Not To Be Confused With
Legendary Four "Arses" or a series about horse racing.
Also Known As
In cantonese it is "Sei Dai Choi Ji" which means Authenthic Four Geniuses (the original English title) or more accurately , the Four Gifted Scholars.I wouldn't call them geniuses.
Because as this review will reveal ,these four guys are plain gifted in art,poetry,trickery,etc but not geniuses where they can change and are capable of changing the world.In fact most of the time they all have the greatest of the potential to be total 100% bona fide idiots,but it just so happens there are much more other idiots in this show which I shall reveal later.
Which Is About
Very basically,and even if I were to be extra detailed here,this story revolves around 4,read FOUR men and plenty of other minor but important characters.This is a series that tries hard to show us their patriotic sides but in the end,it's a love story from start till the end,with a tiny bit of drama and plenty of comedy.By the way,contrary to popular belief,this series is not set around Ching Dynasty.I can't be specific as to the King because frankly,nobody bothers with Ming Dynasty in the TV world,not nowadays.It's always Ching Dynasty thanks to the writer,CHung Yao or Sung Dynasty thanks to Jin Yong.But this is MIng Dynasty,I guess way before the Ching was of any threat to the Ming.How do I know?Chings always have a better fashion sense,the crown is different,the guys' hair are definately different.Watch HZGG and you'll know what I mean.So I repeat,it is MING Dynasty.You know,Crimson Sabre?Well that one is set at the end of the Dynasty.Ok lar,enough with this nonsense.I guess you get the picture.
26 tapes that could have been only 20 tapes if not for plenty of unnecessary storylines.
I meant this review !: oh,ahhhhhh......very very long.By the way,got 2 reviews in this page,so extra long long.So do skip mine if you want a shorter version,below.
Plenty of actors in here,too difficult to list ALL of them but here are some of the more important ones,not because they're of any importance to the series but because I SAY SO!HA!HA!HA!
Nick Cheung - Tong Bak Foo
Marco Ngai - Chow Mun Bun
Gordon/William Lam - Man Jing Ming
Bobby Au Yeung - Chuk Chii San
Choi Chii Kin - The useless Ming Emperor whose name I can never get
Ko Hung - The doomed Ling Wong
Loh Hoi Pang - Wah Tai Si(PM Wah)
Esther Kwan - Chau Heong / Chau Yuet
Nadia Chan - Chu Ping Ting
Annie Man - Chuk Hiew Lin
Yung Hung - Sek Lau
Hong Wah - Empress
Anne Heong - the irritating Lei Fung (Jie)
Chu Mi Mi - Mrs Wah
Wu Fung - Mr. Tong
Others - Chu Chii Kin , Wah Man Mou , etc
They all lived in a time where scholars were national treasures. Actually you can't just call them scholars, or artists or philosophers. They should be called Renaissance Men, meaning they knew everything. Maybe not invention because in Chinese history, the one who could master the art of calligraphy or painting or poem writings were much more respected than other professions such as inventors, doctors, though I would say most such scholars were doctors, inventors themselves. So ,basically they knew everything, so that's why this series is in a way a tribute to these people but I would have to complain a bit; if it is a tribute of some sort, than this series trivialize their achievements as I shall adequately explain below.
Could you please stop "I shall explain ..." and get on with it ? : I was going to, like below. But you know what? A sudden creative streak in me just emerged and though it's nothing I am not going to tell the plot in paragraphs but I am going to do it in a poem form, so you would have to keep scrolling line by line! That's your punishment for even doubting me! So get ready with a bowl/glass and a stick/chopstick and start tapping the stick against the glass/bowl like .... tak ,tak,tak,...get the picture? Want me to draw? No? Want to skip? Skip then but be ready for an hour of scrolling down this page! Yes, this will be my longest review, probably longer than Moonlight come on, stop crying! If you want skip mine and just read a shorter version below, though I do not agree with his/her review, but then again nobody cares for what I have to say. So. what are you waiting for? Those that want to scroll,scroll.Those that don't want to, ready with the tak,tak,tak...we are now in the Ming Dynasty Karaoke Mode!
There was a time where scholars thrived,
where dreams were made by studies and prayers
where people dream not of money
where fame was not the priority
where power was meaningless to these men
who just wants to serve THE man
who wants to lead a great fruitful life
by becoming a minister and help save lives
and so we have four men in that era
who did not want the above matter
each has their characteristics distinguishable from the other
by the mere fact of their dreams and hopes
there was a Tong Bak Foo,a name that lives in every women's heart
in every scholars' mind
in every classical thoughts
even till now his name is respected
for the mere fact that he was the genius amongst the rest
then there were his 2 buddies
the righteous Man Jing Ming
who is fearless in his pursuit
not of love,not of wealth,never for fame
but for the 7 letter word,JUSTICE
who believes in integrity ,who lives with the philosphy
Hung Yeuk Sing Yan Man Yeuk Chui Yi
who is proud of his lineage and his noble ancestors
then there is Chuk Chii San
the one who wants nothing
nothing but money
dignity is not his way of life
honour is a foreign word
shame is not in his dictionary
and certainly not integrity
coming from a family with no background,nor wealth,
all he has is his wits,
though in the end,he is at the end of his wits
for his greed and his stupidity
and his selfishness and foolishness
but wait!Where's genius number 4?
well he will come into the picture
as this loong poem will go
in which direction I do not know
as long as I could make up stories
and make this damn line ryhme with..stories?
ok ok,I give up!I can't even count,how could I ever ryhme?I am not a genius!Sob...sob..sob....ok,the proper plot,a little bit like above lar.
It is the era of Ming Dynasty,where the only threat the country has is within it's own four walls.There lives 3 geniuses in the famous "Genius-producing" state,Sou Chau,which is in China by the way.They are;Tong Bak Foo,CHuk Chii San and Man Jing Ming.All three are best friends but with three very different personalities ,beliefs and ideologies but in the end,they are united by the one mere fact that they're only human and is susceptible to emotions,pain and bodily threats.Then came the fourth genius ,Chow Man Bun. And the whole series are about their friendship,love lives,their relationship with the King and their own ideologies.
You MUST be Kidding!So Short?: Yes,so short.Why?Surprised?
But...who the heck is
Alright...alright..here goes..the looooooooong review
Tong Bak Foo : Played by Nick Cheung , he is supposed to be the smartest of them all,in terms of his knowledge in art,poetry,caligraphy,humanity,richness and of course , desirability.He is gifted and I do believe ranked first amongst the three of them in terms of Sou Chow's Four Gifted Geniuses. He wis supposedly born with charm,women love him,men want to be him.He is born into a privileged life,father being a very rich Lease Shop owner.However,most of his life before the viewers' eyes were concerned at first with his lack of compassion for those sufferring because of love and loyalty,and later because of his inability to forgive himself for what happened to his beloved Chau Heong and his guilt for what became of Chau Yuet.And slowly before us,because of his extreme loyalty to Chuk Chii San , he so willingly pretend to be somebody that he was not to save his best friend's head,but alas,someone was smarter than he was.
Man Jing Ming : All his life he lived a simple life,in the footstpes of his condemned but full of honour ancestor,a minister in the past who was wronged and beheaded.He was never rich,nor did he pursued richness.He just wanted to serve his country,like his ancestor.Alas,he fell for someone that would have a great significance in his career as a Minister.He fell for Princess Ping Ting,the only spoilt daughter of Ling Wong,a man whose ambition would never allow his daughter to marry such a righteous man.But he had too,because unbelievably,Man made her pregnant.So reluctantly he had to.And Man,because of his help for the Emperor,was given a position as a Minister,a position he could have had by his own scholarly effort,by being first in the Imperial exams,unfortunately Ling Wong doomed his effort,wanting him to fail so that Ling Wong did not have to carry out his promise to his daughter,that if that man passed,then she can marry him.As a minister,he tried to be make it on his own,but he realised that politics wasn't just about the struggle to help the Ordinary Citizens,but it also encompassed a little known thing called Power Play.He wanted to get away from his dad in law's influence,so he begged the King for a smaller position in a small village.And his wife dutifully followed him,never taking a cent from her dad.But when they were there,they found out about Ling Wong's evil intention to take over the throne,and Ping Ting rushed home only to disappear from all the drama until the last scene of Ling Wong killing himself,whilst the possibility of the conflict of interest between Man and his wife was never fully explored.
Chuk Chii San : Played by Bobby Au Yeung,he could have been the Most Despicable Character if not for another more despicable man.He had neither wealth nor family lineage like Man or Tong.Nor did he had a sad and hateful past like Chow.He had no parents,only his little sister played by Annie Man.He loved her like his own and would do anything for her.But he had one weakness,that was money.For money he could be a dog and a pimp to the King.But he also had loyalty,if the situation forced him to have that quality.He met but he couldn;t make himself fall for Sek Lau,both sharing the same passion for food,money and hating the opposite sex for thei simliar "I was dumped by a guy/girl" past.But that woman helped him a lot,stood by him and encouraged him when he was cheated again by his former GF who became a ruthless gambler who used his love for her as a tool for money.He became inconsolable until all his friends,including the emperor made him realise life is much more than just being dumped by a woman that does not deserved to be loved by him.And so he became the old Fatty Chuk,but this time Sek Lau fell hard for him,and he had to marry her because the Emperor ordered him to do so and because he felt that he had to,just as a sign of thank you.Then on the night of the wedding,he made a big mistake,a mistake that never really happened but assumed it happened.And now not just his reputation(which he has none) was at stake,but his entire life was at stake.How low would he stoop to let Tong to take the blame for him?How could he hurt the woman who clearly was meant for him but he deserved not to have her any more than he already did?
Chow Man Bun : The most interesting character of this series,at first.He had a really sad past,perhaps he lived too much in his past.His grandpa was best friends with Tong's Grandpa many moons ago,both travelling to the Imperial City for the exams.But on their way there and whilst sleeping one night in a broken down temple with an old man,a nun and a young boy,Tong's Grandpa lost his life savings,which Granpa Man was accused of being the thief.And because being a righteous guy,he went to the Magistrate and was found guilty and condemned all his life.He died,but managed to have a son,and who in turn had Chow Man Bun,where they had lived for three generations in Persia as a foreigner.Chow hated Tong's family and came back to challenge Tong to disastrous consequences.He almost lost his one arm,his life and his dignity,but in the end,those guys saved his life after realising that they had falsely accused him of murdering their respected Sifu.And they became the best of friends,thus making this series into legitimately,The Four Authentic Geniueses or The FOur Aces.Anyway,he fell at first sight for Annie,probably because of lust,and then he fell for her for real,but she was already married to Tong,minus the completed marriage ceremony and sexual act.Anyway,she too fell for him and they married,and the rest?Well,evil plots aplenty my friends,so the rest is about power play.
And these four guys would have to go through episodes after episodes of love affairs,heart wrenching love and evil plots by basically two men.Will they ever survive?Will they ever be able to fully serve their country with an idiot King on the throne?Will I ever just tell you more and the ending as well?And what about the women?Well,read on and....just read on lar har.
So What About The Women?Just wallpapers ah?
Actually , no.They were the reasons why these guys did what they did ,but in the end they were still second liners to the men in this series.I really did not know how to approach this review because there were so many people in it,and the story was so darn long but always with a singular purpose;Love.So I guess you'll have to bear with me as I go through each characters that bore a significant influence in the outcome of these few men,including the Emperor.
Sek Lau : Played by Yvonne Yung Hung,she plays a chef who lost her sense of taste,but nevertheless remains an excellent chef.She works for the Wah family,and at first she hates all men,because she was dumped by a man,professed to be a poor but educated scholar.That was why she lost her sense of taste .Then after a brief misunderstanding,she became great friends with Bobby,even helped him with money,encouraging him when he was dumped,down and out and even forgave him for being so mean to her when she was actually trying to expose that fraud of an ex-GF who is actually now a gambler after his money,not that he has much.Later she fell for him,why I do not know,how I do not know,when I also do not know,but I do know he married her for two reasons,obligation because she helped him a lot,and because the KIng ordered them to be married in exchange for a sizeable dowry.At first he thought about false marriage but when he knew she cried in front of Tong Bak Foo about his lack of love for her,he had to marry her for real,but instead of sleeping with her on the night of the wedding,he got drunk,met Lee Foong Jie who was the King's unofficial concubine then and was set up,big time by Public Enemy number one,Chu Chii Kin.He fled for his life,but feeling no dignity at all for being a coward,Sek Lau left him.He came back in time to save the day for Tong Bak Foo,and though the mystery was resolved surrounding the untimely death of Lee Foong Jie,danger was not over yet.First they had to deal with a vengeful King,then they had to deal with the Tartars.And what happened to Sek Lau?She left and wandered China for 7 long years whilst Bobby patiently waited.
But..but..what's the ending ? : I know I know,you want to know but hey,this is a new series,why not rent it?But frankly I didn;'t tell you much and it doesn't take an Authentic genius to know the outcome.So I guess why not I just tell you the ending,but I shall leave out the rest.Well,well,well,after 7 years,and after 150 China wide chains of restaurants under the name of his beloved Sek Lau,Bobby felt lonely,but rich.Sek Lau came back but she refused to go back to him,only with one condition;that he cook her a pot of some meat,using money as the fuel for the fire.Surely the Old Bobby would freak out because he never wanted power,nor ranks,he only wanted money.Money was his life.But at that moment,which I shall call one of the most touching moment in this series,he told his assistant to count all his wealth,took out all the paper money and used it as fuel,whilst he slowy remembers the good time they had.Halfway through it,as expected by us viewers she stopped him and tearfully went back to him.HAPPY ENDING!Yeah!!
Chu Ping Ting : The only child of Ling Wong,the man who is destined to die because of him wanting to be a King himself,whether his actions were noble is entirely up to interpretation.She hated her step mom,because the step mom inadvertantly caused her mom's death,by great sorrow,so she will publicly humiliate this woman,who is played by Florence Kwok.She ran away from home,and met Man Jing Ming in her male disguise,caused a great big misunderstanding that we all know is false because you can call Man stubborn but never a thief and a liar.But she later saw the better qualities of this man,being noble,upright,honest,and an overall great guy.She fell for him deeply and pursued him.He liked her too but daddy did not want this guy as his son in law.Sure,he tested Man and found him to be a great guy,doesn't smoke,doesn;'t fool around,no gambling BUT he has got one BIG flaw.He is terribly loyal to the unseen King and country and he will tolerate no treason.So he is definately not a candidate for son in law-ship,since Ling Wong wants the throne.But later we all know the real reason.The man did not want his daughter to be caught between two people,both she loves and make a choice if he ever do take over the throne.But he made a promise that she can marry him if he passes the Imperial Exams,first in line.Well,he definately could have if Ling Wong did not do his dirty trick in the resluts,and disappointingly,Man went to drinking.But later he did married her because she became pregnant (after one cold night in a secluded cave),and she dutifully followed him to another state to start all over again,abandoning her roots as a princess,and became a humble good woman.Then disaster struck,Chu Chii Kin wants to destroy Man also,and in the end eventhough she was with child,and gave birth thereafter,she was ordered to be beheaded along with everybody else,including the Child.Considering the fact that when her father took over the throne she could've died also but well,can she escape death a second time?
The ending please ? : 7 years has passed and they had two good sons.But daddy is a dedicated Minister and he would place country before family,so when daddy was kneeling before the useless King to beg the King to attend to state affairs after 3 days of absence,refusing to even walk or run but just kneel and kneel,and the King finally said "Well,do as you wish!!",in one of the funniest moments in the series,Ping Ting came running into the palace with her two sons and they all begged the King to attend to state affairs,so that daddy will go home,and have dinner with them.The King relented.HAPPY ENDING!YIPPEE!
Chuk Hiew Lin : The only living relative and sister to Chuk Chii San,she is not the educated type,nor smart but she is an overall good woman,who loves and knows how to take care of people,She fell for Tong at first,like all women,and had the unfortunate luck of meeting the evil Chow Mun Bun with her dress barely covering her body.However when Chow was at his lowest,though she hated him,she gave him words of encouragement,he fell for her but she was already married to Tong,albeit that they had yet to go through the ceremony.Then Tong fell deeply for Chau Heong,and she became angry and demanded for a divorce which Tong gladly gave it to her.Furious,she became a bit bitter,and nobody cared about how she felt about the divorce.Thom Chow came to her rescue,becmoing her friend,and after a while,she fell for him too and they married,had a happy life together until the Ling Wong incident and the Chu Chii Kin matter.
What about...?: The ending?Here,here.7 years has passed,still no sign of children,not for us viewers.Anyway,they travelled teh country and the world,and though she may be a bit stupid at times,the husband loves her and they became a very loving couple.HAPPY ENDING!YIPPEE!!
Chau Yuet : Played by Esther Kwan,this would be one of the saddest character in this series.She was born into poverty,had a twin sister that was sold as a servant and she was kidnapped by an eunuch who trained her up as a killer for the Secret Agent Division of the Imperial Palace.In there she had an admirer but she felt nothing for him.She met Tong first,disguised as a prostitute searching for some clues to some hidden treasure for Ling Wong.Embittered,angry and never smiled,she fell for Tong and agreed to marry him,thinking he loved her truly madly deeply.However on the night of the wedding,the selfish eunuch that trained her refused to let her go and poisoned her,where if she drink three cups of wine she 'll die.Luckilly she did not,because of some other matter but she was almost forced because if she didn't drink,Bobby as brother in law(Hiew Lin was also marrying Tong on the same night) would say she did not meant well,and so will everybody else.That night she left Tong for her own good,and she went back to work for the eunuch,killing more people.Devastation came when she discovered that Tong fell for her sister,and never loved her,and she did something even herself could not forgive that one act of treachery,she kidnapped her own sister,disguised as her,wanting to leave city with Tong who thought she was Chau Heong and in the end,tied her sister to a pole and drowned her.Or so we think.
Ok..do I need to repeat the question? : Not really,so here's the ending for this woman.She deserves a good ending.Being never loved before all of her life,she felt great remorse for what she did ,not only her sister who not only forgave her but begged people to forgive her.How?See for yourself.Quite dramatic.Anyway,in prison she went into coma because of over poisoning and for 7 years she was in coma and the next thing we see,she woke up and lost all her memories,and married that one guy who loved her and she refused him in the first few tapes.She smiled and laughed and became addicted to Mahjong.In the end,she became what she wished for;an ordinary person.A good ending.For this I shall say "Hip..Hip..HJURRAY!!"
Chau Heong : Don't ask me how two twins seperated for years could have the same Chau as a name.Anyway,again played by Esther Kwan this would be a more opera-ish version of Chau Yuet,happier and prettier in many ways.She is th head servant of the Wah Family,well loved and well respected.One day after Chau Yuet left Tong,Tong saw her and thought she was Chau Yuet.He followed her into Wah only to realise that she wasn't who he thinks she is.So when she thought that he works in wah family for her because she looks like his missing wife,he actually came to his senses and was actually in the Wah family to steal a pearl head dress of Mrs Wah,in exchange for her promise to write a recommendation letter to enable Chow to sit for a qualifying exams for Imperial Exams.But along the way he fell deeply for this Chau Heong when he realised she is a very very good woman,who helped him.when she realised she too loved him,she didn't dare admit because she was afraid that he loved her because of her likeness to Chau Yuey,without realising she was the one he loved.Something much more dramatic happened,and they became a couple,but alas,Chau Yuet came back and spoilt their good old fun,and Chau Heong was believed to be dead,swept away by the wave into the big blue sea,only to resurface many moons later in the palace of the rejected Tartar Prince(the one Chu Ping Ting rejected in favour of Man Ching Ming on the day of her wedding,by simply threatening suicide,but there were a lot more story to that).Now the tartar prince wanted her,but she went home to China for Tong only to see him as a womanising drunkard,but he had his reasons.She slapped him and ran away,only to be hit by a cart carrying his books,a book about their romanticised meeting in the temple and she realised he loved her the most.She went back to him but alas,Tartar prince,twice rejected by Ming women for Ming men became a national disgrace and came to capital city to demand justice,by challenging the four geniuses,If they win,he will remain friends with Ming Dynasty,and bless Chau Heong and Tong.If he wins,Chau Heong will be his wife,and a part of the land of Ming Dynasty will be his,whilst they all must die(this I am not THAT sure).So what's the ending?Take a wild guess.
Yo!Tell me what i want,what I really really want..: Spice Girls mode eh?Don't everybody wants to be a wannabe?Why not be yourself?Where was I?Yes,ending for this couple.One word..Happy..another word..ending.Not much drama for the most boring couple in this series.
Lee Foong Jie : Sister to a local mafia and owner of a restaurant,she met the King and the King fell for her instantly in a gambling den,perhaps he never saw tatoo,and a loud mouthed woman before.Anyway,against all odds,he found her interesting enough to want her,so he ordered Tong and Chuk to think of a way to get her.They almost drugged her,but she knew and in the end they were the one who were fooled.But the King did many disgraceful things,including kneeling in front of her,and one time even gave her the Official Imperial Seal which she took it and used it as a hammer,thus destroying that darn important thing.when he was kidnapped by Chau Yuet,only then she realised he was the King,and when he was saved and came for her,she gladly went into his arms(and don't we all wonder why?!Come on people,let us just say the word..ok,maybe not,too rude,but she gave us women a bad name) and became Concubine Foong.But not yet official because after almost facing death by Ling Wong,the King realised the Queen was a good wife and gave her much authorit and listened to her.The Queen slapped Foong Jie when she knew of her background,and in one of the most intense scene in this series,the Ministers,the Queen and even Man Jing Ming demanded that the King not taking her in as a concubine,you know,after that tower incident where Foong Jie was not convinced of his love,so he took her to the tower and lit the beacon,which was meant for real emergency use,and some 500,000 army fella rushed from all four corners of the area only to be fooled and they happily walked away,whilst citizens were killed because of the riot that ensued after the litting of the beacon.So they all opposed her.And when she was framed by Chu Chii Kin as the adultress with Bobby(never happened that way),the King ordered for the man;'s death but not hers.But when she was murdered,the King went beserk and ordered for everybody's death.In the end,she died a good death.
What about the...hey,she died!: Yeah,like you, I expected that they show the King happily married to her and the Queen be a more dutiful wife and everybody accepts her.BUT WAIT!SHE DIED!Shocking eh?Good thing though,if not we the viewers will die from exposure of really bad acting.Anyway,so what is a good young hot blooded King to do?7 years later,he remained the most faithful husband to the QUeen but the Queen wanted space this time.Funny.You see,too much attention.
What about the rest?! : Ok,want me to draw the whole picture eh?Wah Man Mou,the son of Wah Tai Si became a scientist,As for old man Mr Wah and Mrs Wah,they travelled around the world and found the fountain of youth.Anyway,he retired from politics and became a happier person.The End.
Wait..wait..the others!: Like who else?Those ke-le-fes?I guess they are still waitng for their own fifteen minutes of fame in a TVb series,so really are we bothered with them?
I meant Chu Chii Kin! : Oh yes,that guy.two words after . symbol.HE DIED.How?!you may ask?Murdered,brutally stabbed,beaten to death by the angry King.If not for that one supervening act,he could have died from drug overdose.
I know,you still have some burning questions.So shoot!
Ling Wong wanted to be a KIng himself : Frankly,who wouldn't?Most power,wealth...but he had his own reasons.He felt he was the right candidate.the King I had to admit was quite useless but he was never really that evil.Probably he deserved to be thrown out of the palace and suffer a bit but not treason man!Anyway,Ling Wong felt he could be a better ruler,and he was greedy.In the end,it was the temptation of power that beckoned him to an act of treason.He killed himself at the end,sitting on the throne,wihg his very pregnant daughter crying and begging her dad to let go.
CHu Chii Kin wanted the King to die : He wanted to be a King and exact revenge for his son's death.to be more precise,unborn son's death.You see he was having an affair with Florence and she was pregnant.Though the King let them all go,and let her go also to another state,he thought Ling Wong will have a young descendent.So he ordered Chu to kill the child within,which he did,and he went beserk,wanting revenge whilst becoming a drug addict.What a way to be..how shall I put it?Clear minded of one's goal in life?
Chu Chii King survived : He was the head honcho for Ling Wong but he was not beheaded,.Why?Because he volunteered to take the army out and fight the King for Ling Wong who has taken over the throne for a day the most,but actually he surrendered.But the King was wiser,giving him a title with no power and rejecting all his reforms.He didn't kill him because you can't quite kill a guy who helped you,but knowing he was evil,you must give him something but not too much.So he became the general of 800,00 soldiers' dobby expert,meaning he takes care of the clothes.
CHu Ping ting survived : Being the traitor's daughter,she should have died but she did not.Because the King is benevolent,at that scene and reasoned that she was already married to Man,so she is Man's family member and no longer Chu family.So she did not have to die.
You said Lee Foong jie died a good death : I know she was murdered,poor thing but please,by all means please I beg you to scroll down to Worst peformance category and I shall explain this to you.In fact,I can draw the reasons,better yet,I can record the reasons,no!NO! BEST YET,I can sing them to you!!!!
Happy ending for all : This is essentially a comedy,and a love story with 4 pairs in the making,What do you expect?Tragedy?If you count Lee Foong jie's death as a tragedy,then yes.But franklly,I see it as party time!
You said they are not considered geniuses in YOUR standard : You see,after all the big hoo-haa over all the drama,this series is only so limited in its focus,meaning they talk about love.Most of the time,these guys are smart,and gifted,but to call them geniuses,or aces,or legendary,I do not think so.In fact I personally feel that the storyline trivialises the whole legend of these four guys,if they did lived on this Earth years ago.So for me,they are just gifted.For more,do refer to the Complaints heading.I will be very detailed there.
urghhh..urgghh...give me a sec for another question : No more lar har.So,let's go on to the next heading.
WAIT!!!Why your review is like telling me something but yet not telling me at all: Because I want you to rent it.I mean,don't be so demanding lar!I can only write so much!
Always ask us to scroll..why not just tell me now! : Can anybody die of suspense?Well I want you to.The truth is I already gave you the start of the story,the plot,the ending.What else do you want?Every detail,from the script to the sets hah?Aiyor,then no need to rent lar like this! Go to verdict.Scroll,and one more question like this,there won't be a verdict below and this will be a red herring.
The "I Don't Get It" Factor
Plenty,but these are the few.
Wah Tai Si who professes to be a great loyal Minister complaining about the lack of good people in the government,why would he be so unreasonable in demanding Tong becoming his son's tutor instead of sitting for the Imperial Exams?A man as smart as him should know Tong is a good ministerial material.Perhaps he believed Tong had little integrity but I personally feel that this is like one of the flaws in the series.
I asusume Wah Man Mou is very close to Tong simply because they spent time together,becoming great friends.BUT when Tong was thrown into prison,he seemed a bit too relaxed,too uncaring.Perhaps they're trying to show us he understood the games that the evil guy played,but frankly,I just don't get his expression,which was almost cocky.I guess some scenes must have been edited out,or the actor was really horrible.
7 years had passed,but they still wore the same clothes,same hairstyles,I mean puh-lease show us a real change!I just will never get it when after years had passed and they still wore the same clothes.It's not logical.Perhaps not enough tailor in China or maybe not enough budget by TVB.Either way,it still sucks.
Where are all the children after 7 years?After 7 years,mind you!Only Ping Ting had two but the rest?Why not show them?
Why the ending of a TVB series has to be like one big reunion scene for the finale?it's so predictable.I eman I don't get it that the TVB guys aren't getting it even now when we all got it a long long time ago!I was hoping they just stop when they did a few cheking up of the characters after 7 yeras but they had to spoil a good ending with a silly,predictable,boring and overall meaningless of an ending.Hated the ending.
The Best Scenes
Everytime Chow Mun Bun appears,with his wife or alone.
Everytime the King appears,without Lee Foong Jie,with his wife,Man Jing Ming or Wah Tai Si.
Everytime Chau Heong and Chau Yuet shares one scene together.
Everytime they have a competiton.Though silly but suspense your disbelief and they could be quite entertaining.
The whole few episodes about the Imperial Exams.
The one scene that I like with Chau Heong and Tong together,the scene where Chau Heong woke up being scarred on her face,ashamed and embarrassed she ran away and Tong came running after her,persuading her and telling her that looks does not matter,that he will marry her,and only then do they start their love affair.A very touching scene,almost romantic.
The scene where the Queen saw Lee i n the palace where the King was playing "the blind man" game with her,chasing her around blindfolded.Lee upon seeing the Queen went to her,without bowing and said,"So you're the Queen",in the friendliest of tone and the Queen slapped her.Classic.And she deserved it.So rude.
The feud between Chow family and Tong family was resolved in a very touching few episodes.Remember the scenario of his grandpa being accused of stealing?Well,it turns out that somebody did steal the money,but it was the little boy,not the nun who was pretending to be a nun but actually was his mother.The boy was starving and hew as hungry so he stole money and the mother wanting to protect the son accussed Chow's granpa of lying.The boy grew up,became old.He became a monk out of deep regret and went to see CHow personally and Tong also.That was how they became the best of friends.
The scenes of the suffering Tong in the Wah Hosuehold.Very very funny.
The detailed explanation of the Imperial Exams.Very educational,though I do wonder,true or false?But it's a great scene because for the first time in TVB,you get to see detailed explanation of the exams,though not quite accurate.
The scene where Chuk was engaged to Tong,and then later she divorced Tong and went out with Chow.Mr Tong,the dad saw them playing and frolicking like lovers would,and he smiled,and then he remembered "Hey,isn't that my future daughter in law?".Funny.And then when she went home,Chuk,and Man scolded Chow and Hiew Lin for being disrespectful,liars,adulteress and then she reminded them that she and Tong divorced,and then they remembered and they shut up.they forgot that she was divorced!Poor girl,almost non-existant to these people.
The scene where the King,forced PM Wah into early retirement.Then one day the King wanted to go out of the palace to play and then he thought he can't go out because of PM Wah who will nag him to death,then his eunuch reminded him that he forced Pm Wah to an early retirement so there's nobody to stop him to do so.It was an episode of amnesias.Funny,.
The Ultimate Classic Scene
Not because it was THAT great but it was the most classic scene because it was not expected,never in my mind.The scene where Lee Foong Jie died,and remained dead.I thought,wau!SOemthing different and moreover it was classic because I mean a whole lot of viewers out there could now stop being tortured.I mean how many one death in a tv series can bring such relief from our almost daily torture of Anne Heong's bad acting for those few tapes,though she appeared only for like a few tapes?How can one actress be given such honour that by her non appearance brings joy and greatest satisfaction to TV viewers and ultimately give us hope that by her not acting in any given one scene,she is actually making this series a fun series to watch?Hey!Very highly skilled actress can only do that you know.
Most Favourite Lines
Plenty.I shall translate them,with the best of my ability.Not that I have any.
The scene where MAn Jing Ming and Chow Mun Bun was arguing about how to tell Lee Foong jie about the bad news that everybody opposed to the King taking her as a concubine ;and Man was busy talking about the King and their affair ,loud enough for her to hear.
Lee : Whatever happens between the King and I is our business and nobody else'.
Man :Well,he IS the KING!(meaning being the King he has no private life and his actions are up for scrutiny by the Ministers like Man).
When Man saw Lee,he wanted her to leave the King alone to cause less uprising amongst the citizens so he said;
Man : " You're still young,why don't you leave now and find yourself a good husband"
When the Queen slapped Lee,Lee ran away and the Queen ran also and the King ran to the Queen,and said;
King :"My Queen,I will still love you the most.I swear that even iof she enters the palace,I 'll still accompany you most of the time".
Queen:"Don't your Majesty undertstand my sadness in your actions?You promised after the Ling Wong incident that you'll be a good King,love the people,work hard at states affair but now,now you're busy with iddling your time witb a woman from a background that we all know nothing about.You do not have to say anything..I will never allow for her to enter this palace.You can keep her at the Panther room(a luxury room-sauna built by the King for pleasure and now a temporary residence of Lee) or a Dog's room.I do not care.But not the Imperial palace".
At this juncture you might wonder why don't the King override her comments?Well,first of all they went through life and death in the Ling Wong incident,she is a good wife,a great queen,and because concubine are directly under the management,supervision and control of the Queen.So he listens to her out of sheer respect.
Then later the Queen said ;
Queen:"Your Majesty you can do whatever you want".
Queen:"But you shall not bring her in.I will lose the respect of the other concubines and I will kill myself if you do so."
The Lee Foog Jie was falsely accused of adultery but she could not be be found,and Bobby surrendered.The King wanted to behead him,but Man and Queen came in time.
Man :"Even if your Majesty were to punish Chow,according to the Ming laws,he could only be punished to a maximum of 30 years inprisonment,not death.
King:"Concubine Foong is my family,so the ordinary laws does not apply"
Queen:"Who says you can punish him to death for adultery?Who says she is part of the family?I am responsible for the appointment of concubines and I do remember Your Majesty I did not approve of her,not as yet and so she is part of the Imperial family.
Man:"If such is the case Your Majesty,the ordinary rules and practices apply and your Majesty cannot puish Chuk to death"
Queen :"Even more so ,if there is an adulterer,there must be an adulteress.Find the Adulteress first."
One of the best scene of power play by the jealous queen,but she actually meant well.
The King received a threat by the scorned Tartar Prince who wanted to challenge the four geniuses,but they were in prison awaiting death.The King became annoyed and asked why the Tartar prince would be so foolish to declare war for a woman,to which the general replied;
General :"Well,your Majesty would also kill all the family members over the death of a Concubine,wouldn't that be foolish also Your Majesty"
And when the King refused,wanted to declare war,the General and everbody else thretened the King,in a subtle way that the counrtry comes first or else,and so the King relented.Good scene.
The scene where earlier into the episodes where Chow hated all 3 guys and he did many things to hurt them,Tong who couldn;t understand why the hatred of 3 generations away should affect them,and Tong said;
"Can you see the mountain over at the end ?"
Chow:"What mountain?It's too far away."
Tong:"That's my point.Our family's feud has been like so long ago,why not let us let go of this hatred"
Chow suddenly slapped Tong and said,"Can you forget that one slap?",and he walked away.Good point Mr Chow.
The Most Despicable Characters
Not evil,not mean spirited,but nevertheless despicable in the sense that these people are up to no good at all.I have a few.
Chu Chii Kin for one.Ling Wong also.Lee Foong Jie too.But the one with the most votes for me would be the King himself.He was a horrible King.Irresponsible,at times lazy,many times unreasonable,he almost lost his kingdom once to Ling Wong and yet he went on to be a more responsible King but not so responsible ruler and husband.King means he does his job listening to the Ministers,not so good husband because he cheats on his wife and flirts around with a woman like Lee and not a good ruler because he was too stupid to even realise the gravity of his action when he lit that beacon on the tower for Lee.And the one reason why he won,and also the title of Most Stupidest Character,Most Unreasonable Character and Most Cowardly Character together with Most Useless Person Character would be that one scene where Lee when first met him knew that he was involved in the attempt to drug her.No dignity at all.Not knowing he was the King,she will only forgive him if he kneel before her.Now being Chinese,there is a saying,"Man who kneels will lose wealth",and there is no honour at all.Men kneel only in front of their parents and God,and King whilst King kneels only for Heaven and his Parents.Now how shameful this guy could be?That one scene shows it all.Stupid fella.Lost all my respect for him.
Another quite despicable character would be PM Wah himself.He used tricks to force Tong to stay at his house so as to be a teacher for his not so intellectually gifted in arts of a son,Wah Man mou,a good guy by the way,even when he knew Tong was like the smartest and on his way to being a great Minister. Dirty fella.
One I must mention would be Chuk's ex-GF Sau Kuk.why?Watch it for yourself.I hated her.
Most Changed Character(s)
Biggest Change also for these few people.Ling Wong for one.When he first appeared looked like a noble guy.But later,he's like an Electoral candidate,hopeful for a parliamentary seat and he kisses baby,hugs old people,made promises to the people to get elected.Was he being honest?We will never know,but Ling Wong was not evil,he may have the best intention but the wrong way.In the end greed got the better of him.The funny thing was we may thought that the King didn't behave like a KIng but he looked like one.Whilst Ling Wong looked so noble as a Duke but when he wore that King's yellow robe,he did not have that LOOK to carry that robes.Clearly,we all place a lot of importance in looks eh?Anyway,in the end,Ling Wong should die because you can be anything but wanting to wear a hat too bog for the size of your head would spell trouble,in big capital letters.
But he was justified. The King was useless...: This King isn't that bad actually,just irresponsible.I call him uselss because to me,being irresponsible is being useless.Anyway,there is a real life story.Remember Romance Of Three Kingdoms?When Liu Bei laid dying,he told Zhuge Liang in confidence that if his son,could never be a good King,he told Zhuge Liang to be the King himself and rule over the states.But though even Liu Bei's son begged Zhuge Liang to do so,knowing he would be a weak king,but Zhuge Liang said NO and remained a loyal servant until his death ,faithfully serving and teaching and giving advice and pointing the right direction to the young King to go to.Now do you gte my meaning?Though the King may be useless,if he is still a good man nonetheless,being a loyal minister,you must guide him to the right path.Moreover he's only 25,still wants to play,so the Ministers' job is to guide him to be a good and proper King.Ma Jing Ming never liked this King but he tried to dispense advice to him,to make him understand his own role as a ruler over China.Ling Wong didn't.He wasn't loyal then,though he may have meant well,but it's hard to see when the prize we are talking about is the throne.
Chu Ping Ting.Before she met Man,she was spoilt.But when she met and fell for him nd subsequently married him,she was wiling to be as giving as she could be.A good change.
Chow Mun Bun.He was filled with hatred,and pain but when he was willing to let go,he became a very very good person.Though we could have been fooled by that one scene of treachery for Ling Wong,we all know better.MArco NGai can never be that evil in a character meant to be good.
The King.Sure he was irresponsible but this essentially was not a very bad King.He could be reasoned with and he does listen to advise.Though he may be crazy when he ordered for everybody's death when his beloved Lee died,but when he came to his senses,he nevertheless apologised personally.Quite a gentleman,a good KIng in the making.But the trouble with him is that he must be reminded that he is a King and not any other person.And so poor ministers having to make sure he works as a king,like PM Wah and later,Man.
Chuk Chii San.When he thought he slept with Lee,even knowing that Tong pretended to be a sex crazed maniac because Tong wanted the King to believe it was Tong who could have slept with Lee(Chau Heong died and he wanted to die,but better to die for your friend).Man tried to persuade Chuk but Chuk ran away.Only when his wife left him for being a coward,did he went home to take responsiblity for his supposed action.I call that a change.
Most Irritating Characters
First of all,Lee Foong Jie,because of Anne Heong the actress.
Secondly,Bobby's Chuk Chii San.He could have been Most Despicable but yet,he's not so.He's just plain irritating for wanting money,and disregarding honour along the way.But he redeemed himself as mentioned above.
Most Pitiful Characters
Chow Mun Bun,because he had to endure life as an outcast,then as a cripple,then as a prisoner.I was glad that he met a good woman and had a good life.
Chau Yuet.What a sad life she had.I was glad they gave her a good ending,though corny but still good.I almost hated Tong for making her fall for him and yet he never loved her.
The Most Favourite Characters
It's hard to choose.I shall explain my choices.
Female - Too many women in here.I could have gone for a lot of women in here,famous ones,not so famous ones.But I personally feel that my most fave female character in here would be the Empress herself.Played by HOng Wah,the Queen was understanding,dutiful,loyal,giving,beautiful,understanding,approachable,reasonable,and much more,she undertsands duty and never uses her power to manipulate the King.In fact she was the one,together with Man and Wah who insists that the King do his work.A very good wife,and the KIng was lucky because he was surrounded by Good Ministers and a brilliant wife.Though very few scenes of her,her presence in this series made the other women less remarkable,but still,all women in this series,the main ones are very good.But the queen gets my vote because she places duty above relationships,unlike the others,love fisrt,everybthing else secondary.But I have no great complaints about the other women though.
Male - Very easy for me.In the first few episodes,I liked none of the guys.Tong was too wimpish and too tortured for me,Chuk too much like a dog,Man too straightforward,like a log.I liked CHow despite his evil turn at first,and I liked him even more when he became good.But the one character that grew on me would be Man Jing Ming.I always thought such an honest guy won't make a great minister because he can't bend like Chow,or be tricky like Tong or even wily like Chuk.But not quite true because he was the only one who dares talk back to the King,Lee or even the Queen.He was never afraid to uphold justice,and he didn't even cry when his wife,and his new born son was about to be beheaded,just a tinge of regret.But you'll see him teary eyed when it comes to state matters,and his friends.I love this guy and I guess it's good to have such an honest minister,at least you know he is truthful and he won't lie nor hurt you,and he places duty above everything esle,though surprisingly he made Chu pregnant before marriage.That's besides the point.I like Man.
The Most Favourite Couple
Could be Tong and Chau Heong right?Not for me.In terms of chemistry,compatability and screen presence in the sense of them being together,I personally liked Chow Mun Bun and Chuk Hiew Lin.One very smart and another not very bright,but they made a good couple,because the guy's a good man and the woman a good woman.They provide some of the most romantic moments in this series.Forget about the temple scene between Chau Heong and Tong.Too boring and too bland.I like the scene where Chow and Chuk would tease each other endlessly,where he called her ugly but he said it with such affection you knew he was just joking.,And she too called him ugly but with the same affection.Sure they started as the most boring of couples but you can understand why the guy loves her.When he was down and out,though reluctantly she did what she did,she encouraged him.And she would cook for him,and sometimes she would just blurt out things like ;"You're so smart","You can get first place",I mean if I were a guy I want this woman full with words of encouragement for me.Notice the smaller scenes and do not be fooled by that temple scene or everything else.These tiny moments ,that's what make this series a nice one.
Most "I really Do Not Care ABout Them" Boring Couple
One would be Lee Foong Jie and the King.I do not get nor see their love affair.When he wasn't King,she tortured him.When he became a King,she fell for him.What does that say about this woman?And they may froclick around,make love(Unseen by the way) and when she died she may have remembered how they met and then the King hugging her dead body and crying in the rain ala Happy EVer After,still I smiled.It was so good that she died.I feel nothing for this couple.Absolutely nothing.It's not like Legend Of Lady yang,at least we see something there but here,totally zero.
Another would be Chau Yuet and Tong.Then Chau Heong with Tong.Why boring?Simple.They have no chemistry together.The problem with real life couples is that they might be able to hug easier,say loving words to each other easier but to me,it's just words,not even poetry to my ears.They are so boring together.The storyline for one but also they lack that compatability.they do look alike but I just do not find their love story compelling,in fact I find it draggy and boring,especially when...you know what,scroll down.
The Most Disappointing Stuff
That would be the character of Tong Bak Foo.I mean such a real life genius and gifted man and yet this series trivialise his achievements.In the end,to me he is like a love sick puppy.Since they already screwed up the whole storyline,why not give him something more imprtant to do,like what Man is doing?I like Man because he had scenes to show to us how brave and how noble he could be.Sure Tong had such a scene but in the end,it was for a selfish reason.From the beginning this character was wrong.Either he is looking for love,or he has found love but wife ran away so he looked for his wife,and then he really fell for a woman and lost that woman,he is looking for ways to find her,and then couldn't find her so he looks for ways to kill himself.You see,everything about this man is searching and searching.It was like a never ending story,especially when Chau Heong supposedly died and he drank himself silly.Good,sure poor guy but every scene seeing him screaming the woman's name,drinking,reciting poems,drinking,it became such a routine for this guy,drink,recite,drink some more.Why not give him something to do?In the whole series he was supposed to be the most brilliant but to me he is like a wasted talent.He'd rather live happily ever after with his wife but he had so much talent.Whilst Man who has some but he spent his days teaching the King.You see the difference?Such a wasted good opportunity for a great showcase of a gerat person but yet,this whole series is almost demeaning to the real Tong,or the legend surrounding him.In fact the suppoosed love affair was horrible,because we all know the real CHau Heong in opera version is very intelligent.That was why Tong fell for her.But in this version,she's is just a good homely girl,not THAT smart.No battle of wits ot anything like that.Disappointing.
Most Compatible Couple
In terms of looks,minus acting talents and chemistry,solely on looks,could ahve been Esther and Nick but Choi Chii Kin and Anne Heong look very good together,because for one thing,Choi is a very tall guy.Look good together.BUT I am not saying Anne is pretty.In here she looks tired,and her make up too little so nothing impressive about her looks in here.
Most Favourite Person
Not as a character,not as an actor,not as an artist,but as a person outside of TV serials,etc.I like Choi Chii Kin.He is not a brilliant actor,you could say he and ANne Heong could be of the same par on the worst actors' list,and he could be compared with Charmaine and will marginally win over her.But he is a very charismatic host,and he is like the King of TVB Travelogues.He was one of the Three(Margaret Chung,etc) that went up to Mount EVerest,cried when he came home and retired when he came home and became a full time actor.I love his carefree style,and he is a very good host.As an actor he could be quite good in some scenes like as a grieving husband,like in UT when Lee San San died.He looked like a grieving husband.he looked so compatible with Lee San San,because he is quite tall.I like the way he speaks and he has an intelligent face,so he can't play anything other than Kings,professional people.I hope to see more of him as host,but i wouldn 't mind as an actor.
Except those mentioned below,there were some great performances.I must note a few.
Lam Ka Tung.Very very good,I find his Man funny and sometimes frustrating.I mean if you be Man's wife,you would either starve to death first because of his principles or beheaded because of his principles.A good performance.
Bobby (though I hated his character) played a different character in here,not the usual type.He is not a hero here,in fact he is the anti-hero.You'll hate him but you can't deny he is good.
Nick Cheung is very good especially more so when he is so wrong for the role and yet he managed to carry out his role effectively.But at times he looked so painful, it was painful for me to look at his pained looks.
Nadia was also wrong for her role but she was effective though she may have wanted us to think she is cute I didn't.
Ko Hung as Ling Wong,if that is his name.Veteran actor last seen in lethal Weapon iV.Good performance.
Most Excellent Performances
Better than the best,would be veteran actor Loh Hoi pang.Excellent stuff fron this man,I am glad he is back with TVb.I mean what's so good about ATV?
The two names below are in this category purely for the reasons that to me they're the most scariest actors.An actor must have a moldable face.Marco Ngai can play almost all types of roles,except heroic ones,but in every role he took,he could just change the way he stares at the person,without changing his tone and voila!He could be that convincing.
Another wou ld be HongWah,the Queen.She is not THAt great but she is one of those rare ones that without changing the tone of her voice,or her smile or her looks,but solely on the characterisation of her characters and the way she looks at you,she could play evil or in here,she could play a good woman.An actress to look out for.Scary people.
One I must mention would be Esther Kwan. A Great pity she left TVB.I am sure she'll get more money but i doubt on the popularity part.She'll be back in two years,that I am sure.In this series,individually the characters of Chau heong and Chau Yuet are nothing great.One talks like she hates every living thing and another too cheerful and talks like she's in an opera.But when they were put together,you could see great acting at work.She really looked different in those scenes.Thinner,uglier for Chau yuet and prettier and much more flesh for Chau Heong.In fact one scene whereshe walked in I immediately knew it was Chau Yuet and not Chau Heong because of the looks,the hair and especially the way Esther carried her character.She understood it so well that was why she could give us two distinct people. Nadia failed terribly in Happy Ever After and she should watch Esther to know why.Great great performance by Esther.
I won't name names in here because I am sure you already know.Ok,ok Anne Heong.WHY?!You know all those things I've said about Charamine?At least Charamaine is pretty.Anne looked tired,and old.Haggard should be the word.Her body...you know what?Just read that fight I had with Seagull in the review of Moonlight and that applies to Anne.So really,I am not just picking on Charmaine.I am sure this series was before Legend of LAdy Yang,because she was just barely ok in there.Here she was irritating BIG TIME.Ok,ok to save you the trouble,the following are her dead points as an actress:
1- She talks too fast
2- When she talks she shakes her head too much,too annoying
3- Her body langauge is terrible.Can't even point at a person the right way.
4- her hands,she should either learn to act with them as a whole or she should just chop them off.
5- She should never play a role against type,more so when she does not have a talent like Esther to convince us otherwise.
6- she should either get someone to dubb her voice or go for a voice coach,because her voice is almost too fake.She can't act with her voice.
7- she should be more consistent.She was at least more consistent than Charmaine in Moonlight but not enough
8- she should improve on the way she delivers her lines,try many approaches,because she kills the script with little research and unconvincing delivery of her lines
9- did she research her role?I doubt it.
10- And last but not least,ask the director what he wants,insist that he tells her and perhaps rehearse more.She made Choi Chii Kin look good,and I am sure she could have make Charamine look good,if their voices were dubbed.
The storyline about Tong as stated above.
The dresses and soundtrack.Don't think that you're in Twillight Zone when you thought they were familiar.The clothes that the King wore same as what Kong Wah wore in Legend Of LAdy Yang and some even from Witness To a Prosecution.
Too many references and cliches on other series from TVB.Almost corny.
The background music.I thought this series was big budget but i do wonder where all the budget went?To borrow a song from a movie is one thing,to recycle from own series is a big mistake.Songs from Disney's Mulan and Happy every After,all from Happy Ever After,dramatic score,happy score,etc.BORING!What happens to the JTTW way?New songs for new series?Puh-leaseeee TVB,give us a new score.This series look like an overcrowded cheap series because of these recycled things.
The hairstyle of Chau Heong in that Tartar dress up party.Horrible.You've gotta see it too believe it.
The makeup,too modern.
Though I must applaud the accuracy of the King's royal robe and the Ministers' robe,but can't TVB find a bigger studio for palace scenes?The only time I remembered seeing a palace that was grand and big was in Happy ever After.
Focus on the storyline.Having 4 pairs are difficult to focus,then throw in some state affairs and you have basically a series with no fixed aim.It was entertaining,and has its golden moments but in the end it ain't a classic,and you'll forget about it in a few months and wuldn't want to watch it again,.Give us a concrete storyline,tell us what you want.Be either a comedy or a drama,why include silly stuff like modern cliches like Pom-Pom girls,over the top calligraphy scenes, concerts,etc and disgusting stuff like shit(literally),when it could have been more refined?This series is like a poor man's version of a good and potentially great premise of a series.I just wish they shift their focus.I dread the day TVb does Romance of the Three Kingdoms.Some things cannot be poked fun on,and real historical figures are one of those,.Sure it;'s fun to laugh but in the end,all our children and ourselves know from this series is nothing,and then you have people asking did they exist?That's the greatest failure of this series,they fail to tell us who these people are.Sure we know what they did,what they'll do in this series but a series based purely on description of acts after acts will surely become boring after a while.Characterisation is more important.Luckilly the actors salvage this series by doing what they could with the convulated script.
Nick Cheuing is a good actor but he is not in my mind suave,debonair,good looking and smart.In fact Choi Chii Kuin should have been Tong bak Foo because he has the look of an intellectual gentleman.With Nick,you still get great acting but nothing in depth about Tong Bak Foo.Someone taller,more handsome will do.Actually,someone who looks like an intellectual,and young too.I personally thought that Benny Chan would be perfect for this look,because he looks adorable,his acting is tolerable,he has that scholarly persona about him and most important of all,he looks really good in costume drama.
Esther is great like I said but she is not pretty and intelligent looking enough for Chau Heong.But no complains here.Another actress.less older would be great but Esther was good.
Change Anne Heong.Don't they have any other actresses?Maybe it's time TVb should hold a talent quest rather than Miss HK Pageant.
Some scene s when you need a specific character to appear they never appear.Like when Ling Wong was overthrowing the king,at the truly crucial moment,where is Chu Ping Ting?They should include scenes of conflict between Man and Chu,to make it more dramatic for her to choose at last.And when Chow was pretending to be on Ling Wong's side,where is his wife Hiew Lin?Again they could have included some element of conflict and drama in here.And more importantly,when I find Anne's character's to be of some purpose in this series,they changedthe direction.I love a series about two women fighting for the affection of a man,especially between a king,queen and a concubine.Almost i could see a potential great stroyline of power play in this series but writers decide to cut this short and kill off Lee.A good thing but it could have been more fun if she lived longer,became an official concubine and inadvertantly caused serious hardship to the queen.None of that in here.A great pity.
Some said;"The Queen will turn evil".If this is a Taiwanese production,maybe.But this is TVB's version,NEVER.I thought perhaps lee will be a concubine and the queen will accept her.No such thing.But ther eis a twist in here from the expected to the unexpected.
Nadia is too old for the role of Chu Ping Ting,.It should have been Annie Man but she does not look like a princess.If in Taiwan I can name a dozen actresses to play her,but in Hk,I can't think of one.Sad isn;'t it?
Interesting Facts cum Fiction
As usual,watching a tv series ,especially a costume series from TVB,where the characters seemed like real historical figures,the burning question in all mind would be "Did they ever existed on this Earth?".Well,I received an E-Mail many moons ago and the question was "Were there these four guys?".According to folklores,poems and opera shows,yes and no.I did some digging and found some answers that I know are the truth but I can't really say for sure,so you decide for yourself until I can say for certain.In fact,this series has many parrarrels with the real history of China,though in many other Dynasties,but nevertheless some were real,which I shall point out below.I cannot say that I am 100% sure that these were the four guys/king/scenarios,but the names were close enough.
Tong Bak Foo : Did he exist?In fact,yes,and he was one of the most celebrated scholar/poet/painter/calligrapher in Chinese history,with an opera show dedicated to his infamous love story with Chau Heong.I was told he did lived in the Ming Dynasty,and he was of a rich familial backgournd,truly gifted,flamboyant and very desirable,except that he has yet to meet his match,until he saw a servant girl,beautiful and vivacious.She was different because she was the only one that did not throw herself at him,and she was also very intelligent,as intelligent as he could be.She was the servant girl in the Wah family,and she was also pursued by two men,both sons of Wah family,called Wah Man and Wah Mou.In the series,these two characters were merged into one young man,called Wah Man Mou,a harmless guy that treated the Chau Heong played by Esther as a big sister.In the opera story,she did not even liked these two guys and she was madly pursued by Tong.Remember the temple scene where Nik teased Esther,and later into the tapes,they sung a song and wrote a book called "The Fate Of Three Smiles"?That was the exact song sung in the opera version.Later she fell for him when she realised he wasn't just being flamboyant,he was sincere.
Anyway,I found this name.I am not sure if it was him,since you do know that Chinese has this habit of having so many names.So I shall put it here for general info.
b. 1470, Su-chou, Kiangsu province, China
Chinese scholar, painter, and poet of the Ming period whose life story has become a part of popular lore.
T'ang Yin was a pupil of the great Shen Chou, a friend of Wen Cheng-ming, and was aided by the latter's father, Wen Lin. T'ang Yin came from a mercantile background and excelled in his studies. He was accused, perhaps unfairly, of cheating in the provincial examinations that would have guaranteed him the security of a government sinecure and comfort for the cultivation of scholarly pursuits. Denied further official progress, he pursued a life of pleasure and earned a living by selling his paintings. That mode of living brought him into disrepute with a later generation of artist-critics (for example, Tung Ch'i-ch'ang) who felt that financial independence was vital to enable an artist to follow his own style and inspiration. While T'ang Yin is associated with paintings of feminine beauty, his paintings (especially landscapes) otherwise exhibit much the same variety and expression of his peers, which suggest a man of both artistic skill and profound insight.
Lee Foong (Jie) : This character you will see in the form of Anne Heong and her love affair with the King.According to reliable source,this also was a famous opera show,and I am not quite sure if it was real.In the series,Anne depicted her as someone stupid,though beautiful,and the King was attracted to her "Dare To Love and Hate" behaviour.In the opera version,she was the daughter of an innkeeper/restaurant owner and the King,in one of his disguises met her and fell for her beauty and charm.But she refused him,thinking he was some sort of a wierdo,only wanting to tease her.So he teased her a lot.Remember the scene where the KIng had a very opera-ish conversation with Anne Heong's Lee Foong Jie?Well,that was also the opera version(meaning exact words),only this time it was spoken rather than sung.I am sure though the real Lee was never a political ploy and was never murdered.And I was told that she lived in the Tang Dynasty.This I am not so sure.
Man Jing Ming : I did some digging,and I couldn;'t find this name until I was searching for another name and I saw this Mandarin version and I am sure it's the guy.Same dynasty,same characteristics.The Gordon Lam's version of this guy is a very noble and straight character who believes in honour,justice and the Confucious teaching.Same guy here,so I shall paste and copy this info I got from Britannica.By the way,I am very sure there was never a Chu Ping Ting.
b. 1470, Heng-yang, Hunan province, China
Pinyin WEN ZHENGMING, original name WEN PI, Chinese painter, calligrapher, and scholarly figure who was a student of Shen Chou, the two being considered the leading figures of the Wu school of scholar-artists in China.
Born to an established family, Wen Cheng-ming was brought up in a strongly Confucian home, and he met many of the learned people of his time. He was by nature sensitive and withdrawn, and it was not until the age of 53 in 1523 that he emerged from his scholarly isolation, receiving the recognition of the court with his appointment to the Hanlin Academy. He stayed there for only three years and then retired to produce his best-known works.
Wen Cheng-ming was expert at the four major styles of calligraphy: seal, official, regular, and "running." He was also known as a collector and connoisseur, especially of calligraphy. In painting he admired the great literati (wen-jen) of the Yüan dynasty (1206-1368) as well as earlier artists from the Sung (960-1279) and Five Dynasties (907-960) periods. He followed no single style, but throughout his paintings there is a spirit of studied antiquarianism and cautious consideration; in technique, the paintings range from the highly detailed to the more freely washed. His students included his son, Wen Chia (1501-83), and his nephew, Wen Po-jen (1502-75).
The Emperor : I did not quite catch this Foolish King's name in this series,if I am not mistaken it should be Jing Tak.Now,in mandarin it could be Cheng Te,and it certainly fits the charcater in this series,only that in this series this King was even more foolish,stupid but never unreasonable,willing to learn from his mistakes.Again I shall cut and paste this info,I am not saying this is our Guy but from the name ,he should be the guy.If he is not,then E-Mail me and I will go hunting for the guy again.
Pinyin ZHENGDE (reign name, or nien-hao), personal name (hsing-ming) Chu Hou-chao, posthumous name (shih) I-ti, temple name (miao-hao) Ming Wu-tsung (b. 1491, China--d. 1521, China), 10th emperor of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), during whose reign eunuchs achieved such power within the government that subsequent rulers proved unable to dislodge them.
The Cheng-te emperor ascended the throne in 1505. Devoting himself entirely to pleasure-seeking, he relied on his eunuchs for information on the government. Corruption became rampant, public offices were bought and sold, and excessive taxes were levied on the people. Because the eunuchs who dominated the government were for the most part northerners, the southern provinces were without representation, and their situation was particularly bad. Rebellions were frequent there, and large numbers of people turned to banditry. Finally, in 1510, the Cheng-te emperor became aware of the corruption and ordered the execution of the chief eunuch, Liu Chin, whose house was found to be piled with rare jewels, gold, and silver.
But eunuchs still retained influential positions within the government, for the emperor refused to devote himself to statecraft. Instead, he delighted in traveling incognito throughout the country--on one occasion he was nearly captured in a Mongol raid--and spending his time learning exotic languages. He mastered Tibetan, Mongol, and Juchen and gave himself titles in these languages. Hundreds of officials who criticized his eccentric behaviour were tortured, killed, or demoted.
The young emperor drowned when his pleasure boat capsized. He was succeeded on the throne by his cousin, the Chia-ching emperor (reigned 1521-66/67).
The Rest of the characters : I tried so many type of spellings but I can't seem to find Chow Man Bun and Chuk Chii San.Maybe I am not finding the right name and spelling,It should be in Mandarin.WHilst I try to find these guys,I have to say that these guys for now are pure creative fiction,created by TVB writers or perhaps they lived in another Dynasty but brought to the Ming Dynasty by these writers.I am still finding.I am curious too.
The lighting of the beacon on the tower : There is this one scene,which I have already included it in one of the factors above,and I shall repeat it in case I did not.One of the most stupidest action ever by a King.You see,Lee Foong Jie was not convinced of the King's love for her,so he did something he should have done only in extreme emergency.He lit the beacon,meaning he lit the tower and 500,000 army came to his rescue thinking there was a foreign invasion and many people were hurt,thinking they wre in danger.Because of this The Queen,the Ministers all refused to allow Lee Foong Jie to be a concubine.Not tat it was her fauklt.Anyway,did this really happened?I did some digging,as I am very sure in Chinese history,there is bound to be one stupid fella who did this,and I was right,albeit in a different dynasty and under different circumstances.
It was in the Zhou Dynasty,like around 1000bc.I am not accurate with the timing but it was that dynasty.The stupid King was King You(Ji Gong Nie) .He was not a good King.He had a concibine by the name of Bao Si,who was very beautiful but she never smiled.So to make her smile,he lit the beacon at the tower,like our Guy in this series,and she laughed.And he did it again and again and again,and each time the army arrived to be fooled again and again and again.So when a boy cried wolf too often,when the real wolf did appear,what do you think would happen?THe KIng's son,whose mother the Queen was murdered so that his concubine would be happy,fled the country and raised and army to attack his own useless father of a King.And that juncture the King lit the beacon but not even a single army came.AT last,his throne fell,his kIng om gone,his concubine murdered dan he was killed.Of course our Guy in this series had more sense in him,he did not realise the gravity of his action,moreover he did it only ONCE.But once was enough to make a country into a chaotic one.ANd as history shows us,women can be quite troublesome,but hey,only a stupid idiot of a guy like that King could kill his own rice bowl.
I got some,so why not we just share share?I am NOT trying to show off you know,or being preachy but I would just love to share and spread my knowledge around and just to show you that "Hey,this happened and I know it and I AM SMARTER THAN YOU !".Ok,ok,that was the devil me speaking,but I do like to engage all of you in an intellectual discourse and toshow thsoe people that say you can't klearn anything from watching TV.Although this ain't so much of a discussion since I am doing the talking,100% of the time.What?What?!I can't hear you mam,anyway just sit down and listen!What?WHAT!?Ha?!HA?!HA?!!!Questions?I am wrong?Really?!SO?!You're reading this review right,SO I DO THE TALKING IN HERE!YESSSSSSS!I AM A DICTATOR!
Ming Dynasty in general : We have always heard about Ching Dynasty and the pigtails,great fashion and Princess Huan Zhu.We have heard enough and seen enough of the adaption of Ching Emperors,like Hong Hei(Kang Xi) and the very famous,Yong Zheng (Ying Zhen) and his son,Kuen Loong (Qian Lung).But they were all Manchurian!What about the real Chinese?The Hans?Well,before the Ching came,there was a Ming Dynasty.You will see this Dynasty in series such as this and Crimson Sabre.The Dynasty span quite a long time,from 1368 to 1644,AD by the way.The first King was of a very humble(read poor) background,Zhu Yuan Zhang,in Cantonese Chu Yuen Jong.You will see this character from the series Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre,if I am not mistaken,since that should be Yuan Dyansty,but I thought I saw this name in the Ma Jing Tao version,always portrayed as the Beggar Clan guy.Well,true and not true.The real one was from a poor peasant family,lead a life in cold and hunger.He became a monk after his family died in a drought and travelled a bit.Later he joined the army,fought his way up the ladder of ranks and gained the support of the people by his willingness to share army supplies with the hungry citizens.He formed an army,and subsequently chased the Mongols away and became a King himself until he was 70 when he died of an illness.By the way,Yuan was formed by Gengis Khan's grandson,Kublai Khan who united China.Anyway,this Chu Yuen Jong was reportedly a very ugly guy,with a distorted chin and overall bone structure.And why does every nobility in this series has a Chu for a surname?Because that was this Guy's surname and so all nobility had Chu for a surname.
Now if you were wondering,the fashion looks so much like in Lagend of Lady Yang?Probably because the same clothes were used for the actors,but do not be mistaken.The JTTW version was set in Tang Dynasty,HSDS should be in Yuan Dynasty,Crimson Sabre in Ming Dyansty,Duke of Mountdeer in Ching Dynasty,Justice Pao in Sung Dynasty,and plenty of others.Just to give you some perspective of where and when.
Anyway,In Crimson Sabre and Princess HUai Yu,set at the end of Ming Dyansty,the last King of Ming Dynasty hanged himself on a tree before the Ching came in.He covered his face with his own hair,ashamed to see his ancestor when he will be in Hell/Heaven for his failure to maintain the Kingdom.But there is a chinese saying,:
To Build an empire,it is indeed difficult,but to maintain an empire,is even more difficult.
So a Dynasty has to go and a new one has to come.Poor guy though.Anyway,in Crimson Sabre,Charmaine Sheh portrayed Princess Cheung Ping,reportedly the beautiful and intelligent deaughter of the King.Some said she killed herself,some said she was murderd but the popular legend would be that she became a nun,lost an arm and had some magnificent Kung Fu skills.I am sure you'll remember this character from Jordon Chan's version of Duke of Mountdeer,where this character was Ah Oh's sifu.
Bobby's Glasses : In this series,Bobby wore glasses because he was supposed to be shortsighted.I was told that these glasses did not exist until 1900,where you'll see Emperor Puyi wearing one.During Ming Dynasty,the glasses should be those singlee glass where the guy holds it up to his eye to look through it.SO I guess a bit of fiction here for Bobby's glasses.
Chinese painting : I saw the most wonderfully made documentary on Discovery Channel about Chinese art,and was amazed by the philosophy in it.In this series,you'll see the east meeting west in painting techniques,with Chow Mun Bun representing the west and the rest,the east.Now what's the big deal?A long long time ago it was a really big deal.
All along,chinese loved to paint scenaries,not people.And some painting had some really silent elements,some solitary moments of reflection.There was never distance in a painting,but you though that the mountain looked higher or farther away because the painters loved to add a cloud somewhere to give you that perspective.But in the end in a chinese painting,the importance of the saying "Seeing the whole picture" becomes like mantra to these painters.Human beigns are so small if you blink you could miss them.They are always walking,or fishing,somewhere in the painting,you just have to look for them.Now then came Westernn techinques,where they preffered focus in a painting,a person,and drawn so real that it could have been a photo,like Rembrant's paintings.That created a controversy in china.The west did not get the idea behind the chinese painting,and the chinese did not get the west's idea.To the west,what's the use of drawing such large scale with no specific focus?to the east,what's the use of drawing so real when you could just walk outside and see it for real?The west loved to use accurate coolours,red for roses,blue for skies,etc,but for chinese red can be used to draw bamboos,black for flowers,it's a di fference of the tone of the black colour,and techniques.They showed this wondeful painting by a monk,pear,apple and orange,but we all knew it was an orange and a pear and an apple because the colour seemed to represent that,though they were all painted in black ink.I would say chinese painting is a cut above the western,simply because you have to really look at the painting and feel tjhem.If the painterb is happy,you could feel happiness,if he is sad,you would feel sorrow,or emptiness.However the Chinese however they opposed the western art could not stop their invasion into the imperial palace,where a king forbade the east method,promoted the west method and burnt some great chinese paintings,until some other king came to his own senses to preserve their national identity and pride.
Imperial Exams : In this series,you get a detailed storyline about the Imperial exams.Maybe not that way,but true enough where exams were based on Confucious teaching and the exams took days.But the exam halls aren't like in the picture,not that open.Usually the scholars sit in some cubicle,with 3 walls and their front desk wide open,a table,and they had to sleep,eat and write there.And in that exams,only one will become "Jong Yuen',meaning first in the Imperial Exams.There are many types of Imperial exams,from the lower ones to the highest one,each will be given a post in the Ministry.The one who will be Jong Yuen will porbably be given a high ranking position and a princess as a bride.By the way,it ain't easy to pass that exams.
Chinese places much importance in scholars,rather than inventors.Those that can write well,draw well,will be given top hopurs rather than thsoe who can create something that can be used.And though paintings were regarded as a great way to be famous,the highest honour will be given to the one that can write really well,like in the art of calligraphy.You do know that chinese words ain't easy to write,so many strokes and even with years of practice some can't even write decently,like my own sister,more so me who has never learnt the way to write,though i do know some.
Chinese Words : In this series,you'll hear a very short lecture about the origin of chinese words thanks to Chau Heong by Esther Kwan,when she was teaching the Tartar prince how to write chinese.All true.The earliest form of chinese painting were like drawings,then as years go by,they improved on it and became what it is today,though nowaways people preferred the Simplified version,much to the annoyance of older generation.The word "Goat" in chinese looks like a word with two horns,true because the older words was a drawing of a goat with two horns.The word day,looks like a sun,month looks like a half moon and combined the word means "clear" or daylight so to speak.
And take a wild guess for this one ;
When a female character in chinese is put in the middle of two male characters in chinese,what word do you get?
When a knife on top of a heart,what do you get?
Patience my friend,patience.
What do they mean when they say "On top of lust there is a knife"?Well,because the word lust in chinse is made up of two characters,the knife on top.Again how true.Meaning danger.
And in chinese,the word honesty and the word poverty is so similiar one might have read it wrongly.There is a deliberate intention perhaps,because honest people are usually poor in wealth.I mean to be rich you have to be conniving,and full of ideas,noble or not that noble.
And like my surname,Lim.It is made up of two chinese characters of wood,and my surname with two wood combined will be forest.Ingenious eh?
I wish I could learn more about chinese characters,I regret now knowing much more.Why don't you take up chinese?I know,it's hard work,but believe me,when you know enough,you can see the hidden meaning,purpose and beauty in each word,and before you you'll see history unravelling,because each word(even the simplified version) woukld have gine through some historical importance.
Man Jing Ming's Favourite quote :In here,you'll always hear this courtesy of Man Jing Ming,
"Hung Yeuk Sing Yan...Man Yeuk Chui Yee"
What does it mean?According to realiable sources,Hung means Confucious,Man means Men Tze,according to a realiable source.
So the sentence ,literally means;
"Confucious dictates everybody strives to be a man,and Mentze dictates,everybody pursues loyalty".
But in this series,I am sure Mentze's infamous "Three words book",where all his teaching are 3 words in a paragraph,would be most suitable here.Because all men aren't bad,circumstance made them bad.Like Ling Wong,Chu Chii Kin and even the King.
"Yan Ji Chor,Sing Boon Sin",meaning "Men are born good/decent" or "The nature of newborn person is basically good/decent"
Interesting Reel Life cum Reel Life Again
Reel Life means those you see in films,and in this series plenty of references were made to other series like as if it was from real life,all courtesy of Bobby's older series,like Witness to A Prosecution,and Happy Ever After.
Witness To A Prosecution : This came in the almost last episode where Lee Foong Jie was murdered and references were made to this series,like medical examiners and when they couldn't think of a solution to her death,how it happened,etc Wah Man Mou explained that bruises may only surface a few days later after detah and they all asked "How did you know that?",and he replied,taking out a book called Sai Yuen Lok,which was the tittle of Bobby;'s other series with Marriane Chen and also Jessica Hester Hsuen and the title also refers to Bobby's Character called Sung Chi who wrote his teaching os medical examinations in the book called Si Yuen something,that something I forgot.
Happy Ever After : Bobby was explaining to Sek Lau a dish that was created because of an intense love affair between two chefs,called Foo Chai Fai Pin,the same foo dtitle for Bobby and Marinane Chan's husband and wife dish in Happy ever After.
The Lovers,movie version : When Nick couldn't feel love in his heart,his friends took out a painting called Chuk Ying Toi and Leung San Pak,the ultimate chinese love stor,don't think that you were wrong,they did indeed took out the man and tye woman in the painting bears a very srtong resemblance to Tsui Hark's movie version of this love story starring Nicky Wu and Charlie Yeung.
Is it worth Renting
The truth,I have something to add to my complaints list that didn't quite fit in there.
I hated the firtst few tapes of this series.It was TOO LOUD!I eman one person talking was loud enough.Nick Cheung has a tendency to scream, his line,especially when he is in his "Funny Man" mode.And then they always have scenes where everybody screams at once,it was just painful to hear.After thety got through that,the second problem would be that they emphasis too much on rel;ationships.very little on substance.And when they do emphasie on something that we all would find terribly interesting and complicated,theyd ecided itb was time to end the whole series.And then the first few tapes was too crude for my taste,talking about human excrement,(that is shit in plain English),it's just ain't my idea of a sophisticated series.AND then I realised,it was not meant to be sophisticated.They wanted some laughter,some cheap way to make you feel entertained,and the truth is,I was entertained,especially when they pick up the story about the useless King and his battle of wits with the Ministers,but alas too short lived.I guess in HK they prefer not to tax their audience too much with heavy issues,like Taiwan that loves to interweave the love stories with some great political drama,but always their love stories are often too ridiculous to care about,Like Princess Huai Yu for one.In this series,you definately will feel for some characters,then there will be some you do not care about,a whole big majority of it.The success of this series ia that the chemistry between thsoe 4 guys,and they greatest failure would be after a while,there are too much emphasis on the relationship of these four guys with the wives,and themselves,that it was boring.I was hoping to see how they,as intellectual battle wits with other intellectuals for the goodness of the country,but alkl I got in the end,was four guys acting to be geniuses but in actual fact,they're just plain gifted.No real challengess by really smart ppeople and most of the challenges are illogical.Of course I must compliment on the calligraphers who wrote those Chinese words in there,I mean years of training wouldn't even look that good!But I didn't really like this seris until towards the end,where everybody characters become a bit more focused,a bit more individualised,not in their mannerisms or ideals but in the way they behave towards certain issue.But I do think that the biggest failure would be Tong Bak Foo's cahracter.When he whined for his lost love,I feel sad that he lost the woman of his life,and drank himself silly.But to repeat that again and again is in the end,boring.Too much repetition here.The most biggest wekness of this series is that the writers does not really know what they want,so they put everuything into a big nice promo package ,filled with modern cliches,and unneccasarry storyline and then when they do know what they want,it's the end.And we the viewers had to suffer throgh 26 tapes,and never really "feel" for the series,though you may feel; fopr a character or two.
As you read this ending of my review,above,I am sure I have been repeating myself over the same few points about two times at least.That's how it is with this series.All in a repetition.So I shall repeat it again,I enjoyed the last few tapes,but I wiouldn't say that if you missed it you'll feel the greatest of regret.But wtach it just to see Esther in action in TVB for the last time,and for a few cheap laughs,the price for renting 26 tapes is a bit too expensive for me.So luckilly,I didn't have to pay for it.
Was it as repetitive as
The first series that came into my mind would be ATE.And the answer is NO.But I would dare say it's as simple and as action wise as ATE,action meaning too much emphasis is place don actions but little on the meaning behind each actions.Really a good story need not only be plots after plots,but it could be one meaningless storyline that tell us how each characters' feel,their pain and joy.Moonlight was almost that,but again it was spoilt by a really meaningless plot.So too little on plot will nto work.Too much on plot also is too much.Perhaps you should read the book,"A Catcher In The Rye" to know what I mean.It doesn't really have a plot,just a story of a guy that's trying to tell you what happened to him in a few days,and after reading the book,you feel the guy's feelings,and emotions without having tio read stories about lost loves,wealthy family or revenge stories.The same would go for a book called October Sky ,there is a plot,since it is the guy's life story but in the end,they place a lot of emphasis on the emotions of that person,his relationship,and in the end you'll cry when he fails and when he succeeds you feel as sense of proudness and accomplishment for him,as if you've done it.That was what made HZGG I so good,because it ahd all of the above elements.Plot wise,it ain't great but it's the way the characters are presented that was the greatest success of that series.
By the way,I recommened a book called Angela's Ashes.Very very touching.And Harry porter series.Great books.But avoid Hannibal,the sequal to Silence of the Lambs.I never liked the first book,and the second book wa splain stupid.Yes,I shall say stupid.From a feared(but respected in some way) of a serial killer in part one he became almost human in part two,like giving him justification for his actions. Almost made cruel murder make sense,when it's the most senseless act of all,to take a life involunatry and in such cruel ways.The worst is not dying,but knowiwng you're going to die.Either you be brave to face it or you die of fear.And the worst of all,would be to die knowing that even if you scream and kick and shout,nobody will be there to help you,nobody will hear you,and you watch yourself living through this nightmare for hours.It's cruel.
But back to this series,it's ok at the most for my taste.I wouldn't recommend you to go rent it or else....kinda statment.Watch it only when you get sick of other serious series,that may be too intellectual for you.This is as a friend of mine said,
"In the end,those four guys are just worried about love."
Hate that four letter word,love.Could create more pain and destruction than let's say,money.True!
I hated the theme song.Nice song but killed by the actors.I mean sure it's fine to ask them to sing but if they can't do it half as decent as Old Time Buddy,might as well forget about that!
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c. YOUR REVIEW/COMMENTS. Write it in anyway you like but please tone down your language if you feel a need to rant
d. in English please
e. give your verdict, or your rating (out of 5 or whatever number you prefer but indicate it clearly) or both f. optional, you may add in interesting facts, historical background, links to screencaps,anything you may wish to complete your review g. if you review is in parts, please indicate it clearly so I will add that into the top of the review but do remember to follow up and finish the review
2. to save trouble, you may want to use THIS SUBMISSION FORM instead
3. spell/grammar/fact check please because I will not do it for you. No request for amendment will be entertained unless it is for correction of wrong facts/links/synopsis
4. If you're not using the submission form, please ensure you have included your name, your email address (for contact purposes only) and attach the review in TXT format with any screencaps and posters (optional) to funnlim(AT)gmail(DOT)com
Your review will be posted within 3 days of submission unless I am not able to access the Internet for some reasons. You can check out Point2e.com for notification.
I thank you for your submission.
- If you're interested in writing for series or movies that are either reviewed or not yet reviewed, you're welcomed to do so. Whilst there is no strictly guidelines, generally you must adhere to the following prior to sending your review to me:-