The Queen of Asian Drama is Back with more Irreverent Reviews and Snarky Commentary.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Beethoven Virus


베토벤 바이러스

Romanization -  Betoben Bayireoseu
Writer -  Hong Jin ah, Hong Ja ram
Network -  MBC
Episodes -  18
Released -  Sept - Nov, 2008
Genre -  Music, Romance, Melodrama
Cinderella Plot -  Nope


CAST





SYNOPSIS


Kang Gun woo is a world-renowned orchestra maestro who is also a perfectionist, making him difficult to work with and feared by all musicians. By chance, he comes across Du Ru mi, a violinist, and Kang Geon woo, a young cop who has the same name. Maestro soon discovers that even without formal training, young Kang is a music genius. They end up in a love triangle. ~DramaWiki (w/edits)

REVIEW


The reason it's taken me this long to review is two-fold.

1)  This is actually my 3rd viewing, but not when it released back in the autumn of 2008

2)  I simply adored Nodame Cantabile too much to want to make a comparison

Now, when I finally decided to give this one a chance, it blew me away about as easily and with about as much gusto as it had the Korean audience back in 2008.



courtesy AsiaWiki

I get the sneaking suspicion that Descendants of the Sun will look similar in a few months, huh?

In all honesty, there is no comparison between Nodame and Beethoven since the premise remains relatively the same while the story itself is completely different from the original Japanese version.

I still prefer the Japanese' Nodame Cantabile to Beethoven Virus, because for whatever reason, the music took center stage and that is a huge reason for my love and interest in this adaptation.

The love triangle is involved, and like most every Korean drama with an uppity theme, the point falls flat along with the 'romance' so the writers can concentrate on the guts of the struggling artists plot instead.

I don't get it; I don't see why a romance is needed if the writers aren't going to follow through, but it's water under the bridge at this point.

Beethoven Virus is about a young violinist working for the city on plans to create a Culture District that consists of performing arts, with the ultimate goal being to create a city symphony.

Of course, this being Korea, one of the women involved embezzles the 3m Won and the plans fall through -- later, the violinist will be responsible for that money and the reason for the symphony's downfall.

She meets a young cop on a subway train, and when they disembark, she chases him down and asks him to play his trumpet for her.

Not long afterwards, the two meet again when a rag-tag bunch of wonna-be musicians audition for the city symphony.

Meanwhile, Maestro Kang is invited to conduct this fledgling symphony, and he immediately leaves a bad impression with his sociopathic personality.

The violinist and trumpeter are forming a bit of a romance when the violinist starts to turn in Maestro's direction.

Jang Geun suk did a lot of weeping.

Jang Geun suk

A lot.

He's playing the part of a soft-hearted fella who happens to be musically gifted; able to play by ear and differentiate note/tone by ear as well.

Not long into this unlikely formation of the symphony, he discovers his real talent lies in conducting and wants desperately to become Maestro's student.

Maestro remains aloof, cold, and distances himself at every turn, but eventually, the folks in this town get to him and he ends up 'liking' people.

Then the Korean plot twist involving government officials crops up, ruining another chance for these musician hopefuls.

Then the violinist loses her hearing and the oboist lapses into dementia.

Surprisingly, there is a happy ending (which needed 18 instead of 16 to arrive at -- but I'll bet that had more to do with ratings than the writers inability to figure out how to end it).


WHY FOUR AND NOT FIVE


As with Nodame Cantabile, Beethoven Virus had as many annoying instances and unnecessary recaps, making them both undeserving of a solid five even if both proved well worth the time it takes to watch.

The violinist being struck with a tumor that will eventually leave her deaf was bad enough, but when she pulled the Korean attitude of NOT opting for surgery that would correct the problem -- sorry, it'll never make sense to me -- I lost complete interest in and positive vibes for her and her plight.

So what if she goes deaf and can't play her violin anymore.

Her beloved violin which she's played all her life and had aspirations of being in a symphony orchestra, yet when push comes to shove she decides to go against all those issues for the sake of . . . um . . . I don't know . . . being an ass?

Tough sh*t, chicky.

The floutist.

Annoying little sh*t start to finish, and I am overly pleased to note that this character has made a swift exit, stage left in recent years.

You know who I'm talking about, right?

That hard-ass b*tch with a mouth, bad attitude, and zero manners who bull-in-a-china-shop's her way through every scene.

She had no right nor deserved to be with this symphony even if they were shunned, not paid, and basically outcast start to finish.

Then she ruined their last opportunity to perform by being selfish.

Couldn't stand her character and hope to never see the likes of which ever again, thank you very much.

The lack of real music moments -- or the inability to listen to at least one piece clean through.

I can recall jumping out of my seat to conduct when watching Nodame Cantabile, but that wasn't possible with Beethoven Virus, because no matter what the circumstance, cue music -- the piece plays approx :30 sec-1 min -- cut music! Scene change.

Bummer.

Still, it wasn't enough to make me turn away, and it is highly likely I'll be watching this one again, and again, and when the mood strikes, yet again.








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