May. 15th, 2008

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Damo
I was expecting a lot from the drama, because it had universally rave reviews, and the plot seemed different and intriguing - a woman detective in the Chosun Dynasty who solves crime while dealing with the stigma of being both a woman and of low-status. Then I watched the first episode, and was alternately bored and amused (for all the wrong reasons). They used wire-action for the fight scenes, the kind of thing you'd see in wuxia movies and dramas where people walk up walls and trees and fly, rather than the more realistic (comparatively) martial arts style that I've gotten used to seeing in kdramas, and for me personally it didn't work. I kept on having flashbacks to the Prince of Tennis and the increasingly insane tennis moves that Ryoma used. I'm not sure why I had such a negative reaction, because the other times when I've seen this style it's worked for me, but here I found it obvious and boring. All the slow motion flying in space when they keep the same posture for seconds on end, predictable and uninspiring martial arts moves in between the special effects, and in one scene where they were playing a version of polo the heroine did these gravity-defying acrobatics that I just gaped at because, y'know, it's really not necessary to do multiple mid-air cartwheels in order to hit a ball across a goal - you could just hit it. They meant to portray the heroine as cool and kick-ass in that scene, and all I could think was that they were trying way too hard, and for that and other reasons, such as the fact that at times she could be very servile, I ended up disliking her. Also, the romance bits bored me. The silent pining for each other only works for me when (a) I'm already invested in both the characters and (b) it's very subtle, and I have to figure it out on my own. Here it wasn't subtle at all, and it came at a time when I wasn't at all invested in the characters - quite the opposite, in fact.

The Legend/Tae Wang Sa Shin Gi/Four Gods
cut for length; no major spoilers )

Jumong
An eighty-one episode historical kdrama. I'm only on episode eight, and am somewhat surprised by how much I'm liking this so far, considering that I don't care much for the romance that was featured in the first few episodes or Jumong, the lead. I think its because it feels like we're not supposed to like Jumong right now, and also there was enough political intrigue and martial arts to keep me entertained in between the romance, and I'm really curious about how well they're able to do the hero arc. The only major negative note I have right now - I hatehateHATE how passively accepting the ex-priestess is, and it looks like they're setting her up to be a major love interest. I weep.

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