Sunday, 21 April 2019

Reunited Worlds | Thoughts

Image: asianwiki
I started this drama thinking I'm gonna get a good mystery of why main character Sung Hae Sung
resurrected 12 years after he died. From the get go, we saw that Sung Hae Sung found a student (Yang Kyung Chul), unconscious and bloody in the school's art room, then rushed out to get help but was hit by a car while cycling really fast to get across a road. He died and was pinned as Yang Kyung Chul's murderer. As for the car accident, the car belonged to Hae Sung's friend, Cha Tae Hoon's father, but the driver was another man who was later revealed as Cha Min Joon's uncle. Also Cha Min Joon was Cha Tae Hoon's half brother but Tae Hoon didn't know that until the final episode. Of course, the real driver wasn't the uncle but Tae Hoon's father Cha Gwon Pyo and the uncle took the blame in exchange for Gwon Pyo's investment in Min Joon's restaurant. Finally, Tae Hoon lived 12 years of his life thinking he killed Yang Kyung Chul but the real killer was Park Dong Seok, Kyung Chul's friend who accidentally killed him in a scuffle over - need a pause here cause the reason is really stupid - a really stupid reason. Finally finally, Hae Sung had to return to wherever he had to and the mystery of how & why he came back was unanswered. There, I just spoiled everything for you in the first paragraph.

So in the end, the mysterious atmosphere of Reunited Worlds wasn't as strong as the synopsis portrayed it to be. (Which was why I think I took several gaps watching this drama and one gap was way too long. Heh.) We get lots of family and friendship drama in between. Bearable, not too bad but can be boring and draggy at times. Especially the times when Hae Sung and girlfriend Jung Jung Won swooned over each other. We would learn things like Hae Chul having a daughter, Young Jun becoming a cardiologist and kept mum about his siblings, Tae Hoon and Young In seeing each other and Soo Ji needing a kidney transplant. I may have just spoiled more things for you. Occasional comic relief was provided by Hae Sung's friends Hong Jin Joo and Shin Ho Bang as well as drunken Cha Min Joon.

One thing I really like in the show is the apartment. Jung Won lived on the top floor, Ho Bang and Hae Sung became her neighbours in later episodes and in the final episode, Hae Chul's family lived on the ground floor. There was on the top floor a recreational space with a table and two benches where Jung Won and friends could gather and drink beer. How cosy is that? The downside about it though is it was right beside the road.

Sure there were herrings thrown in the way, like the first art teacher who refused to talk, making her seemed a little suspicious. Then the suspicions got thrown to the second art teacher who was like all secretive with Tae Hoon's mother but let me tell you, if my memory serves me right, the real mystery is this: why did the second art teacher told Yang Kyung Chul to meet her at the BACK gate of the school at 7 PM just to scold him for some damage he did at the art room? That is one dedicated art teacher.

The second real mystery is this: is the school not locked at night? Is this just me or is there a cultural difference between schools in Malaysia and South Korea?

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Life on Mars | Thoughts

I finally completed this Korean remake of the BBC series after many weeks when I first started. I feel a sense of accomplishment and slightly sheepish at the same time.

Image: asianwiki
As always, draggy at times but I would say Life on Mars is a rather successful one because I still wanted to finish it despite not following the second half of the drama consistently. Because of that my memory of what happen in the earlier episodes was also kinda fuzzy but the main plot was very much graspable.

I wasn't satisfied with the ending though. It didn't feel right. You see, at first it seemed that our main guy Han Tae Joo had time travelled from the present 2018 to the past 1988. Later, the story seemed to establish that he did not actually time travel. Instead all that was happening was a vivid dream as he was in a one-month-coma. He then woke up from his coma, back to the present 2018 where life supposedly and logically really was. However, he couldn't ignore the 1988 cry for help just before he woke up so he was shown later to jump off a building and bam, he was back in 1988. He decided to stay. The end. So what, did he jump to his death? Did he die? Just to return to a world that once seemed vividly real but at the same time may not be possible, given that the possibility of time travel wasn't properly establish? Also, leaving his mother, his real and alive mother, in the real world?! For 1988? Don't leave your mother man, don't leave your mother.

Overall, a nice drama. I would say go for it.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Blood Moon

28th July 2018, 4.30 a.m. I saw the blood moon! I was ecstatic!

I forgot that the position of the moon will differ as the hours go so by the time I woke up to look at it from the bedroom window, the sky appeared moonless. Because it rained earlier, I thought the clouds were still thick, so thick that it blocked every light that the moon shone through. Should I give up? It happened the last time I tried to see the supermoon. I decided I should go outside and look one more time. I couldn't stand not knowing. So glad I insisted to go outside in the wee hours of the morning. Turned to look at my bedroom window and there it was, the blood moon! Way above the window, up in the sky, far away.  No wonder I couldn't see it from my window. *facepalm*

It look smaller than usual. An indication it was farther than usual. Clouds were breaking and drifting so sometimes blood moon seems to turn dark before becoming rock red again. Wasn't bright as the eyes desired but the reddish hue was certain to show through. Heard you could see it brighter and clearer in the peninsular east coast and east Malaysia. Tried to take a picture or two with my phone camera but we all know it was pointless.

A lunar eclipse, something that we learnt in primary school a long time ago and naturally something a child me wanted to see but not until years later. Gosh, witnessing it with my very own eyes, is ecstasy.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Lookout | Thoughts

This post is looong overdue but here it is.

Image: hancinema
Alas, another drama to suffer the blow of a good potential-full buildup and climax but a mediocre ending. Maybe even less than mediocre. Lookout is not bad actually. It has lots of characters to root for and you get that feeling of wanting justice to be served as the story goes on. Sure it's typical but it's satisfaction when you see the bad guys get arrested thanks to the meticulous track down and bravado by our heroes. The ending theme song also fit the story very well. Then, as the story nearly comes to its conclusion, two things made less sense.

The main antagonist, a rich high school boy, gifted with the talent of drawing, had completed a large drawing on canvas but hid it behind a white cloth and lied about the canvas being still empty. One day, his classmate who came over to his house for a group study (although it is only the two of them. What do you call a group study that has only two people but it's not a date?) pulled the flap of the covering cloth quite a bit and peeked underneath. Terror was quick to show on her face before she quickly ran out of the house, crying. The dramatic music for that scene immediately let you know that there must be something wrong with/in the drawing. One must think that he must have drawn something really horrifying, say maybe, like the body of the girl he had pushed down from an abandoned building on splattered blood on the ground. Later it was revealed that the antagonist had drawn the buildings of his neighbourhood and on the top of one building was a black figure pushing a smaller black figure. Why this must be him and the girl that he pushed from the abandoned building! Except, both figures were very small and they were painted quite at the centre of the really large canvas. His classmate merely peeked from the bottom left and would need time to scan the canvas before coming to the centre. How could terror be so instant to show on her face? Also her shock came form two small black figures drawn on the top of a building. Two black figures, which to be honest, to me, it doesn't even look like one figure was pushing another. I couldn't call out the figures if not for the zoom in the next second. When the drawing was revealed as a whole, my first thought was what was wrong with the picture? What horrifying things has she seen? All I saw were buildings. Super spot on, classmate.

Image: hancinema
This classmate of his days later got tricked again to go up to the roof of their school which he then locked her in a some sort of shed and left her there to die. Poor signal in the shed rendered her cell useless. Frantically, she screamed for help, banged at the door and searched for exits. She had only been locked in for a few hours, BUT she became severely dehydrated and finally passed out. Really? She only screamed and banged the doors. And totally drained out. Yup. Kinda unrealistic there.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Our Endless Numbered Days | Thoughts

Image: Goodreads
This pastel yellow and girl in dress and brown leaves cover? Do not let it fool you. The story, while having the tendency to be slightly boring in the beginning has a very dark and disturbing ending. Nothing like what the pastel cover and innocent-sounding title seem to project. I think this is one of the uncommon times where 'do not judge a book by its cover' literally applies.

Story in short: Peggy Hillcoat, 8, was taken to the forest by her father, James and was told that the other parts of the world had been destroyed. They lived in the forest for 9 years. When Peggy was 17, she met Reuben, laid with him and then attempted an escape feat after Reuben hit her father's head with an axe thus killing him. She lost Reuben while trying to cross a river and later ended up in a hospital. The police came in to investigate before she was sent home to her mother Ute and younger brother Oskar.

Spoiler 1: Peggy was whisked away by her father because he was mad at Ute, thinking that Oskar, the child Ute was pregnant with, belonged to Oliver Hannington. The child was indeed James' son but heck, Ute initially wasn't sure who fathered the child! The question that was not cleared: Did she cheat on James or was she raped?

Spoiler 2: Peggy, now pregnant, in the end was told that Reuben never existed and her fingerprints were found on the axe. That would meant she was raped by her father and she was the one who slashed James' head. Reuben was just a character conjured in her head as a defense mechanism to cope with the trauma she experienced.

I think it's pretty smart that readers were informed that Peggy got home safely from the get go. The story was told with chapters of flashbacks between chapters of the present. Each time I reach a chapter of the present, I became more curious of how she returned and that made me continue reading. The description of Peggy's life in the forest were rather long though and I admit I skipped some parts. I read a review on Goodreads and it mentioned that readers have to remember that Peggy spent 9 years in the forest so the story had to be stretched out. That made me slightly forgiving on the boring parts.

I kinda regret reading the ending at 2 am. It's too disturbing.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

The Very Thought of You | Thoughts

Image: Goodreads

If this book needs to be described in one word, it's infidelity. Too much cheating going on in a book that was praised as 'a love story at its heart'. I thought I was getting a story of World War 2 life from a little girl's perspective, instead I got

1. Elizabeth Ashton cheating on Thomas Ashton
2. Thomas Ashton cheating on Elizabeth Ashton
3. Roberta Sands cheating on Lewis Sands
4. Anna cheating on Jamie
5. Jamie cheating on Anna

End Bonus: Anna realised she was in love with Thomas Ashton all this while, a man nearly 30 years older than her.

Whatever love-knows-no-age-gap logic, 30 years is too much. This is absurd. Almost farcical.

An easy read. Nothing life-changing. The characters weren't malicious, 黑心 or anything like that. In fact, they all seem to be brimming with love actually, be it faded or not. The gist of this book is just that, infidelity. Infidelity is wrong and it's making this book a sore.

A love story at it's heart? Now that's cheating my feelings and my heart.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Stranger (Secret Forest) | Thoughts

Yet another drama to succumb to the structure of having intriguing expositions but the rest of the plot were way too lengthy. Sigh. I have such high hopes for this one.

Stranger features protagonist Hwang Shi Mok, a prosecutor who due to a history of lobotomy became apathetic but has increased cognitive function. He was able to notice small details during his investigation which gave him leads to move forward. It was nice to watch him work with Han Yeo Jin and a twist at the third quarter of the plot was commendable.

Image: asianwiki

My other thoughts in break down:

  • Young Eun Soo was kinda annoying to watch after a few times. Knowing what Seo Dong Jae might be capable of, wasn't it a rather stupid move to meet him alone, at night at that, at the street of Kim Ga Young's house where Kim Ga Young was abducted? He nearly choked her to death! For a second there, I thought she died. I really thought she DIED, then she spluttered into consciousness not long after, but the whole thing was, I don't know. It was just a herring being thrown around to let viewers think Young Eun Soo was fishy. Ironically, she died in a later episode. How? Murdered.
  • Seo Dong Jae's eyes, my oh my, couldn't his eyes open any bigger. *chuckles* His wide eyed expression had been consistent throughout the show. One can't help but wonder does he not have other expressions. Anyway, Seo Dong Jae was a character that I cannot be bothered with. He was a prosecutor but he seemed to be forever under the control of someone higher. Did he not have a backbone? *opens eyes like Seo Dong Jae and rolls them* Also, it was not like he had such bad luck that he kept falling under the hands of the 'mighty ones', rather he willingly seeks them for refuge!
  • Han Yeo Jin's hair might be unique, characteristic, you name it, but I cannot accept it. It added years to her look.
  • I was so sure that Lee Chang Jun was the culprit to many things, or at least something major, but he turned out to be a 'hero' by involving himself in the corrupt world so that he could collect evidence and expose them later. When he jumped to his death. I didn't know what to think of that though I admit I wasn't ready to acknowledge him as a hero of any sort.
  • In every Korean drama so far that I've watched, there would be at least one scene where one character would break down and cry so hard. (Sometimes you might get misty eyed too depending on how good the actor/actress is.) Because this scene was late to appear in Stranger, I initially thought I wouldn't have to endure the tear drama and that would be something nice to comment about. Wronggg. Guess it's not a Korean drama without a minute of let-it-all-out hard crying. The person who broke down was Young Eun Soo by the way.
  • Respect is known to be a very important aspect in the Korean culture but say if Stranger depicts the culture accurately, it is slightly painful to watch. I'm talking about the part where there was evidence of chief policeman Kim Woo Kyun committing a crime (not murder if you're wondering) but the police could not arrest him until Han Yeo Jin persisted and showed to the big team, like a really big team, of men at that, that he was guilty. It was as if they were paralysed out of their immense respect for Kim Woo Kyun who was someone of a higher rank. It was even absurd to them to suspect him in the first place. 
  • I like how five promotional posters were released for the show. They added personality to the drama and gave more hype.

Image: soompi
This story would probably be better with fewer episodes instead of 16. Once too often, the protagonists would be thinking about something they've heard or seen, and most of the time, really, these scenes doesn't add to the story. I usually just skipped them all away. Ironically, the final episode which is the longest (1.5 hours long) had me skipping scenes the most. The first few episodes had much potential. Too much talking in the plot climb and finale was where Secret Forest lost me.