Monday, March 30, 2015

Kat's K-Dramas (Movie Edition): Pirates

I'm on a little bit of a Korean Drama kick.
So forgive me as I turn Readiculous Blog into KoRea-diculous blog (haha, see what I did there?)

Anyway, I just watched the Korean film, Pirates, and it was super entertaining.

해적: 바다로 간 산적

Directed by: Lee Seok Hoon
On the eve of the founding of the Joseon Dynasty, a whale swallows the Emperor's Seal of State being brought to Joseon by envoys from China. With a big reward on whoever brings back the royal seal, mountain bandits led by Jang Sa-jung go out to sea to hunt down the whale. But he soon clashes with Yeo-wol, a female captain of pirates, and unexpected adventure unfolds
Random Thoughts: It's the birth of the new Joseon nation and it comes with some hardships, the main one is that the new royal seal is eaten by a whale (haha, love it). The best part is that the whale is given kind of a personality, and it doesn't hurt that she's trying to protect her little baby whale calf. So really the lesson is that we should all be rooting for the whale.

The random humor in this movie is great. I laughed out loud so many times.

Son Ye Jin did a great job as Captain Yeo Wol, the heroine and captain of the pirates. She is tough and fair, but at some times she's innately feminine (in a very Korean way). Like when she's handcuffed to Jang Sa Jung and he does very gross boy things. It's just awesome how embarrassed she is but how tough she is at the same time.

I love how dumb the bandits are. They are so clueless when it comes to the sea (e.g they think a shark is a whale and they don't believe that a whale breathes air through a nose on its back). Also, Jang Sa Jung always gets little to no respect when he tries to introduce himself as the world famous Crazy Tiger. It's so funny because he's actually a really great fighter, so he really should get more respect then he does, but he's also just a little bit of a bumbling fool when it comes to being a bandit (and a pirate). Kim Nam Gil is a great actor (he became a huge star after stealing the show in Queen Seondak), he has great comedic timing but he's also believable as a fierce warrior.

The relationship between the bandits and the pirates is also hilarious. The idea that two groups of thieves would collide is like that episode of the Flinstones where they met the Jetsons (or was it the other way around?).

Each of the characters have a past, and it comes back to haunt them over the course of the film. Rivalries are born that make the main mission (catching a whale) the least of their problems. Seriously, even the whale has flashbacks, it's awesome.

Some storylines weren't well developed. The romance is very quick (maybe too quick) to develop. And the rivalries are pretty surface. Like in the sense that I understand that there is a reason for these characters to hate each other, but I just don't feel it.

This is a movie with a lot of flash, pretty sweet action, not so much substance. But that's alright, it's a fun ride, and I still found it highly entertaining.

Live blogging my thoughts of the first 20 minutes of the movie (No spoilers, don't worry): 

Five minutes in there's an epic slow-motion rain sword fight scene! I'm sold.

Jump forward in time.

Eight minutes in there is an awesome pirate ship fight scene and an awesome heroine to boot. Super extra sold.

Woah, these pirates have no mercy.

Wait, they kind of save a bunch of slave girls, so maybe they're pirates with a heart of gold?

Also, Yeo Wol is the first mate, nice. Powerful ladies!

Sweet! A giant whale! I love whales (also, this whale was a part of the movie synopsis, so it's not a surprise). Also, this whale is so lifelike. Seriously, it's not like the lame CGI sea monsters in other movies (I'm looking at you Pirates of the Caribbean Kraken).

Another jump forward in time.

Yay! Sulli appears so quickly in the movie!

Sooo...the pirates don't really like their Captain. But they super love the First Mate.

Haha, the pirates have hilarious names (Poop Sack, Big Eyes, Sea Horse).

Dude, this captain has a giant sword, like irrationally large.

Another slow motion sword fight, this movie is seriously killing it and we're not even 20 minutes in.

I've decided I definitely want the whale to survive this movie.


The end was just too convenient. Everyone evil is killed in one fell swoop explosion. The evil pirate, Soma, even kind of repents and saves Yeo Wol's life. And apparently it didn't even matter if they got back the royal seal (which they didn't).

In the end, it seems like the movie is trying to fit too much into a two hour movie. Pirates, and bandits, the founding of a new country, a man's loyalty being tested. like when Jang Sa Jung faces the new Joseon king at the end and demands that he lead the country well. That makes sense, and it gives closure to an issue brought up in the first scene (that the king is kind of weak). It's nice that the king gains a backbone due to Jang Sa Jung's words, but it just seems like a random side-story, but really it's a very big issue and should have been the main storyline.

Oh also, apparently, there's a bigger issue about how the soldiers of the king were taking women and children to gift to the Ming Dynasty as an offering. And this was really making the country suffer. Apparently this is what made Jang Sa Jung go and chastise the king since he apparently cared more about a royal seal than his people. The fact that this story line's message was not clear until the end is concerning to me and just drives home the fact that there's too much trying to happen in this movie.

Also, the romance was only slightly given closure. In a credit scene we see Jang Sa Jung and Yeo Wol looking onto the sea together. And we get to see the cute baby whale alive and well (so sad that the mommy whale died!). 

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