The Sound of Magic (2022)

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Drama: The Sound of Magic (안나라수마나라)
Network: Netflix
Episodes: 6
Release Date: May 6, 2022

Plot: Ahyi is struggling with her life, trying to take care of herself and her younger sister while her father is hiding from his creditors. One day, she meets a mysterious magician and her whole life starts to change.

Main Cast:
Ji Chang Wook – Ri Eul
Choi Sung Eun – Yoon Ahyi
Hwang In Yeop – Na Il Deung

Review:
Do you believe in magic? Annara Sumanara

The first 3 episodes were strange yet fascinating. Ahyi’s life was depressing to watch then they’ll start bursting into a song and I feel like I’m in a Disney movie with the fireworks and flying horses.

I probably wouldn’t have watched this if not for Ji Chang Wook. He was so mysterious, sometimes scary but often times like a child. I don’t know if he was trying to be Willy Wonka or PT Barnum in the Greatest Showman movie.

I loved Sung Eun, sometimes I feel romantic vibe between them especially when they’re singing a duet but then I remember Ahyi is in high school and Rieul is 30yo and that just sounds creepy. I guess they found a connection because they’re both outcasts and trying to get out of their situation but can’t.

I loved all the musical performances but sadly the songs were not memorable enough to give me LSS.

The second half was way better, when the childlike fantasy plot became serious murder storyline. I loved the last episode, I even teared up hearing Rieul’s past and when he gave Ahyi his hat. That final stage scene.. wow.. Is it really magic?

“You should do the things you want just as much as the things you don’t want to do.”

– Rieul to Ahyi

“I didn’t know before that flowers don’t bloom on smooth asphalt but on bumpy dirt.”

– Il Deung

I think the real magic is Rieul being able to comfort and guide Ahyi and Ildeung to be better people.

Six episodes felt just about right for this drama. However it felt like it was trying to be too much at the same time. Musical. Fantasy. Sexual assault. Murder. Daddy issues. The first half was for kids, the second half was for adults.

Rating: 8/10

Lovers of the Red Sky (2021)

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Drama: Lovers of the Red Sky (홍천기)
Network: SBS
Episodes: 16
Release Date: August 30 – October 26, 2021
Runtime: Mon & Tue 22:00
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Plot
This fantasy sageuk is about King Seongjo looking for a divine painter to seal the Devil in the king’s portrait while a blind scholar plots revenge on the king and everyone who ruined his family 20 years ago.

Main Cast
Kim Yoo Jung – Hong Cheon Gi
Ahn Hyo Seop – Ha Ram
Gong Myung – Prince Yang Myeong
Kwak Si Yang – Prince Joo Hyang

Review
I didn’t realize when I started watching that this is a fantasy drama but episodes 1 and 2 were interesting and I loved the actors who played the younger versions of Haram and Cheon Gi, the background story was enough to get invested in the couple.

I loved the paintings, it was so amazing that simple brushes can make these fantastic masterpieces. I did take big brush and small brush calligraphy when I was in school so I know how to feels like to write using these brushes. It is hard and my penmanship was bad so I can’t imagine having to actually draw these kinds of paintings. The best episodes were the painting competition, although it was still unbelievable that a young inexperienced painter can win against everyone else when her butterfly painting was not even that great to be honest.

I loved the Baekyu Painters Society and how they always had Cheongi’s back, esp her two painter friends. And the friendship between Haram, Prince Yang Myeong and Cheon Gi.

The story got messy and a lot of things were unexplained. More than halfway and I still didn’t get the reason for the ring, or why they need to seal the devil inside the painting (because the drama said so), how Cheon Gi is the divine painter (when it turns out without Hwacha’s power her painting was useless so what was the point?), why Joohyang was still alive when his body is supposedly rotting away, the king knew all about Haram’s plan and never told him the truth (rendering his whole life’s revenge plot unnecessary). And the whole nonsense about Haram’s grandfather. And what about Maehyang and her mysterious hatred against the royal family? It was never revealed. The whole showdown with the devil, Samsin and Ho Ryeong was also anti-climactic. Even the death of Haram’s bodyguard wasn’t that memorable.

The ending kind of redeemed the entire story since they get their happy ever after, but still don’t understand why they decided to live in an area so faraway from the city. The last scene between the two princes, at first I though the story is incomplete, now thinking back I guess they are trying to say that life goes on.

Haram was also blind for 20 years but he is extraordinarily aware of his surroundings that he doesn’t look blind at all! He looks straight at the person he is talking to, he fights against the soldiers when blind, he can interpret the stars without seeing them. It was too weird.

Rating: 7/10 (i should give a lower rating but the four leads were so pretty)

Along With The Gods: Last 49 Days (2018)

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Movie: Along With the Gods: The Last 49 Days (신과함께-인과 연)
Release Date: August 1, 2018
Runtime: 141 min.
Genre: Fantasy / Drama / Afterlife
Distributor: Lotte Entertainment
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Plot
The sequel to the smash hit continues from the first movie but this time revealing the stories of the 3 guardians.

Main Cast
Ha Jung Woo – Gangrim
Ju Ji Hoon – Hae Won Maek
Kim Hyang Gi – Duk Choon
Lee Jung Jae – King Yeomra
Ma Dong Seok – House God
Kim Dong Wook – Kim Su Hong
Do Kyung Soo – Won Il Byung
Lee Joon Hyuk – First Lt Park

Review
The theme of the sequel is about forgiveness. This time it’s Kim Su Hong’s turn to go through the trial. But turns out this movie is more about the story of the 3 guardians — who are they, where did they come from and how they became guardians — and not really about Suhong’s. Just like Suhong, I felt like the trial was just a convenient excuse to go through the final judgment and reveal all the twists (which were a lot!)

In the first movie, Gangrim was in Seoul and the other 2 were with Jahong. Now it’s the other way around. The 2 were in Seoul trying to find out what happened to them while Gangrim was obsessed with winning Suhong’s case. In Seoul, the storyteller was the Housegod, while Suhong was the person prodding Gangrim to tell his story. The action/effects in the underworld wasn’t as extensive as the first movie, the 2 biggest scenes were when they were at sea and the weird scene with the dinosaurs (someone’s a fan of Jurassic Park!). In Seoul, the story about the Housegod and the old man and the kid weren’t as compelling as the first movie’s story about Suhong’s death.

Suhong’s character was a little annoying so I didn’t really care much about his case. Or maybe it was because he didn’t really have a story to tell. He was just coming along with Gangrim and waiting for his trial. He didn’t really had to do anything. But I loved how perceptive he was in catching Gangrim’s real motive. Although I already predicted halfway through the story that the 3 guardians will somehow have an illfated relationship with each other, it was still shocking to find out how what it was and why they ended up being guardians. It’s almost like Goblin kdrama’s backstory without the romance. Ha Jung Woo again was amazing, Ju Ji Hoon was funny and Kim Hyang Gi was precious. Lee Jung Jae as the king was added an interesting concept.

The final reveal about Gangrim’s father was the last twist I didnt expect!! If only Gangrim knew all along!! I loved what he said:

Did the thousand years of regret feel like hell?

No. The fact that I cannot beg for his forgiveness and that I cannot be forgiven. That has been my worst hell.

This second one had more stories than the first so the scenes flipflopped from the underworld, to Seoul, to Gangrim’s story and to Hae Won Maek and Duk Choon’s story. A little long but still enjoyed every scene. Not sure if they will ever make part 3, because they wrapped up everyone’s story, but I wouldnt mind seeing the 3 guardians again!

Rating: 8.5/10

Along With The Gods: Two Worlds (2017)

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Movie: Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds (신과함께-죄와 벌)
Release Date: December 20, 2017
Runtime: 139 min.
Distributor: Lotte Entertainment
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Plot
This is about a fireman who died saving someone from the fire and was guided by the 3 guardians. If he is able to pass the 7 levels in 49 days then he will be reincarnated.

Main Cast
Cha Tae Hyun – Kim Ja Hong
Ha Jung Woo – Gang Rim
Ju Ji Hoon – Hae Won Maek
Kim Hyang Gi – Duk Choon
Kim Dong Wook – Kim Su Hong
Do Kyung Soo – Won Il Byung
Lee Joon Hyuk – First Lt Park
Ye Soo Jung – Kim Ja Hong’s mom

Review:
I already watched this in 2017 and rewatched it today. Mainly because I’m been binge watchinging Ha Jung Woo’s movies and also watching Cha Tae Hyun and Kim Dong Wook’s current dramas (Police University and You Are My Spring).

I loved the action and the effects. I was bawling the first time I watched this but this time around I only cried at the last level. Some of the situations maybe dramatic and emotional but it made me think and reflect about my own life. If I died and had to go through the same levels will I pass or fail?

Sometimes I feel like the levels were unfair. It’s hard to judge a person because of 1 incident in the past or when you were younger, it’s not as if Ja hong was a repeat offender. Let’s face it, every human has lied, stolen, felt greedy and jealous, had evil thoughts at some point in our lives. That doesn’t make us evil and go straight to hell, that’s what makes us human in the first place. If everyone was perfect then we will all be robots and the world will be paradise. But then what’s the point of living if it gets too boring?

i also loved the cameos of top movie stars acting as the gods in each level. This movie also had some light and funny moments, mostly from Ju Ji Hoon’s character, who reminded me of his Hyena character. I super love Ha Jung Woo, he just looks so cool the entire time with his long black coat and those eyes and voice 🥰

Now i’m off to watch the sequel. I’m looking forward to Kim Su Hong’s story (although not sure what other story there is if we already know what happened to him?)

Rating: 9/10