[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 16 (final) 2016/03/08,
"Moorim School" ended its run with a flurry of bow-tied ends, a good amount of confusion, and plenty of good feels. A happy ending was bestowed upon all characters, deserving or not. The Chintamani found a predictable end. Friendship and faith in oneself was the message that had to be dictated because it most certainly hadn't been shown. While all the characters received a happy ending, the way that the happy ending was achieved was, to be quite frank, completely nonsensical,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 15 2016/03/07,
It's episode 15 for "Moorim School" with one more episode to go. The search for the Chintamani is an all out race to the finish. Most of the secrets hidden within the school and the hearts of its inhabitants have been made public. Chi-ang's father manipulated him into the enemy of the school and Si-woo discovers his true role in all of this. Chae Yoon, Si-woo and Seon-ah's father gets to jump in and play a bigger role as well,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 14 2016/03/01,
I'm still trying to sort through what just happened in "Moorim School"'s episode 14. The plot was relatively straightforward, but I have no idea what the show is trying to tell me about the characters. I thought a while of how to analyze this and this is what I've come up with: Chi-ang is supposed to be divided by his loyalty as a son to his morally-impaired father and by his love for his friends who have seen him (according to exposition) through thick and thin. We're shown a montage of him with Si-woo compiled mostly of their first days together,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 13 2016/02/29,
All of the clunky mechanizations of "Moorim School" have cobbled themselves together to reveal several truths and leave our characters reeling. The school is in utter chaos as per the bad guys' nefarious plans. The kids are struggling to come to terms with the revelations and they are not yet ready to reach out for help and comfort. While the individual brooding and thinking and crying is actually well-deserved, the sequence of events that lead up to these depressing activities is awkwardly formed,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 12 2016/02/23,
The truth is what drives episode 12 of "Moorim School". The students are driven by their individual motivations to prepare and compete in the school's competition, but the for the main four, the truth behind the actions of adults and behind their pasts are the real driving force. Chi-ang is the most exposed in this quest for truth, which is a relief after too many episodes of silent brooding and staring that was difficult to read and interpret,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 11 2016/02/22,
"Moorim School" episode 11 is all about looking within to find the answers. There is a big competition going on and everyone is vying to win, but winning isn't the answer. To attain the keys to the Chintamani is the outward goal, but the true teachers at the Moorim School want their students to find strength within to protect those dear to them. Si-woo is struggling to control a rare power that he possesses,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 9 2016/02/16,
"Moorim School" is back after a pause for the celebration of Lunar New Year. After the midway point it's starting to jump into why the kids are at the school and what roles they have to play. It's not just about a love triangle, but about the road they will pave for themselves despite the pressures of adults. Chi-ang's father has been sketched to be a leading bad guy and this episode outlines the potential for Chi-ang to follow in his footsteps,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 8 2016/02/07,
"Moorim School" is getting heavy into the mystery of who Si-woo and Seon-ah and why they are important to the bad guys. Moreover, it is purposefully vague on who those bad guys may be. Is it the kindly Dean Hwang who watches over his students? Is it the blatantly obvious father of Chi-ang? Maybe it's a combination thereof. In any case, the drama is much more stimulating than it was for the first six episodes. Perhaps it is because the drama was cut down by four episodes and the action needs to be pushed along. This is the pace the drama should've been moving at. The main intrigue is the building question of what the Chintamani is, why people want it, and what the main characters have to do with it and its retrieval,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 7 2016/02/01,
Episode 7 of "Moorim School" is the strongest episode by far. There was major character development and in the mystery that has only been hinted at before. A breath of fresh air has touched this drama and blown it away from the painful setup that characterized the first six episodes. While the teachers and Yeop-jeong could use much more development, Chi-ang, Ha-o, and the mysterious coma man, Chae Yoon, saw some honest-to-goodness screentime,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 6 2016/01/26,
The manga-like storyline continues as each step of the plotline is detailed by teacher-fueled narrative. Romance buds and builds, pasts bubble up from pained psyches, and the students and teachers face a very, very strange exam season. Let's begin by dissecting the midterm exams,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 5 2016/01/26,
"Moorim School" should be cut down to forty-five minute episodes so that the filler material isn't so oppressive. The way the show struggles, the recent disputes between the producers, JS Pictures, and the broadcasting station, KBS, come as no surprise. There is so much recap material scattered throughout the episode that it drags and the ratings reflect that. But between the elongated brooding moments and the flashbacks there are a few tasty morsels to gnaw on. The martial arts aspect of the school hasn't been played up, however this episode finally made use of it and it was extremely cool,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 4 2016/01/26,
This episode was all about the building of friendship. Chi-ang and Si-woo look past their massive prides and see the good in each other. The kids at school learn via guilt that their treatment of the boys was cruel and uncalled for. And under all of that "Moorim School" continues to plod along pedantically. The show spoon feeds emotions to its audience rather than create situations that can wrench them from viewers,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 3 2016/01/23,
It finally hit me in episode 3. "Moorim School" reminds me of a Taiwanese drama mashed together with a manga adaptation. It's not meant to be taken too seriously and with that thought in mind the show becomes more fun to watch. It becomes an episodic adventure of enemies turned allies and how those around them learn to accept them despite their blatant personality failings. Those two enemies, Chi-ang and Si-woo, are both egotistical young men whose intense personal circumstances have shaped their prickly exteriors and isolated them from socialization typical of their age,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Moorim School" Episode 2 2016/01/16,
"Moorim School" episode 2 plays out like a typical school drama with bullies, puppy love, competition, and burgeoning hopes and dreams and comes in with a shaky Nielsen rating of 4%. It is heavily laden with character stereotypes and a predictable plotline. But what it does have going for it is the inclusion of the international cast and the promise of intrigue. The elements of mystery surround Si-woo's past and mystical abilities, Chi-ang's family issues, and the story behind Moorim itself,...More
"Moorim School" Lee Hyun-woo and Hong Bin's still cuts 2015/12/13, Source,
The new KBS 2TV drama acts Lee Hyun-woo and Lee Hong-bin take on the roles of Yoon Si-woo and Wang Chi-ang, two very handsome guys on campus. Yoon Si-woo used to be very popular but became a failure overnight and joined the Moorim School. Wang Chi-ang was sent there because he is a trouble maker.
Unlike Si-woo who is sensitive and arrogant, Chi-ang is cute and bright. The two are from very different backgrounds so they start off on the wrong foot,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Prime Minister and I" Episode 17 Final 2014/02/04,
I've been thinking ever since Na-yeong came back that it seems like the drama's writers aren't doing much with her. It's only this episode that I realized in some sense there's not much for Na-yeong to do. Her brother and his wife are glad to have her back. But an adult sibling doesn't rely on or need a sister as much as a man and his kids need their wife and mother. The question of abandonment is a strong one, and I could see here how the survivors ended up feeling ambivalent.
Mind, it took a bit of squinting to get there. "The Prime Minister and I" doesn't deal much with this issue directly,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Prime Minister and I" Episode 16 2014/02/03,
The drama takes a turn for the somber this time as characters mull over the latest dramatic developments and continue to prevent anyone else from doing anything. Yes, it would appear that "The Prime Minister and I" has received a single episode extension- and while nothing here is really wasted time, it still feels like the narrative is tap dancing around the the main question of what's going to happen with Na-yeong. The drama is very evasive regarding what anyone's long term plans are.
In the short term one thing is quite clear. Yool wants Da-jeong to stick around,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Prime Minister and I" Episode 15 2014/01/28,
The trouble with having a climax that's about people realizing their revenge schemes were a dumb idea is that...well...there's not really much of an exciting climax. All the potentially exciting dangerous plot stuff is what the bad guys are now trying to cancel, and for the most part they're succeeding. It's honestly kind of comical watching so many cast members working so frantically to prevent anything from happening.
The exception to this is Yool, who remains blissfully unaware of anything that's going on,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Prime Minister and I" Episode 14 2014/01/27,
The more vengeance related elements of the drama are starting to fizzle out. It really stinks for In-ho to have gone through all this trouble to try and set up this plan, only to find out now at the last minute that it was all for nothing. It's not that anything has actually happened to endanger the schemes or anything. There's just new information that's come up, pretty much out of nowhere, which calls the rationale of everything that's happened on the spy end of the plot into question.
Mind, there are still some unanswered questions. I can buy that Na-yeong (played by Jeong Ae-yeon) survived the accident, but why was everyone so sure she was dead when the body was never found? How has she been getting along this whole time?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Prime Minister and I" Episode 13 2014/01/21,
Strangely, even though the last episode dealt with the aftermath of an assassination attempt, it's this time that we actually see characters reacting with a genuine sense of alarm. Yool, rather than brushing off Da-jeong's confession with the brusque casualness so often seen with emotionally closed off men in fiction, actually gives a serious considered response to her statement. And he puts a lot of thought into it too. The entire scene in the theater is a very rough one emotionally,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Prime Minister and I" Episode 12 2014/01/20,
No, the cliffhanger from last time has not completely changed "The Prime Minister and I" into a medical drama where everyone spends their time at the hospital. There wasn't actually a lot of drama on that point even at the time, given that the previews clearly showed Yool up and walking about. The man's still a little sore from his injury, but for the most part he's able to go about his daily life unimpeded.
So, given all this, what was the point of the attack from a narrative perspective? As of yet it's not clear who attacked Yool or why. Nor do any of the characters seem to have any idea,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Prime Minister and I" Episode 11 2014/01/14,
The political and romantic edges of the plot brush up against each other here, as we've barely even started out and Yool makes a statement that appears to be completely at odds with his serenade. I really like the sense of mystery Lee Beom-soo is able to pull off here. His actions are consistently inexplicable to Da-jeong, to the point she can't really guess why his emotions keep turning around the way they do. Even we in the audience are a little befuddled until the flashback explanation comes up.
Excellent use of flashbacks here, by the way. Evidently Da-jeong has been doing lots of stuff in the Kwon household while we haven't been looking,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Prime Minister and I" Episode 10 2014/01/13,
Has it really been 100 days? I'm asking that literally- I don't really remember how this drama has been keeping track of time. At the beginning there was this kind of confusing thing where we started in the present, then flashed back two months earlier, then somewhere we must have gotten caught back up again but it's hard to tell where exactly. It's a problem with the tone of the storylines, which feel urgent and unresolved so it's hard to figure out a precise timeline.
Fortunately, this kind of stuff really isn't that relevant to appreciating "The Prime Minister and I" as a whole,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Prime Minister and I" Episode 9 2014/01/07,
I guess Yool must have dismissed most of his bodyguards while we weren't paying attention- it's the only reason I can come up with for how he's able to keep popping up out of nowhere in places where no one is expecting to see him. Not to mention the rather shoddy security at the banquet which opens this episode up. That could have had rather unfortunate political implications. Not to mention career problems- even tabloid reporters know better than to try and play gotcha with world leaders,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Prime Minister and I" Episode 8 2014/01/06,
I have to admit, the romance in this drama can get pretty adorable. The cliffhanger last time honestly strained believability a bit- Yool was there in time to save her, but nobody in his security crew was? Still, it's hard to get annoyed about a story development that forces Da-jeong to play the doting wife, and also ends up with such an adorably cute little drawing on the cast.
At its best "The Prime Minister and I" has lots of neat little magical qualities that are somewhat silly but also endearing. Note the scene where Man-se greets his older brother,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Prime Minister and I" Episode 7 2013/12/30,
The plot kind of moves forward this episode. By the end every character has clear motivations. But more importantly, they have clear expectations of each other. This is significant, because even if we don't know exactly why Joon-gi (played by Ryu Jin) seems to have it in for Yool, the fact that other characters believe he should be acting a certain way helps beg the question of why he's pushing so hard with the political machinations. It creates tension without wrecking the mystery.
In more general terms of characterization, we also get to see Yool in a much needed state of weakness,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Prime Minister and I" Episode 6 2013/12/24,
There's more spy antics this episode, though again they're lacking much punch and excitement. Again, if "The Prime Minister and I" wants to get into this kind of territory, the drama needs to stake out a clear villain, or else the tension doesn't make any sense. I think the production team is trying to play up the motivations as being a mystery to be finally solved, but this really just doesn't work when we need somebody to root for in the meantime.
Fortunately this aspect of the plot is dropped relatively quickly,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Prime Minister and I" Episode 5 2013/12/23,
Now that the wedding is over and done with, Da-jeong and Yool are in the thick of their manufactured relationship. Some fun scenes happen at home- most particularly with that ridiculous outfit Da-jeong keeps wearing. I'll admit it's pretty looking, but what's it even supposed to be? A hanbok? A dress? Some kind of weird fusion houserobe? I was quite relieved when another character straight up asked for her to explain the wardrobe.
Unfortunately, outside of this moment there's relatively little personality clash, making for a rather weak episode that fails to make good use of the strength of its cast,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Prime Minister and I" Episode 4 2013/12/17,
We start out this time with an exploration of public face versus private face. Note how Yool is extremely rude and pushy to Da-jeong whenever they're alone together, but whenever there's an audience, he's much better at keeping himself polite and decent. Yet even in these moments he's nowhere near plausible as her lover. The crux of the entire deception lies on the assumption that they're more intimate behind closed doors. Yep, this is definitely a situation that qualifies as comedic irony.
More interestingly, we see this influence reflected in Yool's children. It's the first clear clue we're given of what kind of values he's instilled in them. Well, the older two anyway,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Prime Minister and I" Episode 3 2013/12/16,
This drama seems to spend an awful lot of time just hanging out in Da-jeong's imagination. Her ridiculous assumptions about Yool's intentions toward her just keep getting weirder. It's a nice touch that even outside the context of tabloids, she still thinks about Yool in headline grabbing terms. Unsurprisingly, Yool considers her a massive inconvenience in the household. Da-jeong is a constant reminder that who he actually is as a person is completely divorced from how the public sees him.
Mind, this is probably a good thing. Yool is just a really mean guy. It's a nice touch that for all of Da-jeong's ridiculous fears, Yool actually ends up threatening her over something much more mundane and ridiculous,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Prime Minister and I" Episode 2 2013/12/10,
The drama's still working on justifying its rather absurd premise. For what it's worth, the escalations are convincing enough I might actually buy this storyline even if it wasn't framed by the knowledge that Yool and Da-jeong are eventually moving into a sham marriage. There's just this great sense of mounting disaster as reactions keep piling up to the latest step in the scheme that forces our leads to keep going on with the charade.
We've finally found something that Da-jeong is actually good at- making up ridiculous yet plausible stories on the spot. So far there isn't anything that could really be pinned down as an inconsistency,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Prime Minister and I" Episode 1 2013/12/09,
As far as tabloid reporters go, Da-jeong (played by Yoona) is pretty incompetent. The first we see of the woman attempting to do her job, we find that she is using what can best be described as the largest, loudest camera available for a task that requires stealth. Her sense of subtlety is practically non-existent. Da-jeong doesn't seem to appreciate that working for an outfit with a name as ridiculous as Scandal News means she can't even give out her business card without being mocked. Peers and interviewees both view her with thinly veiled disdain.
Most of the humor in this first episode comes from Yoona's ability to sell Da-jeong as an optimistic, cheerful, aggressive woman who is aiming her efforts very poorly at living a dream which she should really just give up,...More
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