“If it’s supposed to happen, it happens. Earthlings, call it Fate.” – Do Min Joon
I don’t watch dramas very often, in fact growing up in a household where dramas and soap operas were non-stop playing on the television, I quickly came to be quite critical of the cheesy storylines, overused tropes and unoriginal cinematography… which is why I’m especially picky when it comes to dramas nowadays and especially with Korean dramas. I will barely ever touch Korean dramas unless the world is absolutely shaking from the sheer ferocity of the fandom and hype. That’s basically what moved me to watch My Love From The Star.
To be honest, I follow the Korean music scene a lot more than the film/dramas scene. Going into My Love From The Star, I was well aware of the hype already surrounding the series and I made a point not to check out any reviews of it. All I’d heard were general remarks about how “good” or “awesome” it was so I went into the series and story with little to no biased impressions other than the fact that it was supposed to be another Korean romance soap opera series. It met both my expectations and also exceeded some of them in many ways…
The story’s female protagonist is Cheon Song Yi (Jun Ji-Hyun), Korea’s hottest actress who is stuck-up, self-absorbed, insensitive and at times, utterly overbearing. In her endeavours to avoid crazy paparazzi and random fans, she ends up moving to a new building with a rather stoic and unusual neighbour. Cue the leading man – Do Min Joo (Kim Soo Hyun), an alien who actually arrived on earth 400 years prior to main story’s time period. In the Joseon Era, he missed his chance to return home and ended up stuck on earth up till the present day where it is predicted, in three months’ time, a meteor shower with the precise scientific circumstances for him to return home, will occur. Min Joo is both annoyed and intrigued by his new obnoxious and loud-mouthed neighbour when he discovers that she resembles someone he knew many years ago…
“If a reason for me to meet her comes, then don’t you think I will? If I go without meeting her, then it will be because there was no reason to…” – Do Min Joon
Plot Overview (WITHOUT SPOILERS)
As with my other full series reviews I will not spoil any of the plot here however there will be a section below with many many spoilers including my thoughts on the ending towards the end of the post so please scroll down if you wish to hear me rant. Here I will be providing my general thoughts on the story as a whole.
My Love From The Star fulfills many of the typical drama stereotypes that you might find in other Asian series – whether they’re Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese or Cantonese, they all have those similar love elements. Boy meets girl, whether they’re in a hate-love relationship or a tedious friendship relationship, sooner or later romance will bloom, as expected. There must be a third party vying for the main guy or the main girl to create a love triangle setting. Throw in a mentor to the hero, best friends to the heroine and an evil villain and you have the makings of a usual romance set-up. What makes My Love From The Star a little different from your usual romance genres is the supernatural element wit Min Joo being an alien from another plant.
As I was watching the series, I was really surprised at how evenly the events are spaced out so that you don’t feel suffocated by the romance or the side plot stuff involving the police investigations with the main villain. We watch the story, of course, from a third person perspective. However, sometimes before, during and always after the episode, we are given inner thoughts of Min Joo as he narrates directly to the camera, the thoughts he would have written down in his journal. These brief but immensely effective narrations give us much detail into the back story of Min Joo’s character and provide insight into his emotional dispositions of current events as well as philosophical outlooks on life.
The plot only drags a bit towards the end as the mushy romance scenes pile up because the action and investigation drama involving the villain has been wrapped up beforehand. It was pretty clever of them to reconcile endings in order, knowing that fans would want to see the romance ending last of course. Overall I was impressed with the director’s storytelling style and especially the special effects that really bring Min Joo’s character to life. The cinematography has a way of capturing the most beautiful moments and freezing them either at emotionally-charged scenes or episodes that end with cliff-hangers. If you’re one of those perceptive viewers, you’ll catch Min Joo constantly reading and re-reading a picture book. The simple yet poignant lines in the storybook really reflect his position on earth. I enjoyed the sheer simplicity of such symbolism.
As a usual anime-fan and occasional drama-watcher I quite enjoyed this Korean drama. It definitely has some cheesy dialogue moments but there is little to no filler in the plot, the comedy is refreshing and the gag scenes both much appreciated and very appropriate for where they are inserted in the story. Even if you are usually adverse to dramas, I would recommend you give this one a try if you’re sick in bed with nothing to do or if you’re looking for something lazy to watch for your weekend off from work.
I rather like how the characters unfolded, all of them. They’re a mixed batch for sure and their appearance gives a really different taste to each of the scenes which I particularly enjoyed. Although Jun Ji-Hyun and Kim Soo Hyun had really great chemistry on screen, I just couldn’t love them as a couple as much as I usually love drama couples. I think the problem with this is that Jun Ji Yun is actually 32 while Kim Soo Hyun is only 26. It doesn’t help that Soo Hyun has a total cutie baby face (which I’m not complaining about) but I felt that Ji Yun just didn’t look that appealing and pretty in some of her more casual scenes. Sure she’s gorgeous when dolled up in her celebrity appearance but she just didn’t look very good in a wide range of scenes when she’s supposed to be in her regular outfits and look. Doo Min Joo is so deep and intellectual and philosophical, I have no idea why he would ever end up falling for Cheon Song Yi who is flippant, arrogant and often lacks grace and tact.
“Strangely, whenever I’m having a hard time, you are always next to me…” – Cheon Song Yi
Cheon Song Yi- Although Jun Ji Yun totally rocks the Cheon Song Yi look and brings out the absolute worst and most vulnerable sides of Song Yi, I found Song Yi’s character a bit bi-polar and not very believable at times. I understand celebrities throwing a tangent and being arrogant about who they are but she can really be really vicious and cruel to her enemies. She’s short-tempered and hot-headed and barely ever uses her brain. She’s supposed to be at least in her late twenties, bordering on thirty but she can barely take care of herself. At times I found her so inconsiderate to others that I wanted to smack her. Yes she has her own sad back story but really it’s not that sad and honestly how sad and stressed can you be when you’re making millions of dollars as a beautiful actress? She’s pretty unperceptive to a lot of what happens to her throughout her life which is why she ends up making a lot of enemies. She’s extremely emotionally under-developed to the point where she can be really childish and it just got on my nerves more often than not. I applaud Ji Yun for giving dimension to this initially shallow character and totally killing the comedy scenes.
“Only hide when you’ve done something wrong. Don’t just hide.” – Doo Min Joon
Doo Min Joo- I literally watched the entire series for Doo Min Joo as soon as I saw Kim Soo Hyun come onto screen. The story’s most unique perspectives come from Doo Min Joo’s narratives and his views of the earthlings, fate and the world as it unfolds and changes around him. He never ages and he has superpowers with the abilities of telekinesis, teleportation and even the power to freeze time for short intervals. He’s almost always stoic faced and you’d think his character comes off as heartless and unfeeling for most of the story but the absolute opposite happens. The story-telling is amazing in bringing out Min Joo’s backstory which in my opinion makes him fifty layers deeper than Cheon Song Yi. Unlike the leading lady whom everyone can read like an open book, Min Joo’s thought are almost always locked up behind an inscrutable mask however it’s in his actions, his inner monologue and the narrative snippets (before and after the episode) that give insight and depth into his personality. Kim Soo Hyun perfectly embodies Min Joo’s every subtle expression and nuance. Because Min Joo isn’t a character prone to passionate displays of emotions, when he does get emotional and by that I mean WHEN HE CRIES, YOUR HEART JUST SHATTERS INTO A THOUSAND PIECES. Seriously, Kim Soo Hyun cries better than many of the other male actors I see today.
“You said you feel most comfortable with me because I’ve seen all sides of you. Can’t you call that our love” Just call it love and come to me.” – Lee Hwi Kyung
Lee Hwi-Kyung- Ah, the love rival in the triangle… sometimes you utterly hate him and sometimes you want to just give him a hug. I’m sort of caught on the fence with Hwi-Kyung. He starts off as a pretty naïve and lighthearted character utterly devoted to Cheon Song Yi. Actually, he’s known her for almost fifteen years and he’s loved her since she rejected him flat in his face in their middle school classroom. He ends up maturing as a character, largely shaped by the events the shady and sinister plot that unravels next to his older brother Lee Jae Kyung. All in all, Park Hae-Jin did a really great job with the character and I thought they cast the child actor really well in conjunction with Park.
“You can’t stop thinking about him. It’s harder to not think about him…” – Yoo Se Mi
Yoo Se Mi- I honestly thought Yoo In-na was a lot prettier than Jun Ji-Hyun and I realy enjoyed seeing Yoo In-na play a sort of complex character tentatively balancing angelic sweetheart and envious celebrity rival. She just has a really sweet and lovable face to go with her character. Se Mi starts off as Cheon Song Yi’s best friend before they have a fall out right before the main plot starts to layer on heavier which ultimately isolates Song Yi and leaves her even more vulnerable in the story as things get precipitous. Although Se Mi rarely smiles, In-na’s acting truly shines when you see her portraying the duplicitous aspects of her character.
“The reason why you are still alive, is because I am letting you live. So be grateful.” – Lee Jae Kyung
Lee Jae Kyung- EVIL EVIL EVIL character. Here’s our main villain portrayed by Shin Sung Rok who was absolutely fantastic as the antagonist. There was honestly nothing loveable at all about Jae Kyung throughout the series. He was just really messed up as the middle child in his family.
“Although the future is important, isn’t the present just as important?” – Lawyer Jang
Jang Young Mok- Min Joon’s longtime friend and confidante from way back when… Min Joon saved Lawyer Jang from committing suicide and lent him money to support his family and pass the bar exam. As a result, Jang has come to see Min Joon as his closest friend and even treats Min Joon like a son even though Min Joon is much older than Jang. There are moments in the series when Jang’s protective friend side will emerge and you will find yourself smiling fondly at the pair.
I’m aware that the My Destiny song is the main love song between the main characters/couple but it got SO repetitive throughout the series and the series is only twenty episodes!! I wish they changed it up by either remixing My Destiny into a different ballad or perhaps they should have started the music at a different part in the song so it’s not always the same chords up and down in the moments.
The entire official album itself is thirty tracks. The first nine tracks are sung and include all the favourites throughout the series while the remaining twenty-one tracks are score instrumentals you hear throughout the series to accompany different scenes. There’s literally a song for every mood and every scene which makes the soundtrack really worth a full listen. My favourite song of the sung songs ended up being My Love From the Star sung by Younha and Every Moment of You sung by Kim Soo Hyun himself. Of the score, I realy enjoyed Back to the Present, both parts of Dream Scenery, Missing You, Beethovan Revolution (for all those intense action angry scenes), Waltz with the Star and Space Love. Basically any quiet piano piece to go along with the cute romance moments became my favourites.
So that is all for part 1 of the review. Part 2 will contain a lot of spoilers because I will be discussing my thoughts on the ending, potential sequel ideas, etc. so if you have already seen the series and are curious about my thoughts there, stay tuned for more!
What are you pondering today?