Emperor of the Sea: Episode 2

Two episodes in and I know I don’t want to marathon this drama in a hurry. I want to savor it slowly, like one drinking in the view from a mountain peak.

The cinematography blows me away. From the arid plains in Episode 1 to the verdant hills in Episode 2, I lose count of the number of times I’ve paused in mid-watch to sigh, “Show, you are breathtakingly beautiful.” Yet at no time do I feel that the beauty is there merely for display and for me to gawk at. The camera never lingers longer than necessary; the backdrops never distract.

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Emperor of the Sea: Episode 1

Why an older drama like Emperor of the Sea? Isn’t that a 2004 production?

Guilt, first of all. That three-volume set sitting on the shelf and looking all forlorn whenever I walk past. How many years has it sat there?

And giddy anticipation. Because ever since I found this when I was looking for a suitable image for the Titans on our screen page, I’ve been antsy. Can’t wait to watch him!

So did he make an appearance in Episode 1?

He did. Even the lizards in my room squealed when he appeared. But you should see the lizards’ reaction and mine when Brad Pitt’s two lady loves, one current and one former, popped up on the screen.

C’mon, be serious.

I kid you not. At first I thought I was seeing things, but when they appeared one after another and then stood side by side (ready to scalp each other), every doubt dissolved and I about fell off my chair. Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston. In a sageuk!

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M

When a fellow fan of Duelist told me he hated M (2007), my heart sank.

But the more I read people chastising the movie, the more determined I was to like it. Call it childish faith if you will, but Duelist was so perfect in my eyes it was impossible for me to accept that Lee Myung-se could make a bad movie. I read reviews that slammed M for being all style and no substance, for being absurdly difficult to understand. And I told myself, “If I can understand William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!, I jolly well am going to understand M.”

Then I watched the movie and after 45 minutes I couldn’t continue. It left me so befuddled I hated it.

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