Sunday, August 19, 2012

Heaven Sword Dragon Sabre

This period drama is based on a martial arts novel written by Louis Cha. Over the decades, it has been shown on television but each time acted by different casts. My favourite actor to portray Zhang Wuji, the hero, had always been Tony Liang Chao Wei who did so in 1986. Despite the many other actors to portray this character, no one had surpassed his portrayal, till Deng Chao in 2009.

The difference between these two portrayals is that the former portrayed the hero as an indecisive lover who smacked of innocence at the same time, while the latter portrayed the hero as a romantic lover. I guess the different eras also contributed to the ways the hero portrayed his love expressions. There was more boldness in his gestures when Deng Chao acted as the hero. He had more bodily contact with the actress who acted as his lover. With Tony Liang, the relationship was based more on tender smiles.

I stumbled upon the earlier version on a website and as I viewed the episodes, I realised that Tony Liang's portrayal did not appeal to me anymore. A new actor had taken over the throne of Zhang Wuji's portrayal in my mind.

Another form of comparison occurs pertaining to this drama too. The actresses portraying the four ladies in love with the hero also differ in terms of casts. I think the prettiest Xiao Zhao is the actress from the 2009 version, the prettiest Yin Li is the actress from the same version, the prettiest Zhao Min is the actress from the same version and the prettiest Zhou Zhiruo is the actress from the 1986 version. Therefore, it is apparent that I think the 2009 version is the best version of this drama.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The power of Prosecutor Princess

It is a Korean drama, with Park Shi Hoo and Kim So Yeon in the lead roles. Seo In Woo, a boy whose father was framed for murder and subsequently died in prison, resolves to seek revenge on the man who caused his family so much pain. He works on the man's daughter Ma Hye Ri, who has just become a prosecutor, by getting close to her and attempting to gain her trust. His hope is that she will prosecute her own father. What he does not expect is that he ends up falling in love with her. She too, realises that she loves him, when she actually starts off liking her senior in the law firm she works in. However, her father objects to their relationship once he discovers who Seo is. Eventually, his love for her causes him to give up his plan of revenge and instead, they work together to prove her father's accidental killing of the victim and his father's innocence. The happy ending comes about when her father allows them to be together and they do become a couple.

The journey of Ma towards her niche as a prosecutor is inspiring for me. She is a rich and vain girl who likes to have fun in life, but has to eventually learn to work hard in her job. She learns how to be independent when she moves out to stay on her own. If she, a spoilt and pampered brat, can do it, so can I, as I prepare to embark on my new career path!

The love story of Seo and Ma is one after my own heart. They start off as friends and slowly become a couple, albeit his initial intention to use her. Due to strict Korean censorship, the love scenes stop at mouth-to-mouth kissing as the maximum. The hugging and holding, as well as the tender looks and touches they give each other appeal more to me. It is a purer and more innocent type of love than the sleazy sex scenes that are associated with love in other dramas. I hope to have this type of love story in my life too, though not with the utilitarianism involved. I get touched by the pained looks and expressions of tears each one shows away from the other, knowing that they love each other but can't show it. These actually make me cry too. The love scenes are made more intense by the carefully chosen tracks accompanying them, a feature of Korean dramas.

I really like the chemistry the leads share; they are really good in their craft. They know how to make their characters come alive such that it resonates with the viewers; their characters become so real. The love they portray as part of the script is so genuine that it seems as if they are a couple in reality. Park Shi Hoo has a knack for bringing out the best in his female leads, so that the love they portray in the drama is very real. He has the ability to put himself in the shoes of his character and accurately express the emotions felt in the various situations.

In fact, I am obsessed with this show! I have rewatched the scenes I like umpteen times and have even bought the DVD. I have also looked for the OST and saved its fanmade videos on Youtube. I have looked for the biographies on the lead actor and actress too. Youtube recommends other videos based on my history of seen videos, and I have access to Park Shi Hoo in other Korean dramas. I have also saved videos that show how the scenes were filmed and that are on the leads. However, it goes deeper than all these.

I have fallen in love with Korean food and fashion. I like the mild version of Korean Ramen and even bought a packet to try. I also tried a healthy version of Korean food, with lots of vegetables, Chicken Teriyaki, soup and rice with Green Sesame sauce. The sauce was yummy, and I loved the vegetables and chicken. However, I am not used to the taste of Kimchi, which is sour and spicy. I like to eat the BBQ meat from Seoul Garden too. It is the marinade which appeals to me.

Korean fashion has appealed to me tremendously since my mid-20s. At that time, I did not know that what I like has a name to it. It has elements of lace, pastel colours, flowers, pearls and bows/ribbons, but is elegant at the same time, contrary to the Lolita fashion of Japan which is ultra-sweet. I love certain outfits and accessories worn by Ma. As a result, I have a stronger liking for Korean fashion and have bought tops, accessories and shoes with this influence. My Pinterest board on Korean fashion has images based on her style too. I am also contemplating two hairstyles with this influence.