For all the brisk exposition of the first episode "Bride of the Water God 2017" doesn't seem to be in any hurry to get anywhere. We have to wait until the cliffhanger to even get a decent hint that Ha-baek and So-ah are going to start working together. Until that point it's just, Ha-baek wanders around the city like an arrogant idiot, and So-ah fails to solve her financial problems. What about Ha-baek's lost magic powers? Or the artifacts? When are we going to get to that?
There's also a lot of inconsistencies that I can't tell whether they're intentional or not. Like the constant references to Obama as if he were the current president of the United States. Or how we see chronically cash-strapped So-ah taking a taxi barely a scene after Soo-ri explains to Ha-baek that they can't take taxis anymore because they're almost out of money. Are these contradictions owing to the stupidity of the characters, or is it just sloppy writing?
If it's the former the novelty value of the joke has really started to wear thin. Likewise, I don't care how it happens, but So-ah needs to start believing that Ha-baek is the water god and that she is obligated to serve him, or at least that she needs to start pretending to take him seriously. Mind, even this wouldn't necessarily be of much help since Ha-baek and Soo-ri themselves don't seem to have much of a clue as to where they're supposed to be going next.
The lack of fantasy elements in the presentation is especially puzzling considering that, as presented here, Ha-baek very well could be a nutcase. The only evidence suggesting otherwise is his improbable skateboarding skills. And yes, while the entire idea of gods having inherent skateboarding powers is funny, as is the subsequent chase scene, I might have been more impressed if Nam Joo-hyuk had been doing his own stunts there. The skateboarding is wacky for the sake of being wacky.
Annoyances notwithstanding I'm still not counting "Bride of the Water God 2017" out. We know that the plot exists, which means that the production team is going to have to get around to it eventually. They can't weasel out of a coherent narrative like "Goblin" did by being intentionally vague about everything. Although, heaven help me, there were times here I actually had fond memories of "Goblin" if only because that drama had cooler special effects and used them more often.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via email@example.com. He also has a substack at williamschwartz.substack.com where he discusses the South Korean film industry in broader terms and takes suggestions for future movies to review.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bride of the Water God 2017" Episode 2"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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