With a huge budget of 200 billion won (~17 million US dollars) expectations have been high for "Different Dreams". But a lot of the reaction to the drama has been muted. With a first weekend of ratings hovering in the range of 5-7%, the drama's long term viability is an open question.
One major issue in Korean discussions has been Yoo Ji-tae's portrayal of Korean freedom fighter Kim Won-bong. The main point of criticism is that Yoo Ji-tae is making Kim Won-bong seem too pretty and glamorous. Kim Won-bong was known for getting his hands dirty, yet the drama's core concept is romantic in execution.
The use of a real-life freedom fighter is also problematic. The real world Kim Won-bong eventually joined the North Korean government when the peninsula was partitioned. While this has no bearing on the plot of "Different Dreams", which takes place long before the partition took place, the potential political problems of such a portrayal are obvious.
Not that "Different Dreams" is the first time Kim Won-bong has appeared on film. Cho Seung-woo briefly played Kim Won-bong in a cameo appearance in "The Assassination"- but as a cameo appearance, it was not necessary for the action-oriented movie to go into detail about his motivation.
The degree to which this really matters to "Different Dreams" either critically or commercially is at this point ambiguous. At a press conference for "Different Dreams" that was held on May 2nd Yoo Ji-tae stated that he was portraying Kim Won-bong symbolically rather than literally. This kind of attitude is normal for historical adaptations.
Written by William Schwartz
"Different Dreams" is directed by Yoon Sang-ho, written by Jo Gyoo-won, and features Lee Yo-won, Yoo Ji-tae, Lim Ju-hwan, Nam Gyu-ri, Lee Hae-young-I, Lee Young-sook. Broadcasting information in Korea: 2019/05/04~Now airing, Sat 21:05 on MBC.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's News] "Different Dreams" Comes Under Scrutiny"
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