Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Readers have Spoken: Korean Movies To See

Well, folks, I made the survey, and the topic you chose was "Korean Movies You Should Track Down And See" -- now, before I go into the full list, I'd like to dedicate this special post to what I think is the BEST Korean movie.

Now, I know this is a kind of controversial choice, but I'm just asking you, my readers, to have an open mind, and hear me out. The movie begins with a camera scrolling over what looks like ancient Korean parchments covered with drawings that somehow, magically move, as if they are coming alive. A mysterious, disembodied voice begins, in a way similar to the prologue of the Lord of the Rings movies, movies I like to compare to this one.

"Everyone believes the time of dragons has passed, but the time of dragons has only just begun. Every 500 years, a young woman is born, a woman who possesses a spirit power that can turn a serpent into the mightiest dragon of all. A good serpent will use this mighty power to protect the universe. An evil serpent will use the mighty power to destroy the world. Now is the time for the spirit to be awakened. Now is the time for destiny to unfold." Is your stomach tingling? Mine is.

Yes. A few years ago, the great Korean director Hyung Rae Shim had a vision: an inspiration, if you will, to create the most spectacular, most expensive Korean movie ever: he planned to spread the amazing Korean wave to America by making the greatest Dragon movie in history.

Look out, Godzilla!

The movie is called Dragon Wars, or sometimes D-Wars, because the best movies have two titles. There are flashbacks where you can learn ancient Korean culture and study Korean language, and there's also Los Angeles, because Americans like movies with Los Angeles and white people. They thoughtfully put English subtitles in the flashback scenes, even though English wasn't invented yet during those scenes, so that we can understand it. They even use the word befall, to show it's old times.

The movie has suprising things never seen before in a Korean movie, for example, martial arts, battle scenes where evil people attack folk villages and violins play when little kids shout for their mommas, ancient palaces, love suicides, and music. But this movie is way better, because it doesn't just have old costumes and Korean traditional people having battles, it also has modern stuff, too, like when the dragon army attacks Los Angeles and the Nazgull have a war with helicopters, and a white-haired guy with a voice like Satan in the movie, "Legend". If you've ever wanted to see a dragon eat an ancient Korean peasant and a flying monster pterodactyl down a helicopter in the same movie, this one is for you!

It also has some really clever writing, like the heartbreaking scene in ancient times when the Korean special magic mark-bearer lady's father dies, and she says with deep sandess, "My father. My father. My father," to show Korea's unique family bond which is deeper than Americans.

Also, I like Dragon Wars because they even found American actors to act in the movie, including a guy named Ethan -- which shows advanced cultural knowledge of America by the filmmaker, because Ethan is hard for Koreans to prounounce, and a blonde girl named Sarah - the kind of unique name only a Korean could have come up with, as well as a black guy who says funny black things like "You're always making shit up, I swear." and "Do you really believe in all this crap, man?"

The acting is sincere and passionate, like when Sarah's friend makes her feel better by saying, "OK Look, why don't you get some rest, and we'll go out for a drink later." then, as if they were sisters, she says, "Come on, girl, when was the last time we went out" to show Americans' sincere culture of friendship. Later, the plot gets more exciting, and all kinds of crazy things happen and there's a funny fat zoo security guard. Or the really funny scene where Sarah's scared roommate is packing up to leave town, and her boyfriend picks up some of her panties, and we totally get to see some panties in a movie *^^*. And then the snake eats her. LOL! Also, they keep doing this awesome trick where something really scary happens, and then one of the stars wakes up and !! ^^ lol! It was just a dream, and I'm like, "WOW! I totally didn't expect that!"

Plus, the final scene is so awesome and sad and action packed you'll finally understand the true meaning of han and jung.

You should really see this movie! I couldn't believe this movie wasn't the most successful movie ever: it's obvious that Hollywood just isn't ready for Korean film. Critics said awful things about it, "lazy and amateurish script," "some of the most ambitious crap I've ever seen," " the recognizable ensemble cast gives collectively the worst performance of any film in all of their careers put together" but I think they missed the point: see, sometimes it's hard for American movie critics to accept a movie on its own terms, and also in terms of the culture that produced it (hence the low popularity of subtitled movies in American theaters). Really, before such cynics judge Korean films, they should learn more about Korea's unique film culture and Korean film's special circumstances. Most Korean filmmakers have lived a hard life, you know, so we should be more understanding. Other reviewers were, in my opinion, a little closer to the mark.

For example, on, Bryan from Japan astutely observes,
"In all sincerity, the director did an excellent job with this film. My children loved it and so did I. God bless and take care.

In all sincerity, the director did an excellent job with this film. My children loved it and so did I. God bless and take care.

In all sincerity, the director did an excellent job with this film. My children loved it and so did I. God bless and take care.
The perceptive Glamm2000 from Korea, writes,
Will D-WAR defy any other description other than a "blockbuster" ? That question remains to be answered since the movie is set to be released this summer when we all get the chance to experience the absolute conquest of mankind. I figured most of the ATROX droids,clad in black armour were probably cheaper by the dozen to hire but as I found out later they were not hired extras but life size figures that were made from heavy metals and stored safely for future takes ! That was enough to convince me that there seemed to be a greater magnitude to this sci-fi flick than meets the eye.
And a commenter named "Shim Hyung Rae" wrote,
These movie is the almost movie in Korea and everybody can be impressive to the amazing digital movie and movie show! I think you can watch and action adventure is the happy fun time cutty Korean adventure. ^^ This movie will successful to Korea pride and world famous image of Korea to the Korean wave is our nation dream. Frankly speaking, D-War are the best good movie I look this year, or more years earlier until that. In fact ever. Teacher: did you like D-War? Yes or no?
So as soon as you get a chance, seriously, get out and track down a copy of D-War, and find out just how much you've been missing!


pothead said...

Kudos to Roboseyo!
I didn't know one could write a review about D-War that's funnier than the movie itself.

Paul Ajosshi said...

Ah! You have come to appreciate the true King of Korean Cinema. I'm looking forward to his next epic motion picture "The Last Godfather" in which he will resurrect Marlon Brando:

Here's hoping it keeps to the same high quality as his previous films. I for one will keep a candle burning in the window until his next masterpiece is released and we may all share in his incredible talent.

All Hail Shim Hyung-rae King of Korean Cinema!

만세! 만세! 만세!

Bekah said...

It's funny, I have this overwhelming feeling that you didn't mean anything you said about the movie.

Hehe, I remember my first time watching D-Wars, I didn't know it was Korean (I came in at the end) until I walked past the TV and heard a very familiar language and saw ancient Korean people. I freak out like "whoa!" and sit down to watch and then was like "uh, whoa?"

The Korean said...

Robo, this post leaves my 4/1 post in the dust. But I have a feeling you could have written an even better one if you had watched the immortal classic, bicheonmu

Brian said...

Nice to meet you. Let me introduce to you about Korea. Korea has had a very sad, tragic history. After Korea defeat the Japen Korea was divided in two countries by the Allied Forces. Do you know Civil War? Do you have Civil War in your country?

The director worked very hard to make this movie and has hard mind I think. As you know, Korea is a small country in the world and not very important. But it is the greatest country in the world on the other hand many years of claiming unique culture and heritage. This movie show that Korea can the best in the world, because usually the world never knows Korea. Except about Hyundai, Samsung, LG, baseball, shipbuilding, semiconductors, 2012 Expo, Olympics, World Cup, and kimchi, the world knows almost nothing about Korea. Oh, you're from Pennsylvania? Is that near California?

Even in the Hollywood where there are no Korean people this movie was the best. It has special effects better than other Hollywood movies, and the bonus is this movie is made by Korean. When you watch it you can feel the passion in the hearts of almost the Korean people. Thank you for listening my paper.

Unknown said...

Wait! That survey was just a lead up to an April Fool's joke? If I had known that, I would have chosen the Dokdo option.

Roboseyo said...

Of course not, Michael. The full Korean Movies write-up is still in the works, but made a good jumping-off point for my april fools' joke.

stay tuned.

Juli said...

HAHAHAHA- I loved it!

D-war was possibly more embarassing then mad cow!


Mike said...

Were you being sarcastic about the subtitles? I saw the damn thing in theaters and nearly walked out on that basis alone. Thankfully my K-gf was all-too happy to translate the dialogue ("they are talking crap again... still... yup, more garbage...")...