KDRAMAGUK : Korean Drama Soup

a landing site for quick, completely biased, and totally snarky korean drama reviews


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Spring Waltz (2006)

Spring Waltz
봄의 왈츠
(Mar – May 2006)

who’s in it
Seo DoYoung (Friend Our Legend, Invincible Lee Pyung Kang)
Daniel Henney (My Name is Kim Sam-soon)
Han HyoJoo (Shining Inheritance, Iljimae)
Lee SoYeon (Super Rookie)

what’s it about
Poverty, death, and noble sacrifice (the usual trifecta) succeed in tearing apart young lovers Han HyoJoo and Seo DoYoung as children. When later they reunite as adults, there is an instant attraction between the two, like rain to the ground—destined for impact. Daniel Henney and Lee SoYeon have a go at derailing the fragile relationship but it’s the couple’s own tragic past that carries the power to separate Romeo from Juliet again. If you’ve seen any of the previous incarnations in this popular seasonal series (Autumn in My Heart, Winter Sonata, Summer Scent), you’ll already know it’s got melodrama in its genetic make-up.

20 episodes


wildcard factor
Daniel Henney - fans watching just for him might be disappointed by his second guy status

after the first episode
It was visually appealing, which is the selling characteristic of the entire Summer, Spring, Autumn and Winter collection. In this one, we started in winter’s icy snow and ended by the melting of frost with spring flowers—and since dramas that take place in spring and summer tend to have happier endings…well, you get the idea. Anyway, let’s just say its less of a downer bucket than the others. Sprinkled throughout, we get lots of fluttering waltzy music and a very GQ-fab Seo DoYoung. I was definitely going to watch this one all the way.

gave up

snoozer moments
The flashbacks to Seo DoYoung and Han HyoJoo’s childhood escapades were necessary but I found myself wanting to hurry it along so we could get back to the adult versions.

Tortured piano playing instead

what didn’t work
The plot was a bit heavy-handed and the directing similarly cumbersome. Although I did enjoy the “sweeping” elegance of the musical score and felt it did compliment the story, I wished the emotions from Seo DoYoung and Han HyoJoo matched the swelling violins and pianos that engulfed them. I understood that I was supposed to be swept up by this love story through the musical cues, not because I felt it from the characters. Spring wanted to be a grand rollercoaster, but it was more like the mini-coaster at a kiddie park. As usual, I found Han HyoJoo lacking. I just never felt any layers to her performance here, nothing to indicate that she had completely become this person. The characters she tackles are usually ones with troubled pasts but there is no darkness to her, just tears and wide eyes and earnestness. She conveys emotion but it feels more like fashionable emotion than real, heartbreaking pain.

what did
The music truly set the tone.

what made me want to gouge my eyes out

what kept me going

Well, I was curious if this drama would end in disaster for the main couple. It felt like it could have a happy ending…but there was also a feeling it could end in misery. I was a little gleeful at the possibility of this one taking an even darker turn than already indicated and going all the way to pure kdrama torment-ville.

Other factors:
predictability Yes, and No
engrish No, but Seo DoYoung and Daniel Henney do an admirable job of mimicking German. But since I took French, I have no idea if they are actually butchering it or not.
originality It had an interesting twist.
eye-candy Yes
hair and fashion Chic

is it worth trying to find?

total enjoyment factor 

total disdain factor

why this review is completely biased
Don’t care much for Han HyoJoo’s acting style.

could a non-kdrama fan like this

Overall, I thought it was a pretty good drama. It was flawed but it managed to accomplish its purpose of finding the emotional metaphor between music, spring and rebirth. While Han HyoJoo wasn’t fantastic, she didn’t suck either, and I became a fan of Seo DoYoung after this one.

Also, the fact that Daniel Henney spoke English while everyone else spoke Korean didn’t bug me half as much as I thought it would.

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