Reviews written by spritetime

2 results - showing 1 - 2
 
2005
 
2009-10-04 01:29:17 spritetime
Overall rating 
 
8.0
Story 
 
7.0
Acting 
 
9.0
Music 
 
8.0
Satisfaction 
 
8.0
spritetime Reviewed by spritetime    October 04, 2009
Top 50 Reviewer  -  

Finding Love through Head Trauma

Prince Turns Into Frog first made headlines in 2005 when it made what was then historic records in television ratings. It also established Chen Qiao En and Ming Dao, the male and female lead of the series, as a premier on-screen couple. With their tangible chemistry, they made their characters' fated love believable even in its most unbelievable moments.

The series tells the story of two strangers from different levels of society that meet by chance in the small fishing village of Mei Guan. Shan Jun Hao is the cold-hearted, efficiency-first luxury hotel guru that wants to destroy the village for profit, and the Ye Tian Yu is a money-scamming but deep-down-kindhearted resident of the small village. The two meet under antagonistic circumstances, but as fate would have it, Shan Jun Hao and Ye Tian Yu are involved in an accident that results in Shan Jun hao losing his memory. These two, bound by the circumstances of the accident, slowly falls in love, but just as it seemed happily ever after was around the corner, they are torn apart by yet another twist of fate. The story of the rediscovery of their love dominates most of the plot to follow.

While overall the story is well-constructed, it suffers from a certain amount of meandering and over-the-top coincidences, which at some points shatter the mood of the story with its incredulity. The love affair between the two main characters feel forced at the beginning of the series, as if the writers needed to convince us of their feelings in a hurry. As such, it was harder to feel for the couple until much later in the story, as they struggled to find their way back to each other.

Chen Qiao En, as she predictably does in her idol drama roles, fills the shoes of the abused yet perpetually kindhearted Ye Tian Yu well. Her facial emoions never cease to draw the audience in, and makes them feel for the plight of her characters. She also shows off moments of comedic talent, but they fall short of wonderful. Her slapstick feels forced and contrived, but these moments are compensated by her talent in portraying the tragic nature of Ye Tian Yu's predicament.

Ming Dao is the reliably good-looking male model casted to play Shan Jun Hao, who starts the series as a villanous character. However, while Ming Dao possessed the cool looks required for the role, failed to truly convey the ruthlessness that would be the contrast to Dong-Ou's (the alter ego) innocence later. His portrayal of Dong-Ou is comparatively more convincing, but in failing to fully explore that contrast, the story feels like it lost a certain amount of power when the two characters ultimately had to face one another.

Prince Turns Into Frog is a love story that at some points overly relies on plot devices to force a somewhat unbelievable relationship. However, the strong chemistry between the two lead actors were able to pull this off, and bring the audience into the relationship with them. The story always feel forced during the crucial plot moments where the characters' relationships were facing momentous twists, but these moments reliably find footing again in these two actors' performances. Without that strong chemistry, this series may have fallen far short of its historic accomplishment.

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2008
 
2009-10-04 01:28:39 spritetime
Overall rating 
 
9.8
Story 
 
10.0
Acting 
 
9.0
Music 
 
10.0
Satisfaction 
 
10.0
spritetime Reviewed by spritetime    October 04, 2009
Top 50 Reviewer  -  

A Cinderella Story

As with most Taiwanese "idol dramas," this story has the core component of two people who start out as improbably lovers, but ultimately end up as star-crossed lovers. However, while the core is formulaic, the supporting story for Fated To Love You feels better structured than most.

The story surrounds two main characters, the male lead being a rich aristocrat in a troubled relationship, and the female lead being a country girl with self-esteem issues. The two meet by chance (or by fate?), and after a night of mistaken identities and action under the bedsheets (humorously portrayed by a series of metaphoric imagery), the girl becomes pregnant. What follows is the story of how two people who started as unwilling participants in a forced relationship discover within each other that which binds their hearts together forever.

As Taiwanese idol dramas go, Fated To Love You offers a more realistic backdrop. Of course, the typical plot devices of "super-coincidences" and "near-meetings" are still used sporadically thoughout the series, but they are done in such a way that do not completely challenge the viewers' "suspension of disbelief" as much as in other dramas (until the very end, where it seemed like the writers just couldn't resist that awkard happy ending moment). As the actress playing the female lead described, this story is really about a very tragic real-world situation that was spun into a fairy-tale love story, supported by moments of comedy. As such, there were elements in the story that can truly touch the viewers as they find those moments to identify with.

The casting was also somewhat formulaic, as the studio generally choses from a pool of performers they are contracted with. The leads (Chen Qiao En, Ethan Ruan, Baron Chen, Bianca Bai) carried most of the story, with the weight of the emotional moments mostly falling on Chen Qiao En. Her ability to elicit sympathy for Chen Xin Yi is very believable, and her trademark puppy-dog eyes make you feel sorry for Chen Xin Yi almost against your will. Ethan Ruan, who shares an uncanny similarity in looks and demeanor with the studio's other hot shot Ming Dao, is relatively new to the idol drama genre, and his inexperience shows through in some awkard moments. However, his deficiencies are ultimately forgiven by his chemistry with Chen Qiao En and the strength of the underlying love story. Baron Chen's role is somewhat limited in this series, as his character is the stereotypical "guardian angel" + "good guy" + "love interest" that always shows up in idol dramas. His performance feels one-sided, and lacks a certain depth. Bianca Bai fulfilled her role mostly by her looks as she plays the beautiful ballerina girlfriend of our male protagonist Zi Cun Xi, but her performance remains unconvincing at several critical moments, and fails to fully flesh out the multi-faceted dimensions of Anna's conflicted emotions.

Ultimately, Fated to Love You touched many hearts, and the historic ratings it generated in Taiwan are proof of this story's quality. While it does suffer from some of the stereotypical plot devices that plagues idol dramas, it does shine through with its story and characters, and succeeds in making you walk in the character's shoes. It almost allows you to forgive the silly ending.

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