Updated: Jun 8, 2019
In a time before humans became humans a god came to earth to help pave the way for life as we know it. It is an origin story.
Hello dear reader! Okay, so, I know I already stated that I was going to write a review about Angel's last Mission: Love. I will write one, I promise! However, I must write about this new controversial series the Arthdal Chronicles. This series premiered its first couple of episodes last week. I first heard about it on a Netflix pop up recommendation. It looked incredibly interesting and something innovative. The premise of the Arthdal Chronicles is definitely something that I had yet to see in a K-Drama series. Just to also state, dear reader, this is just a reaction review not a full review. The reason for this being I have only seen the first two episodes. I won't be putting my sticky notes up yet.
So, let's get into this review. I have to mention that the first episode was a bit of a snoozer for me. I have less to complain about in the CGI (although I do have to admit that the CGI was not that great) than I do about the storyline in the first episode. I don't blame those who stated that they fell asleep halfway through. I also was itching to press the forward button. My finger hovered over the button for a while. Honestly, there was probably a shorter way to tell the premise of the show and in a more interesting way. I understand that the need for a backstory is to tell how and why the main characters ended up where they are when the story actually begins. Also, some of the characters timelines seem to be a tad off when they go into the "real time" of the story.
The character of Eun Seom's mother could have been altered a bit. She has moments of impeccable bravery and understanding. Yet, at the same time she almost seems insane, and weak. Her whole character seems to just unravel by the end of the first episode. I get it, they wanted to depict the hardships she faced since she ran away and give a reason for Eun Seom's character to be how he is, but I still feel like she was a bit cheated her growth as a character. There was potential for a lot of development there writernim.
The whole controversy over the similarities between Game of Thrones and the Arthdal Chronicles isn't all that big of a deal in my opinion. The reason being is that I am someone who adores a good fantasy series in books, film, and television. Also as a historian I have an understanding that there is nothing new under the sun. Lord of the Rings, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Hobbit, Game of Thrones, Eragon, and Star Wars. All of these were inspired by one another in some way shape or form. Yes, I do realize that the similarities between this series and Game of Thrones are startlingly close, but I admire the twists the writers created to make their stamp. For example, the tribe without any abilities is called the salam (which is pronounced almost like a saram with the r having a bit of a spanish roll) this word in Korean means people. The other tribe is called Ibutu (I don't know if there is a Korean word for that). Another tribe is called the Nue an Thal tribe which is just a Korean way of saying Neadrathal. In the series one of the main characters is from this tribe. He is strong and a good warrior but not good with his words, like a Neanderthal.
The second episode definitely made a BIG difference. This is where the meat of the story begins. Song Joon-Gi's character Eun Seom makes his debut in the second episode. In all honesty, they probably should have used this episode to start with. The cinematography was breathtaking. Not only are the sceneries beautiful, but the actor's are almost washed in dream-like aura. The actors are amazing. I am not going to let a bad start take that away form them. Both Song Joong-Gi and Kim Ji Won are doing great. Their chemistry is really cute and you can see the friendship between them but the wish for something more from both characters. I have great hopes for this couple. So, it's safe to say that I was READY to watch that third episode at the end of the second. So, it is safe to say that the series does kick off in the second episode. Although, I am getting similar vibes of Disney's Hercules. At least, that is where I am projecting that this story arch may be headed.
I know both the props and the makeup were another problem for Korean viewers. While the wardrobe does look eerily similar to the wardrobe in Game of Thrones it wasn't much of a throw off for me. However, if you take notice the wardrobes in Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings also look very similar! I mean, come on, look at he elvish wardrobe then go back and look at Dani's dresses and hair. It looks similar. They both have long wavy hair that is braided or adorned with a head piece. They both have long renaissance looking dresses, complete with the opened princess sleeves. In Eragon many of the props, CGI, and wardrobe also look similar to Lord Of the Rings. There is nothing new under the sun. We just remember Game of Thrones more because it just recently aired its final episode.
As for the makeup, it is a fantasy show. If you watch a fantasy show you should expect some weird makeup. The wardrobe and the makeup will definitely and undeniably look a bit funky. I honestly think they did well. It didn't look runny, it didn't distract from the story. I personally think it added character, especially in the second episode during the festival.
Anyway, this is my takeaway from the controversial series, the Arthdal Chronicles. I liked it and I am looking forward to seeing where the story is going. It was as bit of a slow start but I think it'll get better. If you have seen it let me know what you think. I am really eager to hear your opinion about this series. So, please leave me a comment below. Anyway, that is all for today goodbye and until next time, dear reader!