Monday, 8 February 2016

[REVIEW] Goong

Goong (2006, South Korea)

Also known as: Palace; Princess Hours
Genre: romance, Comedy, manhwa
Episodes: 24
Broadcast network: MBC 
Broadcast period: Jan 11th - March 30th 2006

Chae Gyeong is an ordinary art high school student. One day, she hears totally unexpected news that, based on her grandfathers will, she must marry the unemotional Crown Prince Shin who attends the same high school as her. She resists the proposal, but reluctantly marries him to help her debt-ridden family. As she struggles to adapt herself to the proper manners and royal duties of palace life and to her disagreeable husband, Shins sentimental cousin and second-in-line to the throne Yul steps into her life. She feels like she can rely on Yul to help her, but can't help worrying about her haughty, cold-hearted husband. To help bridge this gap, the senior members of the royal family take some special measures to get them to spend the night together. - MDL

Overall Score: 5.5/10
Character Development: 6/10
Plot Development: 5/10
Acting: 6.5/10
Soundtrack: 4/10 (forgettable)

Let me start off by saying that I don't find joy in picking on details and slaying dramas in half; especially since this is one of the big classics and a lot of people love this drama; but at the same time I feel like I must be honest. I'm a HUGE fan of the manhwa Goong, and it pains me to say this but the drama was in my opinion: A COMPLETE DISASTER.
I read the manhwa ages ago, but it was such a good story with so many great plottwists that I'm until this day unable to forget about a few of the chapters. When I found out there was a kdrama adaption of it, guess what I did? I immidiately decided to check it out. Big mistake.
I guess for people who haven't read the manhwa it wouldn't be SUCH  a big bother, I mean, obviously it's got a so-so good score, it's not one of the best dramas out there, but it's good enough to be considered one of the Kdrama classics, so maybe if this was a story on it's own and not an adaption of something else I would've been able to enjoy it more. However, i can't, because I know the original and I know where the drama hands down screwed up the plot to the core.

First of all: The entire drama felt like one big messy parody of the original story. It's supposed to have a lot of comedic moment, FUNNY moments, yet in the drama I could only cringe and feel second hand embarrassment whenever the characters tried to say or do something funny. It's not even the "girl-trips-and-falls-on-top-of-the-one-guy-she-wasn't-supposed-to-encounter-in-the-hallway" - cliché, this drama is obviously going to be filled with those typical over-dramatic comedy scenes that we are used to seeing in other "classics" such as Boys Over Flowers, so I won't really rant on that, because it's a genre-thing. HOWEVER, what I feel like I must rant about is the fact that they took out all the clever comedy the manhwa had, and turned it so silly and cringe-worthy that I think it even gives BOF a run for the money. Chae Gyeong isn't supposed to be the brightest girl in the world, but the drama ten-folded her stupidity and made her almost a walking gag. Lee Shin is supposed to be a cold guy, but not untouchable and a walking emotionless tree, yet what is he in the drama? Just that. Not even a tree, a brick wall. He's a stone-cold brick wall and he has the same facial expression in almost every scene. (I would say it's the actors fault for this, but then I remember what an phenomenal job Joo Ji Hoon did in Mask, and Yoon Eun Hye in Coffee Prince......fudge this is hard Dx Did they go from -100 talent to 1000 overnight? Therefore, I blame the scriptwriter and producer. Obviously they were the ones who told these great actors to play brick walls instead of humans).
Yul, oh boy. This guy was supposed to be complex. Hella complex, so complex he ended up being my favorite character in the manhwa. But what do we get in the drama? A cute puppy. He tried to be a shadow of his manhwa-self and failed miserably. Where did the clever two-faced Yul go? Heck if I know, because he certainly wasn't in the drama.
Min Hyo Rin, gosh, another character that was supposed to be amazing, but failed miserably.
First of all, not only did the drama pretty much wipe out her original personality and make her into a stereotypical second-lead spoiled bitch, they also messed up her relationship with Shin and Yul. In the manhwa, Shin proposes to Min Hyo Rin and she rejects him because of her ambition to become a famous ballett dancer, then when she finds out that Shin got married to Chae Gyeong, she goes back to Korea in full regret of rejecting him. She was an sly and ambitious person, who picked career over love and then regretted it. and then tried to win Shin back by doing some evil sly bitchy plotting. But that wasn't shown as clearly in the drama. In the drama, Shin proposed to her, we didn't really get a clear reply from her, she goes off to be a ballet dancer, and then turns bitchy-jealous because Chae Gyeong "stole" her man from her. Sure, the out-come became the same: Bitchy jealous second-lead starts to harass poor main girl (this is a cinderella-ish story in the core after all) but you don't feel an ounce of "personality" from Min Hyo Rin in the drama. In the manhwa, at least you could somewhat feel her struggle when she had to choose Shin or her career. In the end, they turned her into a flat jealous antagonist. -Sigh- Speaking of the antagonists, Yul's mom was almost a gag. I didn't get as much love and connection between mother and son in the drama, she just seemed to manipulative and fake, at least in the manhwa her feelings were kind of sincere. She truly cared for her son. In the drama I just felt her greedy all the time.

One good thing I can say about this drama is that it nailed Yul's and Chae Gyeong's relationship. But then again, if had to, otherwise we wouldn't care about any of the relationships, least not the poor hurt puppy-eyed prince and the clueless clumsy main lead. Of course we need a nice guy she can run to whenever cold brick-wall Shin ignores her. Yul was cute though, perhaps a bit too cute for the guy he was supposed to be in the core, but hey, for the kind of character the drama was going for, I have to say the picked the right actor. He definitely pulled off the squishy cheeks and puppy-eyes - look.
Another good thing, and probably the best thing in the entire drama were the kiss scenes. Despite Shin being a emotionless cold brick-wall, damn is he a good kisser. Not that I expected any less from two of the best kissers in kdramaland. Yoon Eun Hye and Joo Ji Hoon have chemistry when it's needed (as in, when they do kiss scenes), and I feel like the producer should've used that a bit more in the drama, instead of making them just the bickery-couple 90% of the time. Shin had potential to be so much more than just a cold-hearted jerk, but nope. Guess fangirl's like them cold guys who treat you like crap but kiss you as if they're passionately in love with you. Okay....(Another reason why I say that this drama's flaws are entirely on the production crew and not the actors themselves)
I wanted more scenes like this one. But the producer said no.

I'm sorry if this review is so negative and rant-ish, (I did post a warning sign above though), but this is what happens when one of my favorite manhwa gets turned into a silly parody. Not to mention that, depsite the manhwa having 27 volumes of content, the drama still managed to drag half-way through. How? Just how even? X_X They had to somehow squeeze in 27 volumes of plot into 24 episodes (it may seem like a lot, but honestly it's not), and they failed. I can understand if it was a 4 volume manhwa, but 27? How do you mess up that? I give up. This was just terrible. I want those 24 hours of my life back. NOW! Dx No, Yul's cute puppy-face can't make up for it. OST was so-so too. -deep sigh- Overall, do I recommend this drama? Um....only if you're drunk. This drama was a big waste of time in my opinion, so unless you have a lot of free-time and nothing else to watch, do check it out. Or just read the epic manhwa -wink wink-.

Have you seen Goong? If so, do you agree/disagree with this review?

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