VERY IMPORTANT NOTICE

A must read, if you don't already know ...








Written by Funn Lim




"An ok series, light entertainment, sometimes very funny but at most times very bland."






SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!






Year Released

2003



Cast

Nick Cheung - Jason

Maggie Cheung Hor Yee - Yama

Cheung Chi Kwong



Note : I just realised, 3 Cheungs in one!



Joyce Tang - Din

Winnie Yeung

Stephen Au

Angela Tong



and many more whose names I do not know.



Featuring Star Cruise ship and guest starring Yuen Keng Dan.



Comments

The title is very captivating and the abbreviation is even better; UDISOL. Sounds like a series about United Nations. In a way it could be since the ship sails around the world and we get to see exotic locations. Anyway I would like to comment on 3 major issues; the story, the production and of course the performances.



The Story

This series probably boasts the least storyline and remarkably it was stretched to 20 episodes. It started out simple. Two lonely souls found one another on a cruise ship. The girl, Yama was dumped by her boyfriend who was supposed to marry her on the ship and the guy, Jason was I guess attracted to her vulnerability. Whatever that may be they married on the same ship and when the journey ended, so did their marriage due to a misunderstanding. Guy thought girl married him because of rebound in a relationship, whilst girl saw guy with a woman in bed with him who was actually paid to act out her part. Reasons why Jason did what he did was lost to me. He could have simply tell Yama to her face why he is so disappointed with her and yet they never confronted each other. Then came divorce and then separate lives.



3 years later they met again on a cruise ship and lo and behold, the work for the same company and cruise ship. So we have the obligatory unreasonable Yama trying to get monthly maintenance (that is alimony) from Jason when their lawyer told them that the divorce papers were destroyed in a fire many years ago and so they're still married to one another. Then came how Jason tried to not pay her by asking a sleazy friend, Stephen Au to pretend to be this great guy to woo her and marry her (alimony ends either by the woman's death or she remarrying). In the end Jason realised he still love Yama and Yama realised she still love him. But now there are 2 problems. That sleazy guy refused to let Yama go for his own scheming plans (he bought a winning lottery ticket in the name of Yama and so he thought he must marry her to share the winnings) and more importantly, Jason's best buddy, Din is actually Yama's half sister so when Yama found out Din is her half sister and she is also in love with Jason, she decided to let Din have him because Din had a hard childhood growing up in an orphanage. In the end, needless to say, Yama and Jason did get together, but in one big huge mega gigantic roundabout way.



The problem I see with this story is its single mindedness, which is a predominant trend in most Korean drama series. We have one couple, separated, met again, separated, reconciled, troubles forced them apart and in the end together again. Much of this series shows how Jason chased after Yama whilst Yama reluctantly ran away. Her fear that perhaps this may not be the fairy tale ending, that she loved Jason but like the question posed in The Matrix, IS HE THE ONE?



For Jason Yama is the only one. For Yama, she thought Din suited him best though she was crying in her heart. So in the end, Din let go, Jason chased again and Yama finally stopped to look at Jason and agree what her heart said all along; he's the one dear girl.



Maybe the first few times this may be romantic but day after day, episode after episode, this single mindedness is if I may dare to offend fans of Maggie Cheung and gang, BORING. It was as if there was nothing else to talk about.



So the characters had to be interesting. I find the characters in here colourful and cartoonish, sometimes that may be good but after a while, it will always be bad.



For one, Yama's character who was at first the worst kind of gal, I wondered what Jason saw in her. But as she settled down and calmed down, we will see a nice Yama who is actually a very understanding but insecure person. She pretends to be strong, but she is not. She is actually very frail, not physically but emotionally. The first few episodes are for comic relief, the way she handled things in a very dramatic way, how she tried to get back at Jason, how unreasonable she was. I realised after a while, I can't blame her. After all she thought she was dumped on her wedding day, I believe twice by 2 different men. So she turned hurt into hate, but after a while she can't hate Jason because the more she hated him, the more she will realise she loved him. It's as complicated as it is simple. Love is both of these things and when she calmed down, she actually wondered what if things didn't turn out the way it did 3 years before. Then came Din's revelation. I find her giving and understanding but too undecided. Luckily Jason was very determined to win her back and that is another problem.



Jason is a nice guy, and I find this character lovable, appealing and a complete gentleman. For whatever reason he paid the woman to pretend to sleep with him on the bed 3 years before, it didn't matter. He truly cared about his friends, his in laws, his father (whom he was at logger heads with) and of course Yama. When he knew Yama was the one all over again, he tried to win her love but he created his own problems by asking his sleazy friend to woo Yama (when she demanded for alimony and he thought by her remarrying he didn't have to pay her anymore which is true in law). He was as guilty as everybody else but that didn't mean he wasn't a good guy. Then came Din and he felt obliged to give Din a promise, that perhaps they could be a couple. But Din wasn't stupid, she had known him all her life so she knew. The funny thing was Din knew Jason more than Yama knew Jason in every way but well, love is a funny thing. Probably you can't be in love with your best friend. So in the end he ran after Yama, did all sorts of things, did them all with this pained look and won Yama's heart again. You know, he didn't need to win her heart. Her heart was already his but he had to convince her this can actually work, that it is for keeps. At times rather romantic, but I just feel Yama didn't deserve Jason. I have yet to see one TVB series that shows a man telling a girl, "Ok, fine, if that is what you want, if you have no confidence in me so be it!" when the girl who obviously loved him kept rejecting him because she was scared. I have yet to see one series where the girl then ran after the man and convince him that she is herself convinced this could all work. That would be nice. What this story depicts is a man who pleases the woman he loved way too much, which is realistic, I agree but not very interesting to watch.



Din is another interesting character. Pretending to be a lesbian to hide her true feelings for Jason, she finally confessed and he thought it was all a joke. Yama would have sulked and walked away but nice girl like Din stood by him no matter what. Yama may be guilty of doubting Jason's character many times but Din must be admired for her devotion to him. It's not blind devotion because of love like Yama thought but because she truly believe and trust his character and integrity. But this character causes a very illogical dilemma.



You see, she knew Jason and Yama were in love and so she wanted to leave to escape from facing the truth. Jason asked her to stay, she told him she loved him and she stayed. Then nothing happened. Jason kept running after Yama so I assume Din realised Jason didn't love her. So when Yama kept pushing Jason to Din, she couldn't understand why Yama had to do that. Yama could be with Jason, need not do that as reasoned by her. So she tried all she could to bring them back by not seducing Jason and good for her. But Yama told Din that "I am the one between you and Jason, you two should be together" to which Din could not offer any answer. Yama got it all wrong and I am surprised Din didn't realise this. Din was the one between Yama and Jason, Jason loved Yama, Yama loved Jason, Jason runs after Yama, Yama running away from Jason, Din running after Jason, so who is running after Din? No one so I am surprised a sensible girl like Din didn't just leave for somewhere else to allow Yama and Jason to get back together again. She did try but she stayed behind. But I feel she should leave because she was the pebble in the shoes. Get my meaning?



Everybody else, especially Angela Tong's character was pure cartoons that was neither interesting nor funny. Just plain annoying. Even a guest appearance by Yuen Keng Dan is lame and flat. She played the tarrot card reader and frankly, I thought the way she dressed and talked was plain ridiculous.



Worst Bits

The last episode where Din and Jason pretended to get married and then suddenly Jason turned to Yama and said whole lot if things. Yama should have freaked out and slapped him because at that point she didn't know all that was staged. I find that cheesy, unnecessary and pure theatrics which means pure bullocks.



One scene where Din said she drew on the wall a picture of she and Jason together. She said she drawn them using her lipstick. I never knew anyone would carry with them yellow coloured lipstick, green or blue. Why don't just say crayon?



The Production

The ship, Star Cruise I think (Malaysian! Ahem!) looks like a big floating hotel. So beautiful but I don't know, what can you do on a ship for days? There are many locations, I think Hawaii was one of them. I think the production team traveled with the ship and I could see real actual guests walking by. It all looks real and I have no complaints.



What I don't understand is Jason and Yama are supposed to be working on the ship. But they looked more like guests than employees. If I can do what they did whilst working, I will quit my job and join Star Cruise! Very unrealistic.



The Performances

Overall, competent performances.



Nick Cheung

I haven't seen Nick Cheung for some time. He has aged but his acting still wonderful. His Jason is like "I don't care" but actually cares a lot you know. I like his Jason. But sometimes when he is emotional Nick Cheung tends to be too dramatic to the point of painful. I cringe when he screamed "Yama where are you? I miss you so much!!!!!". But overall a wonderful performance.



Best Bits

He and Yama were quarrelling already because Yama made him pay alimony. Then her mom and dad were on board of the ship and they didn't know they divorced 3 years before or what happened thereafter. So when her parents saw Jason, they shouted loudly in a happy way, "Hey son in law!" and Jason just stopped dead on his tracks, looking very puzzled and when he saw Yama's face it slowly dawned on him what was happening. This few seconds of a scene was very funny and Nick Cheung was brilliant in here.



Maggie Cheung

Same old character, same old Maggie Cheung. Competent actress but not ground breaking, Earth shattering performance. I see nothing new but well, she looks pretty though I prefer her with long hair.



Stephen Au

Excellent performance. Nothing more I can say.



Best Bits

One scene where he told Yama about his work. He is a member of Doctors Without Borders, meaning he is a volunteer doctor traveling very poor countries and offering free medical service. The way he said it was just too funny for me to describe, that dead pan way.



Winnie Yeung

I do think she is improving as an actress. She looked haggard though.



Cheung Chi Kwong

He plays Tok Kei, the romance novelist that Angela Tong's character admire but everybody else called his work pornographic. Anyway, he's playing a very different character here, an artistic flamboyant man. A welcomed changed though not very effective. A competent performance but again not ground breaking.



Best Bits

When Jason was about to run to the airport to ask Din not to go after he found out Din loved him and wanted to run away, he told Jason to stop and said; "If you go to her now, you have to accept her!". That scene was very nicely done and the scripting very logical which is very rare in a TVB series nowadays. It's true, if he stopped her from going, it would mean it is a promise of being a couple. Poor Jason, losing a best friend in his effort to win the love of his life!



Angela Tong

Very bad performance and a very poorly scripted character who is a hopeless romantic.



Joyce Tang

I decided to leave my comments for her last because there's a lot of things I like to talk about when it comes to this actress and her performance.



First thing first. My reaction when I saw her first scene with her hair let down. I thought "My God! She is so gorgeous!". It's true, Marco Ngai is a lucky guy because she is so beautiful in here, overshadowing even the glamorous looking Maggie Cheung. Her hair, her make up, her face, her dress, everything about her was picture perfect. I always knew she had beautiful features, when I saw her in person she was small but very well proportionate. She was also very beautiful and though thin, she didn't look like she was starving. In this series, she looked tall, and glowing. I dare say, she is one gorgeous woman. My whole family thought so and to see her looking so feminine reminded me of her older series like Armed Reaction where she looked like a young boy! In fact she looked the same, just the image has changed. Beautiful woman.



Now her acting. Very happy go lucky Din, I suspect she is like that in person. Her Din may be spoilt at times, or even has a temper but overall she is a happy girl though she had many unhappy events happening to her. Joyce Tang definitely played her like a little girl because let's face it, Joyce when she cries, or laughs, she sounds and acts like a little girl. Someone you would want to protect her. I find her performance adequate but frankly not ground breaking. It's a simple and very easy character to play. But what amazes me is her beauty. Now that is ground breaking.



Verdict

An ok series, light entertainment, sometimes very funny but at most times very bland. 4 reasons to watch this series; Nick Cheung, the Star cruiser, Joyce Tang and because it has a very imaginative title. Other than that, leave this series for rainy days when you have absolutely nothing to watch.



Rating











5 comments:

  1. Anonymous30.6.04

    Nice review, although I do have a few things to add and refute.

    I thought Maggie's performance is actually very good. She has several brilliant scenes you didn't mention. Such as when she is on the boat, just getting off the phone with Jackson, twirling in her wedding gown in the bedroom. Then she receives a note from Jackson saying he wouldn't make it. Later her parents call, which she makes an effort to hide her emotional vulnerability. This is an example of what makes her performance anything but boring. There are other scenes too, like when Jason admits his wrongdoing in the middle of the exhibition conference to Yama; when Yama finds out Jason's scheme via Lau Wah and his grandma; etc. You can see all these genuine feelings on her face but you also see a lot of containment within. She has too much, too many layers in that face of hers, that you could imagine it's all very discombobulating and all the feelings cannot be expressed all at once. So you're drawn to that mystery of what is she feeling? I can imagine but it looks like she is feeling more than that. Meryl Streep once said good acting is containment, otherwise it's explosive=melodramatic.

    Her character is very interesting as well. She has high emotional demands and is willing to involve herself in a close relationship, but not with any great depth of feelings. We can see this in her early relationship with Lau Wah--she's afraid she could be hurt again. She's egocentric sometime towards Jason and therefore quick to take offense, especially remarks coming from him. She's really sensitive and sentimental, but conceals this from all except those who are very close to her--Pauline. So she wants to prove to herself and others that nothing can affect her, that she is superior to any form of weakness. Her bickerings with Jason seems to mask all her real, deep feelings of being hurt out of that relationship. As a result, she acts with harshness or severity and adopts an autocratic and self-willed attitude. All of these are apparent in the performance. Depleted vitality has created an intolerance for any further stimulation. This sense of powerlessness, combined with frustration that she cannot control events, subjects her to agitation, irritation, and acute distress. She tries to escape these by stubborn insistence on her own point of view. So you see, my point is that her character has a lot of layers, which makes it interesting, at least to me from my p.o.v. And I thought Maggie did a brilliant job.

    I agree that the plot is very bland but there are times the relationship between Jason and Yama are glamorously and romantically depicted that could go on the same shelves with great romantic comedies like Sleepless in Seattle. Especially when they are alone by themselves with no interruptions by other annoyance. I absolutely loved the bits at Windy Valley or at the motel near Palm Spring, at Santa Monica (the ferris wheel and all). Those scenes leave a lot of room for them to develop or redevelop their relationship. And I thought both Nick and Maggie wonderfully achieved that effect. There are times I truly believed they are in love (again). One moment I have in mind now is when Jason and Yama are left deserted on the boat. Together they (re)discover their memories in empty boxes of cookies and chips. Wonderful!

    I'd also like to comment that Maggie looks gorgeous in those dancing gowns, especially the crimson-red gown and the golden shimmering gown.

    One of my favorite moments is when the group play spin the bottle at Yama and Pauline's place. It's absolutely hilarious.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love this show!
    They finally are together. Great hapy ending even though they went through so many troubles. I nearly kill someone when i saw the ending part, b4 knowin they'll b together

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous25.1.05

    Halo Funn,

    My name is Mel!

    I have recently watch the 'Ups and downs in the sea of love' series. You're right that this show plot is a little bland but I fell in love with the English song played throughout the show especially when Jason and Yama meet each other. It's definitely a romantic one. I can't seems to find this song on the internet. Do you know of any link where I can download the song ?

    Look fwd to hearing from u soon !

    Rgds
    Mel

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous25.1.05

    Halo Funn,

    My name is Mel!

    I have recently watch the 'Ups and downs in the sea of love' series. You're right that this show plot is a little bland but I fell in love with the English song played throughout the show especially when Jason and Yama meet each other. It's definitely a romantic one. I can't seems to find this song on the internet. Do you know of any link where I can download the song ?

    Look fwd to hearing from u soon !

    Rgds
    Mel

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous19.6.05

    This series is the one that actually made me a Maggie Cheung fan.=)

    ReplyDelete

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