Thursday, November 10, 2011

thoughts: The Relation of Face, Mind and Love (Korean movie)

Kang Ji Hwan as Kang Tae Pung
Lee Ji Ah as Wang So Jung


Ahh... my first movie review on the drama zone. I had figured that 4th Period Murder Mystery would be the first, but I hadn't quite gotten around to that, having wanted to watch the movie once more before reviewing it. Nonetheless, I guess this movie riled me up enough to write about it immediately off the bat.

As per usual, reviews will include quite the amount of spoilers. So read at your own caution. Although, for this movie, I'm kind of indifferent about giving away the plot...


The premise of this movie was a pretty good one for any romantic comedy formula, even IF it's a bit cliched and overused regularly without truly ever being able to redeem itself.

Man gets visually impaired and mistakens "ugly" for "beautiful." Man meets woman and does not see her facial flaws and addresses her breathtakingly as his "Goddess." Man and woman get together (and somehow fall in love within the timespan of one date and a one night stand). Man gets his vision back while woman is out of the country on business. Man goes to meet woman and does not recognize her because he now sees what she really looks like rather than the ideal Goddess he'd made her out to be. Man breaks woman's heart by explaining the situation about his visual impairment. Man learns the error of his ways for only seeing outer beauty as significance. Man reconciles with woman, claiming that he loves her for who she is and not because of her physical appearance. Man and woman will live happily ever after.

Had the movie gone through that formula, it would have been rather boring, but if executed correctly, I don't think I would have really cared. It's a cute cliche and the casting of Kang Ji Hwan with his dashiingly handsome Darcy-esque charm was a great bonus. I was looking forward to watching it when I found it. After finishing up drama series Hong Gil Dong and discovering Kang Ji Hwan's strange charm, I came to be interested in him.

The story was moving along smoothly and I wondered whether or not the producers would throw some sort of twist into to make it more exciting. But even if they didn't, it would have still been a cute watch. There's that obvious message about how "looks aren't all important" as we are given a spiel by Kang Tae Pung's friend, Eun Soo, even IF his logic was a little on the sketchy side. But the idea is there as the idea is usually everywhere in our world. These ideals area ALWAYS inspirational after all even if no one really bothers to follow them.

Unfortunately, a turn for the worse.

Halfway into the movie, I was already getting amped up for the impending break-up and the montages where man and woman mull over the failed "true love" because of such superficial issues. I felt bad for Wang So Jung; even if she DOES have some flaws, it's pretty rude to point out so blatantly that she's not the prettiest flower in the garden. Lee Ji Ah was adorable during the beginning with her strangely excitable antics and I hadn't even really found the costuming of her "ugly" Wang So Jung face ugly at all. She still looked rather pretty and I was even wondering whether or not the teeth and the blackheads were IT for the "ugly" factor. And I was pretty much like, "Really?"

This was a question I think I kept repeating over and over again throughout the movie.

Nonetheless, I was enjoying the dynamics. And Kang Tae Pung was pretty darn smitten with So Jung's adorableness during their short time together (although I wonder if all of that was because of his mistaken idea that she was the world's most beautiful woman). And so despite Kang Ji Hwan's uber sexy self, I felt myself thinking that he was handling Jerk-mode quite well after his vision was restored. After all, no one likes to be told that they're ugly so bluntly and Tae Pung does exactly that to So Jung. It was pretty heartbreaking.

But it's safe to say that So Jung lost ALL of her anger rights when she started raving about how her blind date is "Omigod, so hideously ugly," so much so that she can't even be bothered to really look at his picture. And how she didn't even want to think about picturing him naked. The foreshadowing of her preference for good-looking men at the beginning, I thought was just one of those off-hand comments you make. After all, who doesn't like a good looking man? Aren't we a superficial species who goes by first impression physical image before anything else?

I'm not saying that being good looking is everything. I certainly don't have the means to boast about physical beauty and I certainly don't put all of my value in physical appearance. However, as a fellow human being, I WILL apply compliments of physical beauty where it can be credited.

I would totally fall for a guy who looks like Kang Ji Hwan anyday.

But to be outright rude about someone else's physical appearance being flawed is a completely different topic altogether. For So Jung, (who could easily get her teeth fixed with braces and her blackheads cleared with proper skin care) having just been dumped because of her looks, you would think she'd have more of an open mind about other people's looks. I kind of lost the entire concept and face-faulted a couple times before I realized that the rest of the movie wasn't really going anywhere good.

To top it off, the movie itself doesn't do any justice to the so called "ugly" blind date guy; who by the way, wasn't as hideous as So Jung was making him out to be, even IF he's not the best prospect for Prince Charming. I think I would have been a little more forgiving had So Jung found the poor teacher witty and conversational. Instead, the movie chooses to approach it with a more ridiculously skewed eye than I am accepting of: they make the man a rather dull, dorky, and shallow dud.

The "Man learns the error of his own ways" montage was fine. I enjoyed Kang Ji Hwan's change in demeanor towards the supposedly ugly appearance of Wang So Jung (personality-wise, she doesn't turn out that great, really). And before her outburst about how men should be beautiful and handsome to be proper men, I was silently chanting "Don't take him back so easily just because he's handsome!" Because I was totally feeling for her. HOWEVER, even if she DID take him back easily, it would have been okay (because I'm shallow like that too and Kang Ji Hwan is good looking -- probably not the best time to be swooning over his soft smiles, I guess).

But then she goes on her field-day with the blind date and I lost all empathy for her. Who cares if she accepts the jerk back and gets hurt again? Lady, maybe this was just desserts for your own shallowness concerning physical appearance.

So she accepts him after he changes his thoughts, they get married and then the movie throws you for a loop with ANOTHER angsty BIG MISUNDERSTANDING spin so that our now mutually in love couple can be separated for a year. I thought stuff like this only happened in hastily tossed together kdrama endings for angst factors. Using another cliched "Am I just a replacement for your girlfriend" plot device, the bride runs away on the wedding date leaving the man feeling like an ass for... well, I guess he was being an ass? I'm not sure, because by this point in the movie, I they're both standing on equal ground in this playing field of who's a bigger jerk.

At least the man learned his lesson and stopped viewing things superficially such as focusing on good looks. If that last climacting turn was supposed to make the girl seem much more sympathetic, it kind of failed it's purpose.

So by this point, I was just too stark raving pissed about the movie to even really care about it anymore. But when the movie gives a new twist and makes our heroine come upon the same problem (visual impairment) as the guy, I thought that maybe she would be given a chance to redeem her own shallowness. Unfortunately, the ending finishes up quickly with a reunion and that very excited: "I still prefer cute and handsome men after all!" exclamation from So Jung.

This movie's final verdict: Beauty = everything; Ugly = just plain bad. It makes me feel like I should just go throw myself off a cliff right now.

On an end note, the voice of Kang Ji Hwan coming out of a balloon head three times bigger than normal was kind of amusing.

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