Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Kingdom of the Winds Wraps Chinese Shoot

Goguryeo Sageuk 바람의 나라 (Kingdom of the Wind) Wraps Chinese Shoot

For better or worse, 주몽 (Jumong) changed the face of the domestic TV industry, especially for what concerns sageuk. It had a legendary start, one of the best of the last 10 years, and an equally legendary last four months, one of the very worst of the last 10 years, milking the cow until it got mad. It changed the landscape of big budget productions in Korea, and made its writer Choi Wan-Gyu a quasi Jerry Bruckheimer-ish “creator,” influencing way too many shows in the last two years. This is where KBS’ 바람의 나라 (Kingdom of the Wind) made its start: a tremendously popular story to adapt, the manhwa by Kim Jin which sold millions and was even turned into a video game; the production team behind 해신 (Emperor of the Sea), and particularly the writing team. Choi played supervisor, but the ones writing the script are Jung Jin-Ok of Emperor of the Sea and Jumong, and particularly Park Jin-Woo, who wrote last year’s 한성별곡-正 (Conspiracy in the Court).

The show recently completed its 45 day Chinese shoot in Wuxi, Huangshan and Lanzhou, finally revealing to the press the complete top cast. Taking the role of Muhyul, the future King Daemushin of Goguryeo and grandson of Jumong, will be Song Il-Guk, in what looks to be an opening quite similar to 2006’s record breaking Jumong. King Daemushin (roughly “The Great God of War") was in fact known for his territorial expansion and military conquests, which will make for plenty of very pretty war scenes (KBS is the best in the business when it comes to this aspect, and if you count in the expertise shown by Park Jin-Woo in his debut, it could be pretty badass). Perhaps the most interesting detail is that the show will mostly try to stick to history, which will certainly disappoint fans of the original manhwa, more oriented towards fantasy. But I have no complaints whatsoever. There’s been enough fantasy stinking up sageuk in the last two years. Cast looks top notch, with Jung Jin-Young making his TV comeback after 14 years, sageuk veterans like Kim Myung-Soo and Jung Sung-Mo, and talented actresses like Oh Yoon-Ah and Choi Jung-Won (although they’re both fresh when it comes to sageuk). Now the question is, will this turn into another Jumong? That is, great start, falling into endless repetition in the middle, abandoning history for daily drama-like storytelling towards the end? Answer from this September 10, when Kingdom of the Wind will be part of the revival of Sageuk World, getting reviews every month.

[Daum News]

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