on any of the Big Three and any live-filmed production and I hope he is not expecting to. If he does choose such a drama, he will have to be prepared. I personally think he might even take another 10-year drama break after that, having been traumatized all over again.
One thing is for sure, he is going to get a lot of offers from now on. While creators will be skeptical and probably afraid of him, he is a big enough name to bring in people's interest and productions will still want him in their works just for that. I really hope he will choose wisely, because the issues he seemed to have a problem with have not really gone anywhere and we all know the artistic level and integrity of dramas is less stable than a crystal glass in a roller-coaster.
Photo credit: Cine21.com