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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bride of the century (2014)


Country:
South-Korea
Format: drama in 16 episodes
Genre: romance, supernatural
Cast: Lee Hong Ki,Yang Jin Sung, Sung Hyuk, Shin Eun Jung, Kim Ah Young, Nam Jeong Hee, Park Jin Joo, Choi Il Hwa, Kim Seo Ra, Jung Hae In, Jang Ah Young, Kang Tae Hwan, Kim Yoo Jung, Lim Byung Ki, Kwon Eun Ah,
Synopsis:The Taeyang corporation is the biggest conglomerate in South-Korea, but behind the success lies dark rumors about the owner family. It is said that the family is cursed and in every generation the first wife of the oldest son will die after marrying into the family. After 100 years of curse, there are people who try to outsmart death by exchanging bride to someone else, but one cannot change the destiny that is set for them.
Rating: 4/5
One of great dramas I have seen! What else can I want than a great male lead as Lee Hong Ki, surprising female lead and supernatural theme in romantic family drama.

Choi Kang Joo has always this judging look on his face. He is really complex character and it takes much time to understand his world. He has made his heart cold towards everybody and has decided to walk alone on his path. But then comes Doo Rim, of course he thinks she is Yi Kyung, who suddenly makes him somewhat amused. I think "amused" is the right word to explain his interest in her as she is definitely not the most normal girl. I had a feeling that many times even he started to think "What the heck do I see in that woman??!" We can all blame him for not realizing the change in his wife-to-be as Doo Rim is nothing like Yi Kyung, but we must remember that in reality Yi Kyung and Kang Jo did not meet much before his return to South-Korea and soon after it Yi Kyung was already Doo Rim. Of course, as the time goes by he should pay more close attention on the differences.  I really love to see Lee Hong Ki in non-traditional role for him, which I mean "Not-idol". I think he was great in this role as he pulls off the mature chaebol image with his (at first) stoic face and dark hair. I actually got really tired of him always playing artists. For your information, Lee Hong Ki performs one soundtrack for the drama, but there is no scene where he is actually signing.
As most of Korean dramas have, our leading lady is young woman with a spunk from the countryside. Doo Rim is living with her grandmother after she lost both of her parents. She is taught to be nice to everybody and step between when she sees injustice. She enjoys simple things and does not care about fancy things. Though she is not usually the one lying and running after money, she is pushed to the limit by life, when her grandmother needs operation of life and death, after all their savings have been just stolen. In addition, I think one reason she is willing to go with the plan, is that she kind of a feels sorry for the family as the marriage would be called off, because that exactly that kind is she. I do not like that later she loses a lot of her energy and becomes more of a cry baby, but this seems to happen to all her-like-characters. In a way she can be called overly-attached, because there is no way for her to give up when she knows that she might have a chance. Unfortunately, she must witness that the world is full of bad people, who do not care if someone suddenly disappears. I think the thing that would have really killed her was the fact that if she is going to die and replaced with Yi Kyung, Kang Jo would not even know it.
I was actually thinking twice about the drama when I heard rumors of Doo Rim and Yi Kyung maybe being long lost twins etc, because of second lead falling for Doo Rim. But Yang Jin Sung has amazing acting skills. From the first episode Doo Rim and Yi Kyung are 100% different people and it is almost impossible not to see it. Just look at the poster! They do not even look played by the same actress. Yi Kyung is a mama's girl who has been spoiled all her life and does whatever mother tells her. I actually believe that she had feelings for Kang Joo, but you know what they say "There is a thin line between love and hate". She might have been the happiest and sweetest woman if only Kang Jo would have liked her. Yet her anger ruined the chances from the start. She is the type of person whose revenge goes on until the world around her is in pieces or she is the one in pieces. With different upbringing she could have been a nice girl, but she became egocentric mean diva, who never smiles. It is like at one point of life she lost what she was aiming for in life.  
Ghost aka Guardian of the House only got me confused, but about it in the Spoiler review. She can be really scary, yet there is the beauty and mystery around her. You will see her in many different situations and it all will get big blurry confusion while you try to figure out her motives and goals. I actually really liked her, but some things about her existence and nonexistence made me think more than it should have, but I still do not have the right answers. If someone could explain me the things I wrote in spoiler-review, then 100 and 1 thanks to you. 
Yi Jyun as the second lead made me worried at first as I told you. Even though he is only a half brother to Yi Kyung, it did not feel right at first, but due to the fact that they really seem different people, it was actually bearable. Though a bit of it still bothers me as there is the fact that to Yi Jyun Yi Kyung plays an important role in his life and just to think that "wife" and sister are looking exactly the same.... my imagination blocked these thoughts. He is pushed between all this action going on and he has difficult time when he is made to choose sides. I think I felt most sorry for him, because you can see how he is always suffering and how the energy for life is flying out of him. He is actually really depressing most of the time and he cannot make woman's heart weave. Being too rational about love is not good because love is never rational. Sad truth for him is that "brother-zone" is definitely one zone from where it is impossible to escape. I really enjoyed Jang Yi Hyun's voice.
Once you figure out Yi Kyung mom's Ma Jae Ran's plan you will be shocked. I cannot believe how bad can some people be. She is ultimate evil who goes over dead bodies to achieve what she wants. She claims it to be for the happiness of her daughter while she stopped asking her daughters opinion  a long time ago, so basically she is doing everything for herself to satisfy her need of power and acknowledgement. On the other hand, I feel really sorry for her as she is on the road to living hell and all her life falls apart. Nobody could keep clear head after going through things like her (but she is still a evil b*tch).
Kim Myeong Hee, Kang Jo's mother, sadly is not any better than Ma Jae Ran. They both continue with evil-mamas syndrome. While everybody are afraid of the curse, then Myeong Hee is not stupid either. She has her own evil plan ready to use, but she really does not give a sh*t about Kang Jo's feelings. Well, if she cared then they had not forced him to marry in first place. I do like that we can see her persona suffering also and see that marrying to a man who loves someone else will never bring happiness to anyone. Though it should be a common knowledge, but I know women can be really naive when it comes to love and still hope.
Choi Il Do aka father of Kang Jo is one character that I really like as he is one character who gives plus points to the drama. He is really sweet and with all everything he really likes his daughter-in-law, because of her sweet nature. Of course, he has really painful experience behind him that still haunts him and his marriage. I think he is one of the kindest characters in the whole drama.-
Lee Roo Mi is one big bitch who gets really dirty, manipulating and loses all her dignity. She can be really blind when it comes to seeing through Myeong Hee's plans who has been always supporting her. Though, maybe that is the reason why she gets so desperate to win as she feels that her biggest supporter has stabbed her. In a way I feel that with all her actions she is just digging her own grave to even lose the position of best friend. I think she shows how low one woman can get. For one thing sure, sex does not make men love woman more - if he loves her truly, he rather waits as long as needed than accepts desperate woman. Her actions are much lower than crying and begging on your knees will place a woman.
Grandma is definitely my most favorite character. I am really fond of that old lady, because of her love for her granddaughter. Maybe also because I am really fond of old ladies in real life too, because they remind me my late great-grandmother (rest in peace). I like that grandma in "Bride of the century" is really willing to do everything for Doo Rim's happiness, but at the same time tries to protect her from the pain. Sadly I must say that Grandma actually ships more Yi Jyun as she sees him as better man for Doo Rim. Yi Jyun's love for Doo Rim is kind of a too obvious not to see it. She is one character who brings sweetness, caring and also comedy to the drama. After living all her life on countryside she is not afraid to kick asses in Seoul either. I think Doo Rim took a lot after her, because wow - some of their personality traits match. 
Drama has a really big cast and many characters so some mentions about them. There is this new-comer actor Jung Hae In who makes his debut as Kang Jo's younger brother who becomes idol in Seoul. He is kind and does not care much about their family's position. He rather enjoys life and does what makes him happy. There is also Oh Jin Joo, who is Doo Rim's former classmate and the first person to discover the change. As you might also think, with Park Jin Joo's cuteness she is unable to play bad person in dramas. She becomes Doo Rim's best friend, but at the same time her actions bring much trouble to everybody. She has her own cute storyline in the drama, which adds cuteness. Last but not least I should mention butler and housekeeper at Kang Jo's mansion. They are the coolest characters, especially housekeeper whose words and actions hardly ever match and she is never able to keep her mouth shut. But sometimes her words are like real pearls. For example, "There are three things you can never hide: loud sneeze, hole in a sock and one's love for another person". 
There were some low-points in the drama. Firstly that most annoyed me was that their time calculations are not the best. 100 years is not enough for 5 generations to get married and have children, normal would be 4 generations even when everybody marry before 20. Another thing is about the curse and time and the real end, but this in spoiler review. I also was annoyed by too many changes - for one moment story takes one road and then changes to another and then changes back to before and then takes the third road as if scriptwriter did not know exactly how this thing should go and end. Despite the things I did not enjoy, it is still one of my favorite dramas and it definitely jumped over my expectations for it.

SPOILER-review: In the end it comes out that everything was just a rumor made up by Kang Ju's grandfather who wanted to marry Na Doo Rim's grandmother, but at the same time the ghost had been there already 50 years. Of course that is something that might have been just matching by accident, but still, too much matching. In addition, if Na Doo Rim's grandmother was actually the bride 50 years ago, then how did not she see the ghost when she had been there already?? This is the biggest question to me, because I had a feeling that all brides since then saw her as she was trying to seek the true love. I did not enjoy the end at all. It felt rushed and just trying to tie the ends together. Also, I do not think it was right from Na Doo Rim to not tell Kang Ju about the child until he came and in which way should Kang Ju be sorry for not finding her sooner - she was the one who left with the child! I was just angry in the end and this totally took down the last star. 

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