One thing first - I'm a first episode girl, I've been saying this all the time. I may not want to watch some drama (SKKS casus) but I try eventually and then decide. I fell in love with SKKS after watching first episode and I didn't fall in love with Sword And Flower. At all.
This first episode of the drama was ridiculous on borderline stupidity. I admit, I watched a lot of stupid shows with lots of cheesy and sugary moments but I have NEVER eyerolled as much as I did here.
If anyone learns history out of dramas (oh we had this talk someplace else) then one will learn a shit out of this one, I guess. First episode had so many inaccuracies, mistakes and traps (not with Henry and Taemin, sadly) that I honestly have no idea how I managed to finish it. And I'm seriously considering not to continue. Only some of the cast are tempting and the whole idea of the Kingdom Fall behind it.
The drama was described as "A historical action drama set in the Goguryeo period. The daughter of King Young Ryu of Goguryeo, Moo Young falls in love with Yun Choong, son of Yun Gae So Moon who kills her father. Moo Young is torn apart between love and revenge" (KBS World)
Up to this moment, except for a heavy Princess' Man déjà vu, everything looks normal, I like romances and it's even better when set in historical period. But the drama made somewhat a flip and slipped. First scenes show our Princess on the ground among the burning and crumbling ruins of Pyeongyang with narration that Goguryeo ceased to exist. My first thought was: damn, so we'll have a wuvy-duvy when a great kingdom perishes! But then all went down the drain. And Princess' Man is a damn masterpiece comparing to that, from filming, script to music department.
King Yeongnyu (618-642) was indeed killed by Yun Gaesomun in 642 and the omnipotent general enthroned Jang (last king Bojang, ruled 642-668) who was anything but a puppet in his hands. The Princess sitting among the ruins in 668 and Princess in before 642 looked the same, no 20 years difference. Whatever, I know it could be just a spiritual journey to the past and a tragic projection of a present day happy girl to the days of Goguryeo fall. However if they want to span the drama through 20 years - be my guest, I demand a time jump though. The campaign that mobilized 1.300k of Tang forces was real though and it was the biggest Chinese campaign up to 20th century, in 612 and the great Tang army was completely destroyed by Goguryeo.
Again, I'm not a picky person (much) but some things bother me. They wanted rain, fine, but if they decided to pour hectolitres on actors, they might consider NOT filming the clear blue sky with one feeble cloud on it. After the chase on roofs, Jang's hair wouldn't be Jean-Louis David either. And here's my problem - Chung wouldn't be able to shoot such massive arrow without a finger ring for archers. His thumb would bleed. Lots of other nonsense as well (how, just tell me how Jang wasn't able to recognize Chung??).
Fine, we had historical inaccuracies, but the way of filming was also shabby. Lots of slo-mo, I guess creators watched one too many times 300 and thought slowing down and repeating every other scene is cool. No it's not, it's annoying. Slo-mo has its uses and should be applied when needed.
A dramatic "save the damsel from being hit on a road" leitmotif was also used, but since Goguryeo didn't have Hyundais and insane drivers, some carriage and insane driver was used. However... and this is where this episode got me - pulling and hugging a damsel from being hit is SO mainstream. Our silent hero not only pulled the damsel but made her flip and stand in mid-air upside down. Thanks to ADHD cameras, we had full, 360 degrees view around the frozen pair that stared with affection into each other (upside down) eyes. No words can describe it, you have to watch it.
The cast is great (main lady is somewhat lukewarm, but it's just the first damn episode!), but all those background actors are stellar. Good to see On Juwan here because he was off the radar since 12 Men in a Year. King Bojang is one of the reasons I may continue with this drama if it manages to elevate from "crap" status to "watchable crap" one. Kim Teddybear Ajeosshi Sangho is also here (and so is half of Korea's veteran actors), so the cast is tempting.Plus, having Lee Minho on set and using him just as a prop is a good way to piss this nuna off.
And let's just not talk about the music...
Verdict: I will watch second episode and let's see then if we witness new Sergio Leone.
Pictures: from sites as shown.