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

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo #review

달의 연인-보보경심 려



Writer -  Tong Hua (novel), Jo Yoon young
Network -  SBS
Episodes -  20
Released -  Aug-Nov, 2016
Genre -  Historical period drama, Romance Film, Fantasy

Based on the Chinese novel Bu Bu Jing Xin by Tong Hua (originally published online in 2005 on Jinjiang Original Network). Chinese 2011 Hunan Broadcasting System (HBS) drama series Scarlet Heart.





PLOT


When a total eclipse of the sun takes place, Hae soo (IU) travels back to the Goryeo era (971). There, she falls in love with Wang So (Lee Joon gi) who makes other people tremble with fear. ~AsianWiki

CAST





REVIEW


Like it's reviews for all 20 episodes, my feelings were all over the place as well.

The reason I rated it higher than expected is because the actors (and probably director) worked extra hard to pull rabbits from hats in order to bump this thing up.

Unfortunately, it was the writing that killed it and not the acting.

Stellar casting, obvious on-set camaraderie, and a strange tale were its highlights.

Now, back to the writing.


Yeah, well...

WTF?

Not even this disclaimer worked to convince me this was in any way plausible, and the background music only made things worse.

Especially that one instance where they tossed in a rap ballad.

That's right, I said RAP ballad -- which was about as cringe-worthy a decision as subbers who like to ad-lib or use Brit speak.

Yeesh, what a mess.

Add to that the brainless decision to allow ANY of the princes to behave 21st century femme nearly had me throw in the towel.

The disclaimer aside, I think what hurt this most was the fact that the director and writer(s) chose to mess with history as opposed to going the Fantasy route and THEN sticking to more fact than fantasy.

If that makes any sense.

Time travel is fantasy, we get that.

History is history, and sure, it's interesting to put a spin on it or twist facts to coincide with theory or conjecture -- NOT rewriting it to make it feel more modern.

Things We're Not Supposed to Notice


Like, she's looking up at the stars one minute, and in the next, it begins to snow (clouds?) but the trees in the background are in lush, summer fullness.

The seasons were way off a majority of the time, which is a continuity thing and something I'm slowly giving up on the way I'm slow to give up on abhorrent subs.

IU did a good job, but the guy who really held this mess together should be awarded a Glue trophy.




The incest thing made my skin crawl even knowing it was a fact of life for royals the world over at one point in everyone's history.


The writer thought to tamp this one down by briefly and convolutedly explaining she wasn't actually anyone's daughter, but like everything else in this far-fetched bit of nonsense, it quickly fell by the wayside and she was back to claiming to be the king's only daughter and wanting desperately to become queen.

By marrying one of her 14 half-brothers.

Then there was this guy, 8th Prince Wang wook, her actual brother.


At the beginning, he's married to Hae soo's cousin, which is why Hae soo is at the palace after the strange time travel incident.

The woman dies (of course) while 8th P Wang wook is falling in love with Hae soo and vice versa.

After things fall apart for them, years pass, and overthrow conspiracies start to crop up amongst the brothers, we are forced to have to figure out and understand how this particular monarchy works.

Families being cast aside, names being wiped off the registry, etc.

If Madam Hae's family got the boot, wouldn't that mean Hae soo is in jeopardy? Yet, she remained in the palace throughout.

The only time she received punishment was after being falsely accused of murdering the king, which by ANY authority in any time period in any given nation would equate to DEATH.

And, sorry, but back in the day, if you got run through by a sword, your chances for survival ran anywhere from slim to none.



Dramatic, yes.

Believable, no.

A huge aspect of the plot surrounded our charming 4th Prince and his facial scar, which his own mother induced when he was a child.


WHY?

Why did the queen mother not like this child?

Why had she scarred him and not her other son?

Why had none of the other princes rallied 'round him?

Why was he sent to China as an abandoned heir?

How was it possible for a KING to lose power/control over a 2nd wife?

Very confusing and needed some time to flesh itself out so that us outsiders had a better handle on the situation.

I'm pretty sure the reason why brothers resort to assassination attempts is because royalty follow a strict SUCCESSION principle.

1st born automatically succeeds his father to the throne, and if something happens, 2nd born ascends, and if something happens to him, 3rd in line ascends and so on and so forth.

Picking and choosing based on astrological or otherwise signs wasn't the norm anywhere in the world's history.

A king decrees and his word is golden.

Once he's dead, sure, then all hell can break loose, but the succession rule still stands.

HOWEVER


And as mentioned earlier, because I stuck this one out for the duration, the show managed to pick itself up and work itself out to captivate me (and 2 billion others worldwide).

If you are like me and gave up, do yourself a favor and go back and try again, because believe me, you'll find it is worth a second chance.

It is so easy to maintain a stance on guys with long hair when watching a period drama!



Hot as hell :)

Second Lead Syndrome




Nope.

But, judging from the below image, I'd say IU is better off with Ha neul in reality and 4th Prince Wang so in the fantasy realm.

Lee Joon ki looks ten times more manly as the long haired brute he portrayed in Scarlet Heart than he does in reality, which is funny because of his age.

He's still a hot guy, though, 21st Century and in any Century.

Yet, 8th Prince somehow managed to maintain a Ken doll look while portraying a Prince, and in real life he's hella hot and nothing Ken doll!



Kang Ha neul and IU

The HEA


As with most Korean dramas that end the way this one did, I won't hold my breath in anticipation of a Part 2.

YES, I would love to see the modern-day version of these two having to duke it out with the other Princes -- but I don't see it happening, sadly.

Heck, I'm still waiting for Gumiho's sequel!





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