Sunday, November 6, 2016

Ryeo (aka Moon Lovers)

Episodes: 20
Scarlet Heart started off as a Chinese internet novel. After the story got turned into a Chinese drama, it was an instant hit among the viewers in China and other Asian countries. Korea also enjoyed watching the Chinese drama and after a few years producers decided to make the Korean version of Scarlet Heart. This drama is called Ryeo and it is also known as Moon Lovers. The story revolves around a girl who ends up traveling back in time into her previous incarnation's body after "dying" in the modern world. As she interacts with the princes of that time, she finds that the history she knows is as it is because of the things she said, influenced, and acted upon back in the day. Not only is she caught in the political battle and power struggle as the princes fight for the throne but she is also caught in numerous love triangles. This drama follows the basis of the characters, the plot line, and the history from the Chinese internet novel/drama but also adds in it's own twists and turns. It is similar yet very different from the Chinese drama all at the same time.  

             For those who have followed this blog since the very beginning, you would know that I am a huge fan of the Chinese drama Bubujingxin and that I recommend it to almost everyone I meet. When I found out that the Korean version was going to be a thing, I was excited yet worried that it would disappoint me. The thing with Korean dramas is that it is more widely watched by international fans compared to Chinese dramas so I know that for many people, Ryeo is their first encounter to the story of Bubujingxin and I know it is going to have similarities and differences to the Chinese version. I don't mind differences because that gives the Korean drama it's own charm. However, I was worried about it disappointing or not having good acting or not showing the true intensity in some of the scenes. For example, the Korean remake of Fated to Love You was a huge disappointment to me because I watched the Taiwanese version a long time ago and the emotions involved with the characters in each scene hit closer to home than the Korean version did (they made the guy too nice when the whole point of the drama was that he was a dick to her and that you're supposed to feel bad for her). Similarly for BBJX, I cried in so many scenes as the drama went on and I truly applauded the acting of these actors because they did such a great job. I hope that this is the same case for Ryeo and that they're able to get the audience to follow along with the story and feel everything these characters may be feeling.
           One point I want to note is that Ryeo is not based on Korean history as they are using the Chinese history as the storyline. In BBJX, they actually followed real Chinese history and made it so that the main character (who got transported  back in time) caused the way history was made. In Ryeo, they are using the same storyline with their own twists and they are also using new ways to express the characters such as by making the 4th prince a lot darker and more mysterious. I found it interesting when they changed the backgrounds of some people, altered their personalities a bit, or even adding in childhood trauma to the 4th prince. It was nice to watch. It felt like I was watching a drama that was similar to the plot line of BBJX because they made it very unique to itself. 
             I actually really enjoyed this drama because it followed the general plot of the original story and the characters acted out based on the original guidelines for what their personality was like as well. However, despite following the Chinese drama, this drama also made it it's own by adding in scenes and changing the way scenes play out. I truly enjoyed it. There were some scenes that were very unexpected because it didn't happen in the Chinese one and the ending is just as heart-wrenching in it's own way as the Chinese one was.
          The actors all did an amazing job. The main characters had amazing chemistry and IU did a great job as Hae Soo. Lee Jun Ki definitely had me head over heels throughout the entire drama and his backstory makes their relationship even more beautiful. Also, the idea of him having a scar was not seen in the Chinese one but using that, you can see how much Hae Soo means to him because she covered the scar for him and wasn't scared of it. The OSTs were also absolutely beautiful. They are happy yet sad at the same time--especially when you go back and listen to it after watching this drama.
         I would highly recommend this Korean drama but I would also highly suggest that you watch the Chinese version first so you can compare and contrast. You may come to like both dramas as much as I did. Ryeo is done in a very fantasy-like, cheerful way where the story adapts to the main character  and a lot happens within a few episodes without much buildup whereas for BBJX it was definitely more realistic and hit closer to home because you get so involved in the life and story. BBJX also takes its time to let the story slowly unravel. The characters in BBJX also followed mannerisms of the time whereas Ryeo made the characters seem more modern. I really enjoyed the Korean drama but I feel like I definitely enjoyed Ryeo more because I was able to compare and contrast with the original. All in all, I was not disappointed by Ryeo and I greatly enjoyed it. It was cheerful, fun, fast-paced, and almost fantasy-like. It definitely was very comfortable to watch and the way scenes were shot were very aesthetically pleasing.

(P.S. If you're feeling sad about the 10th prince, I highly recommend you watch the Chinese version because he gets a happy ending there since he stayed out of politics--because he didn't really understand it. Haha!)