(image source : Soompi)
Disclaimer : this is a subjective review. And spoiler alert!
Once live together in harmony, the weaker kind of human called Saram decided to kill all of the stronger kind of humans (Neanthal). Ages after that, the children and what’s left of them lived under cover. Two of them are twins separated at birth. One is brought back to the land of Arth by a strong commander called Tagon, and the other lives in a paradise-like land called Iark that lies behind a very big and tall cliff. Problem arise when Tagon decided to raid the land behind the big cliff and bring the innocent people who knows no harm home as slaves to Arthdal, a tribe union lead by his father that’s full of politics.
First of all, there’s a lot going on in this series. A lot of people, a lot of storyline, a lot of tribes, a lot of personality. I also can’t help but feel that this is like a rearranged Game of Thrones. The opening roll, the clothing, the hair, the many characters and many plots. Even the characters and personalities feel like they’re a mesh of Game of Thrones characters. Probably because there are not a lot of dramas I’ve watched that has this many things going on, and it’s also set in a pre-historical era which only makes it more similar.
The story, I don’t even know where to begin because there are a lot of subplots. Even at the early episodes, they already served us with a lot of characters, stories, and sets. I personally prefer one of these three to be constant for a TV series to have an anchor. With GOT, we got many characters and stories but at the beginning the characters are put into several places only. Then within the next seasons when we’re already familiar and hooked with the characters, we got to see other places where the characters embark on their journey (well mostly Arya and Daenerys) and we got new side stories. But this drama has a lot going on in all over the places they have. Every other episodes we were given new characters, new places, and another sub-plots. Now based on how the story still has not end after episode 18, this drama looks like it’s designed to span into seasons. I hope that’s the strong reason why we have a lot of everything, because if not then this drama is just plainly all over the place.
I’ve read reviews about the horrendous computer graphic effect. Some of the places do require CG because this show is set in a fantasy world where they have…sea of fire, huge waterfall, old-fashioned bamboo/wooden construction ladder from a very very high cliff down to the ground. Some CG in the early episodes (like the sea of fire) really are horrendous, but it got better at later episodes.
The main story is about 5 characters : Eunseom, Tanya, Saya, Tagon, and Taealha. All the many other characters feel like they’re just just ensembles. They do have strong side characters that could potentially have good stories moving forward. The actors seems like they are in different depth of acting ability. Kim Ji Won as Tanya is as pretty as ever, but to me, her facial expression always looks the same in every drama she’s in. Song Joong Ki did a decent job portraying two characters : Eunseom and Saya. He made the two characters very different in their facial expressions and voices. Although, big props should also be given to the hair and make up team because they can make Eunseom looks so innocent and bubbly and on the other hand make Saya looks pale and sharp. I think the best acting comes from Kim Ok Bin as Taealha, because the expression playing in her face is always sharp and very good.
The last episode is quite disappointing because there’s not even a single clue of how the story would wrap up if they ever will. Possibly because they’re building hype for a second season. But even so, I don’t think there’s enough bits of clues either on what drama we will face in the second season. The ending does not seem like an ending at all, and there is not much of a cliff to hang on to, either.
All of that being said, this drama is quite interesting to watch if you can bear with the many things that’s going on. It’s quite interesting to watch the politics unravel, what the characters would do. I’d watch the next season if it ever comes out. But first we’ll have to watch and see if this drama would launch its second season because I heard it has bad ratings in Korea.
What I Like The Most
Song Joong Ki’s make up that makes the two characters that he plays seems very, very different.
What I Dislike The Most
Too many things going on.
Where to Watch
My Final Rating
See the full list of my TV show rank here.