Korea dropped a 2018 blockbuster for the world so I am back with a movie review. Some of you might know that I am a big supporter of the Korean media industry. But this is so dope that I watched this movie thrice for a deeper viewing.
Strongly recommend this movie to everyone because I have many good things to say about it.
And if you want to watch a more in-depth trailer, here is another video just for you!
“Along With The Gods: The Two Worlds” is a movie about the Afterlife, and a noble man’s journey passing through hell as a paragon – someone who has a high possibility of attaining peace and reincarnation.
As deceased Firefighter Ja-hong journeys through the different stages of hell and judgement with help from his three guardians, he was put on Afterlife trial for all the things that he had done and had to face up to some revelation on repercussions from the decisions he had made in his life. Along the way, Ja-hong finds himself reluctant to move on from this until he is able to say goodbye to his 15-year estranged mute mother and hot-tempered soldier brother.
*I am gonna use white fonts for any spoilers ahead. So look out for suspicious white space.*
The good stuff
This fantasy movie is adapted from Joo Ho-min’s web comic and is already hit in many parts of the world since it has launched. I believe it is a good move to ride on the success that “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God” aka The Goblin has the fantasy genre.
Even with a running time of a whopping 2 hours 19 minutes, the movie pace seems to be heart-racing fast as frames move on quickly.
I can’t help but think that the makers have plenty of good shots that they wanted to put everything in. Especially with the hefty cost of CGI which is basically in every frame in this movie, it is no wonder that they want to make every single frame counts.
Since I don’t want to reveal too much about the plot, I will touch more on the characterisations and the cast because I find that it is integral to how the story was told. In case, you didn’t know I am really into story-telling.
I found that the casting selections was on-point, especially with Cha Tae-hyun and Ha Jung-Woo. In a heartbeat, there really is no one better to play such a humanising character with a sad and tragic life like Cha.
But what sealed the deal for me was Ha Jung-woo playing the leader of the guardians. It was really evident that the seasoned actor that could play up the multi-dimensions and live up to “multi-lives” of his character – a little bit of mystery, a little bit of warmth, a little bit of comedy and definitely a lot of charms.
I would definitely say Cha is perfect for his role, but casting Ha is the perfect casting decision for the film and possibly the sequel.
I also love the stark contrast in the performance Kim Dong Wook who plays the brother of Cha (I found Kim extremely familiar and realised he acted in the drama “Coffee Prince”). The role of the brother situates in the sub-plot about a vengeful solder story, which somehow transforms into and replaces the main plot.
For me, Kim’s portrayal of this central character marks him as one of the most under-rated actors in Korea, as he was so flexible in making it both heavy and light-hearted whenever the plot thickens (trust me on this, go watch it and you know.),
Lastly, the easter eggs! Talking about production value, they got D.O from EXO from “Room No.7” – a 2017 comedy thriller. (Somehow D.O. is really good at playing such characters. I love his blind character from “My Annoying Brother” in 2016 ).
They also had to bring in the talented starlet Kim Soo-Ahn from previous Korean Blockbuster “The Battleship Island” as one of the cameos.
And in case you haven’t, check it out here my review for 2017 blockbuster “The Battleship Island” here
What I didn’t like
There were many questions left unanswered, which I believe is connection to my previous point on how the makers seems to be jam-packing everything into the show.
I shall not reveal too much but here goes my questions below. Watch the show first and share your thoughts 🙂
- Spoilers below!
- I didn’t really get why and how Ja-hong was sending letters on behalf of a deceased colleague to his daughter when he saw her at the funeral.
- Or how Ja-hong knew that his mother’s memory was deteriorating and specifically knew about her charring pots – especially when they said he left home and didn’t stop working even on rest days.
- Or why King Yeomra helped along the way when he was so clearly ready to banishing the paragon.
- Or why was the spirit was haunting the dim-witted private when the the officer was the one orchestrating the whole cover-up?
- And how does one miserable vengeful spirit create havoc in hell? (Could possibly a balance thing, maybe? And it only affects direct family members, I guess?)
- But The worst part of the movie was that it didn’t show the final meeting between the filial son and the mother! What a waste!
“Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds” is a good blend of fantasy, action, melodrama and humour. It is a good movie to watch with family and friends, telling a story and evoke values sensitive to humankind and touches on Korea’s traditional notion of brotherly love and filial piety.
The man behind the production and its whimsical delivery is none other than Director Kim Yong Hwa – who is highly known for his signature of being liberal when it comes VFX and CGI. Hence, the fighting scene has likeness of those The Matrix in particular.
Even though the duration is over 2 hours, the film is rather fast-paced but balanced such that I didn’t feel time was passing by. Definitely a must-watch!
And one word of advice, bring some tissues! :p
If you want to view more, here is a clip on the Premiere in South Korea.