VERY IMPORTANT NOTICE

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








Written by Funn Lim


This review was posted many years ago, exactly when I am not sure but it should be within months from the original broadcast of this series. I am posting it as I have posted it originally.


SPOILERS ... SPOILERS ... SPOILERS



Deciphering The Title
This series ranks the same with Zhen Zhu Cai Yi in terms of the horrible English Titles. One called Bloody Pearls and this one called Love Is Beautiful. Looking at the English title itself I would think that it is a love story but love only play a very small role in this series. Bad bad title.

But the Chinese title is very very good. In Cantonese, "Mou Tau Tung Kung". What does it mean? Just by looking at the Chinese title, half of this series' story is already revealed. "Headless Empress" or more accurately "Faceless Empress" as this series is about. "Mou Tau" means headless whilst Tung Kung is actually the title given to the Empress. There's a Sai Kung (the highest rank concubine after the Empress) and there's a Tung Kung, who is the Empress. Excellent title.

Length
A perfect 15 tapes/30 episodes. Not too short and definitely not too long.

Cast-Characters
I wish I know everybody's name in here because they all deserve a mention. So if you know some of the characters' real actor, do E-Mail me.

Marianne Chan Miu Ying - Chor Chor / Ling Wan Leong / Empress
Anne Heung Hoi Nam - Ling Wan Leong / Chor Chor / Gan Si Si
Evergreen Mak Cheong Ching- Foong Lok Yan / Ling Lok Yan
Eddie Cheung Siu Fai - Emperor of Sung Dynasty
Lau Kong - Uncle of the Emperor
Marco Ngai Chun Kit - Siew Tou
Har Ping - Empress Dowager
Emily Kwan Po Wai - Madam Yoong
Tou Dai Wai - 18 yr old Chiu Dan
Ngo Ka Nin - 18 yr old Chiu Hei
Lee Wai Kei - General Man San
Tang Ho Kwong - young official
Chan Weng Chun - Eunuch to the Emperor
-Siu Siu
-General Wong Gau
Hui Siu Hung-Uncle Ling
-Ling Hor Yee

Special Comments
When I first went to the video rental shop, I saw the poster for this series and I was immediately seduced by the beautiful poster. Never have I seen such a powerful and yet subtle poster which basically already tells you half the storyline, and plus the chinese title, you will know about 90% of the story already. To see the poster cut in some of the reviews site will cause great injustice to the person who designed it. The one in E-Buzz's Poster Vault is not the one that I was talking about so do go to your own rental store and just look at the poster, that has Marianne and Anne next to each other, with three different faces, the first ugly, the second quite pretty and the third you will know who is the evil one and who is the nice one. Perfect poster. Now I wonder how do I ask the video store woman about taking the poster back home to admire.

Important Notice
I watched this series without really knowing what was the storyline, and who plays what and why. So for me it was a very refreshing thing; to watch without knowing what will happen. Though at times predictable but the bigger picture was never predictable. I sincerely recommend you to skip this review, rent the series, watch it and then if you like read this review in whole. Because to read this review and then watch the series will certainly spoil your viewing pleasure.

Funn's Recommendation
Very rare do I conclude my review even before I start the whole long grandmother story. But I decided to break away from my tried and tested tradition and give you my recommendation.

It has been a long time since I watched a series with such eagerness as I continued watching. I saw the final 4 tapes all in one day, a rare thing for me.If there is one series that I would rank as the best of year 2001, and though year 2001 is still not over yet, I believe this series will still be the best even after Dec 2001. A classic in its own style of storytelling, with excellent performances by everybody (Anne Heung included), even from unknown and little children, with gorgeous costumes, fantasy type of storyline and a great love story thrown in, what you have here is a series that if there are more people in it, could have been an epic. I consider this a classic, though it has its faults, but those are minor faults. You want my honest recommendation, and in no way am I affiliated with TVB nor am I a relative of Uncle Six, take my word. Rent this one and you won't regret it. All you'll ever regret is listening to the horrible themesong. But you will survive the torture.

Summary
Two girls born extremely ugly grew up to be ugly women with two very different personalities. Both are destined to become privileged women, serving the Emperor. One will cause great tragedies with her selfish decisions and another will cause great admiration with her abilities to live through all circumstances, just to be reunited with her loved ones and to live her life as a good and compassionate person.

The Storyline
During the Sung Dynasty, a little girl who had scars on her face fell into the river and was saved by a little girl with a big red birthmark on the left side of her face. They became best of friends and grew up to be Chor Chor, the one iwth the red birthmark and Ling Wan Leong, the one with scars on her face. They lived in a village called "Mei Yan Chuen" which means Beautiful Girls' Village. People laughed at them for their scars and ugliness but Ling Wan always thought it didn't matter, as long as you treat people nice, people will treat you nice. She was the lucky one who was born into a family of a very loving father. Chor Chor on the other hand has uneducated heartless people as her family and as she grew up in such an environment, it wouldn't surprise anybody that she was actually a conniving lying evil heartless bitch. Ling Wan didn't believe Chor Chor was a bad person and trusted her with her own life and happiness. Until one day they both meet a young good looking man who had assassins trying to kill him day and night. A fortune teller who stopped him revealed that he will be saved by a very ugly woman. When he bumped into Chor Chor amidst the chaos, he thought he found the one but Chor Chor demanded for $2000 before she will save him. In the end amidst the chaos he lost Chor Chor and bumped into Ling Wan who saved him and they escaped together. but that young man who calls himself Mr Chiu was hurt and needed medicine. In those few days in the cave, Ling Wan went through all hardships to find him the cure and even took him back to her tiny house and hid him in the attic. During that time they bonded. Later her father who knew her real secret posted her portrait everywhere looking for her a husband and those who came laughed at Uncle Ling's over-exceggerated portrait of her daughter, who in the portrait had no scars but was actually a very beautiful woman. They endured the insults until Mr Chiu came and announced that he will marry her. After being certain that he will indeed marry her, Uncle Ling took Ling Wan into the room and Ling Wan came out looking like the beautiful woman in the portrait. We knew before that scene that Ling Wan was ugly at first, but during one time when her father was very sick she prayed to the Heavens and when her father was alright again, she woke up one day without the marks and the scars on her face. But she pretended to be ugly so that she could take care of her father without worrying about marriage proposals and because she didn't want to hurt Chor Chor's feelings. But Chor Chor didn't feel that way. She was extremely jealous and refused to talk to her. When Mr Chiu disappeared on the day of the wedding, Ling Wan swore that she will never remarry, and then the news came that Mr Chiu was actually the Emperor himself and his men will bring Ling Wan back to palace as a concubine. The Ling family rejoiced, and the village held big celebrations. But Chor Chor who at that time was a fugitive after killing a loan shark begged Ling Wan to lend her some money. Innocent Ling Wan went to the old shack the day before she was to go to the palace to meet Chor Chor only to be drunk and soon slept a deep sleep. During that time, the Emperor's men were looking for her. Chor Chor who pretended to be drunk became conscious again and asked a man that she met some time ago, a man named Siew Tou who knew how to change faces to act now or never. Without any regrets, her one single act changed the fate of the entire nation. When Ling Wan woke up, she went to the town and saw herself on the chair dressing in the best gowns and going to the palace. She screamed and cried that she was actually Ling Wan but everybody called her Chor Chor. When she saw her face in the well, she was shocked. She became Chor Chor! Uncle Ling didn't believe her and contacted the police and Ling Wan was jailed and was about to be beheaded when a kind hearted newly appointed Magistrate, who was righteous and kind went to see her and believed her story. It was simply because he couldn't understand how someone who can come up with such an out of this world story who at the same time looked and behaved so innocently by carving the words "INJUSTICE" on the stones day and night could be lying. Sacrificing his own future of wealth and power, he secretly released Ling Wan and told her to go find the Emperor and save him before he was seduced by an evil imposter. Tearfully she left and along the way she met Fung Lok Yan, a small time trickster who lied to her that he could take her to the palace if she pay him some money.So naively she worked day and night to get the money, and after a long while Lok Yan who had a conscience believed her and eventually became her true best friend. He took her to the main city to see the Emperor but it wasn't that easy.Desperately she hid in a jar with a lot of wine in it that was supposed to be heated in a big flame of fire before it was to be drunk in conjunction with some festival in the temple where the Emperor and the imposter were. Lok Yan rushed to the temple to stop her and broke a jar in front of the Emperor and discovered it was empty. She wasn't in that jar but was in another one. Ling Wan hid in a room and in came Chor Chor, but instead of screaming, in came the Emperor and Chor Chor begged the Emperor to pardon her. Silently she promised Ling Wan that she will reveal the truth to the Emperor and the Emperor will meet her later that night and Ling Wan again believed her. But the Emperor never came, but instead Chor Chor stabbed Ling Wan. Uncle Ling who by that time realised that Ling Wan was Ling Wan became so angry and went into the palace with the intention to tell the Emperor of the deception but the cunning Chor Chor gave him something to drink and he became mute. When Uncle Ling slapped and attacked Chor Chor, she lied that her father was actually suffering from mental illness and so she now could validly tie him to the bed. But during one time when the Emperor heard of a rumour that there was a woman out there crying that she was actually Concubine Ling went to see Chor Chor only to see her beating the tied Uncle Ling and screamed at him cruelly. Shocked, the Emperor began to believe that Chor Chor was not the Ling Wan he knew, who was kind hearted and was filial. He went out of the palace in search of the truth and at the meantine, Ling Wan was being pursued by assassins sent by Chor Chor. Luckily Lok Yan was there but she was again seriously hurt, when the Emperor appeared. He knew the previous Chor Chor, and he suspected that the story that her face was changed from her own to Chor Chor's was true and he quickly cried Wan Leongggg! and brought her to the palace. But he still couldn't believe her story, until Lok Yan and gang created a lie that will trap the conniving Chor Chor.

When Chor Chor heard the rumour that Uncle Ling was executed because he was actually a spy for the enemy of Sung, the Sit-Dans, she panicked. She was captured and she was about to be beheaded when she revealed the truth that she was actually Chor Chor. When the truth finally came out and she realised that it was all a lie, she was taken to the prison to be punished later. The Emperor quickly made Ling Wan the concubine and Ling Wan quickly won over the hearts to the former servant of Chor Chor, named Siu Siu and even the Empress Dowager with her kindness. But what the Emperor really wanted was to change back the faces and caught Siew Tou. Siew Tou said he could do it so Chor Chor (who has fainted by now), Siew Tou and Ling Wan went into a room and Siew Tou tried his change face techniques again. When the door was opened, the Emperor rushed in and saw a smiling Ling Wan lookalike and quickly went and hugged her. Siew Tou quickly excused himself and ran away. The Ling Wan lookalike smiled sweetly and the Emperor revealed his true feelings, that he hated Chor Chor's face and that he almost vomited having to look at her. But what he didn't know was that the smiling one was actually Chor Chor and Ling Wan was covered with a blanket on the other side. Siew Tou could not change back their faces and begged Ling Wan to let him go. Siew Tou once bought her 4 bowls of noodles and feeling that she owed him, Ling Wan let him go and asked Chor Chor to dress like her. But the Emperor wasn't stupid, when Chor Chor who always had this bad habit of digging her ear unconsciously and he realised she wasn't Ling Wan. He quickly went to the other side and saw a tearful Ling Wan and the Emperor out of anger that she lied to him pushed her hard onto the chair. Ling Wan tearfully ran out. Uncle Ling and Lok Yan decided that she should just leave him and Ling Wan agreed. At that important moment when she was walking out of the palace, Chor Chor was trying to seduce the confused Emperor, saying that he actually love Chor Chor not Ling Wan and that Chor Chor was the one who was the beautiful one now. But Siu Siu, the faithful maid of Ling Wan pushed away the mirror that the Emperor was looking at whilst Chor Chor was about to seduce him with her beauty, and he suddenly woke up. He quickly ran after Ling Wan and begged her to stay. But she decided it was best that she leaves, but the Emperor, who only kneel before his mother and the Heavens kneel before her and promised that he will love her for the rest of his life. Ling Wan who was touched by his sincerity agreed and he proclaimed that she will be his Empress.

Though later Chor Chor was supposedly executed, she came back as Gan Si Si, courtesy of the uncle of the Emperor and Siew Tou who escaped capture when he failed at changing back the faces. At this time Ling Wan was with the army men at war against the Liu people, and the Emperor who was lonely, saw Si Si. He actually missed Ling Wan's face, and even mourned Chor Chor's death so that useless pig married her and she became the Sai concubine (Sai Kung). When Ling Wan returned, she wasn't angry and openly accepted Si Si, without knowing nor suspecting that she was actually Chor Chor. But who would know that both who became pregnant at the same time and who would give birth in the same night will have such different lives for the next 18 years? Ling Wan who endured all hardships to be reunited with the Emperor was accused of adultery with the Liu People's General and she was beheaded, though the Emperor at the last minute revoked his order, but it was too late. Ling Wan was beheaded, her own son Chiu Hei was switched at birth and Chor Chor became his mother instead whilst Chor Chor's own son, Chiu Dan who was born with ugly dark skin (unlike Chiu Hei who was a fair baby) was abandoned and believed to be the love child of Ling Wan and the Liu People's General. During one time before Ling Wan was captured, she escape with Chiu Dan and she placed him on the foot of a tree when she ran away to get him some food when she was captured and she heard dogs howling and she thought he must have been eaten by the dogs. When the Emperor heard that she would abandon the kid to save herself (an allegation made by the guards and Chor Chor but the Empress Dowager didn't believe the allegation), he ordered for her death. The generals who rushed to the palace to beg for pardon and leniency for Ling Wan succeeded and the Emperor revoked the order but it was too late. Ling Wan was beheaded. And her life was never to be the same again as her later existence, which was a deal made with heavens that she will have 18 years of life just to raise the unwanted Chiu Dan into a man and she must never meet her family again. But her path would cross not just with Chor Chor again, but with the Emperor, her own son Chiu Hei and her eventual 18 years time limit. With a few more months left with the time limit, she will have to save the Emperor from the conniving Chor Chor and her now lover Siew Tou, to appease the hatred between the two brothers, Chiu Hei and Chiu Dan and to save her own son, Chiu Hei from descending into the path of self destruction.

Can she do it all in time before her time is up?

General Comments
The storyline of this series can actually be a thesis on the human nature which poses some serious questions about human nature and social upbringing. It is a series that touched more on human actions than the original love story and it is all about the art and the path of being a good person. Every aspect of the series can be a lesson about life and the choices that makes us who we are. Would you kill for money, lie for power, gain material things by betraying your own best friend, kill your own son, betray your own conscience and forgo your own integrity? This series answers all these questions in two ways; yes and no.

Friendship Vs Love
It was a very simple decision, but Chor Chor simply didn't get it. To her, if she can't have something Ling Wan must never have that thing she wanted. She wanted beauty, but Ling Wan had it. So Chor Chor forced Ling Wan to swear that she will never reveal her true face to anybody. Ling Wan had a loving father, and Chor Chor didn't have it. Ling Wan fell and was loved by the Emperor, and Chor Chor certainly didn't have that, and when she found out Ling Wan was made a concubine, she was extremely jealous. She always thought Ling Wan had everything whilst she had nothing. What she didn't realise was for more than 2 decades, Ling Wan suffered to get what she will have at the end of the day, whilst Chor Chor did do a lot of things but all were plans that were destined to fail. A black hearted person, a corrupted mind and an evil person can never get what they want. Because there were the Heavens and Gods. Chor Chor didn't get that but Ling Wan did. She lived her life by the motto; if you treat someone nice, that person will treat you nice. Live your life guilt free. Money won't solve all problems. But Chor Chor wanted money, power, beauty and a comfortable life. Well, you just can't have a perfect life. And Chor Chor never got the message, until at last her conscience got to her.

Lust Vs Love
It was obvious that the Emperor loved Ling Wan, that was why he made her an Empress, not because he was feeling guilty but because he constantly remembered the days in the cave and in her house. Those were his happiest moment, spent with a supposedly ugly Ling Wan full with marks and scars on her face. But when Ling Wan had Chor Chor's face, everything changed. He couldn't sleep with her without blowing the candles. He couldn't look at her and feel passionate about her. But everytime he thought that perhaps he couldn't lok at her more, Ling Wan would do something that picked on his conscience and inner true love for her. She followed him to war. She advised him on how to be a good Emperor, to eat like the soldiers, to fight bravely for his men and his country. And when he had to go back to the palace, she stayed back on the insistence of the Generals, to provide moral support. Don't ever forget she was just a woman, so to be there for the men meant a buig thing to these soldiers. He didn't know how much she suffered there, was hurt many times and was almost killed once. She didn't let him know. She stood by the men and at last, even persuaded the enemy to stop fighting the 4 year war and to sign a peace treaty.

Whilst all this were happening, our Emperor was busy looking for a girl that looked like Chor Chor (who had Ling Wan's face). Chor Chor was supposedly executed by the Empress Dowager's men but she was rescued by the evil uncle of the Emperor. He trained her under Siew Tou and reinvented her as Gan Si Si, an educated, giving, musically gifted and soft spoken gentlewoman, daughter of a rich merchant who was actually Siew Tou in disguise. They made up a fantasy story where she supposedly saw him in her dreams since she was 12 years old. He quickly married her and she became Sai Kung, though the Empress Dowager refused to see her. To him she was perfect, because she was like the Ling Wan he knew and wanted.

When the real Ling Wan came home, he certainly was grateful for what she did. But Chor Chor whispered lies into his ears, claiming she ordered her to drink an abortion potion (Chor Chor herself drank the potion with the intention of destroying the reputation of Ling Wan; she didn't lose the baby though and in fact became the Emperor's favourite concubine), claiming that it was strange how Ling Wan could persuade the enemy to sign a peace treaty, that perhaps she and the General were having a sordid affair. The Emperor lost his own logic in the scheme of things and began to treat Ling Wan badly. When they both gave birth, seeing that her own baby was so dark skinned and ugly, she switched her baby with Ling Wan's. Ling Wan tried to explain, and the Emperor by now who was happy to blame her for everything threatened to kill the dark skinned baby. She quickly admitted the baby was hers, and tearfully she lost all her power and authority and more importantly she lost the man whom she had travelled for miles to reunite with him because of her love and devotion for him. He even chopped off her head, believing the lies that she was heartless.

All this because she had a face that wasn't perfect. What the Emperor wanted was her old face and her personality. Someone like Gan Si Si. But he couldn't see who was fake and who was real. In the end, Ling Wan became a victim of his own indecisiveness, of his own lust and of his own blindness of his heart.

Who would you choose? A woman who will stand by you no matter what or a woman who would stand by you only when she feels like it? A woman who tells you what you want to hear, and thus giving you crappy statements or a woman who will dare to speak up her own mind, and pushes you to do your duty as an Emperor?

The Emperor didn't get it and he was the reason why everything became a total mess. Simply because he was a good man with little willpower. And he had bad taste.

Compassion vs Own Needs
You can't have both. If you want to be rich, you can't be compassionate and be kind to others without walking over some dead bodies first.

Chor Chor chose wealth and did away with her compassionate heart, not that she had any. Ling Wan chose compassion, to live an honest life.

When the Emperor wanted to kill her own baby, Chor Chor said nothing and it was Ling Wan who took the blame and the task of taking care of a son that was not hers but of the woman who had created this whole mess for her. She didn't have the heart to let him die. When her head was chopped, she was supposed to be dead. But on that day, the Heaven's created such a huge ruckus, earthquake, lightning, strong wind, the Emperor realised he had killed someone who wasn't supposed to be killed. Though he ordered to stop the execution after listening to the Generals' plea, hearing those stories where she was hurt at war, he was a minute too late. But Ling Wand didn't die. Her head floated everywhere, she went back to the palace to face Chor Chor and instead of being frightened, Chor Chor kicked her head out of the palace and she found Little Dan where she left him when she was caught by the guards. She bonded with the child, and a dog who she could understand what he was barking about helped her find her body and she became a whole person again, before Siew Tou had a chance to completely burn her body. When the Heavens spoke to her, and gave her a chance to start all over again, to reincarnate, she decided to say no because she didn't have the heart to leave Little Dan alone. So the Heavens gave her 18 years and thereafter she was to die. For 18 years she took care of Little Dan without complaints, a little boy who wasn't her own child but her enemy's. She knew she had perhaps little to gain in terms of wealth by doing what she did, but she also knew that she would gained great satisfaction out of life, to be able to see him grow up.

Genes Vs Upbringing
We get to see the boys when they were 6 and it was astonishing in a way as this series confirmed the thinking that genes can't be changed. Or maybe not.

Little Hei, Ling Wan's son who now was cared for by Chor Chor had a happy childhood. Smart, respectful, kind hearted, and giving, he was like Ling Wan in nature. Everybody adored him. But Chor Chor tried her best to corrupt his innocent mind by feeding him with lies, that whatever goodness he did people will only think of him as an idiot. She bribed the eunuchs and maids that he had helped to tell a lie, where they lied to him with sad stories just to get his money and that he was an idiot. He cried hard and demanded that they be punished. But he didn't have the heart to continue to beat them but mama taught him to be ruthless, because he was the crown prince and thus he could have everything he wanted and nobody will say anything. And in just a few short moment, whatever good genes he had disappeared and Chor Chor succeeded in corrupting a good kid's mind.He grew up to be a useless man, raping women, causing havocs to everybody, rude and selfish. Exactly the way Chor Chor wanted.

Little Dan was exactly like his mother, Chor Chor. Only 6 and he talked about being rich, didn't care how he will be rich, that he could be ruthless and he didn't want to study though he was smart. Ling Wan tried to teach him but he always screamed back at her, saying she was the cause of his misery, that she was too honest and thus they lived in poverty. Heartsick Ling Wan tied him to the tree and punished him. But he escaped and ran to the man who taught him how to steal money. He happily stayed on without realising Ling Wan was out there running and looking for him like a mad woman, crying and begging. When he was caught in his first attempt to steal money, he was taken before the judge. Ling Wan found out about it and rushed there. He was rude and blamed her for everything, and when the judge ordered for him to be beaten about 40 times, Ling Wan was the one who begged to be beaten. She said it was her fault, for failing to teach him well. And Little Dan even agreed to her statement saying she was a bad mother! So the judge though he hated doing so agreed to let Ling Wan receive the punishment intended for Little Dan and Little Dan immediately smiled happily and stepped aside. He was happy that he wasn't the one being punished and he didn't care. But when Ling Wan was beaten and crying in pain, in that one split second he saw what he had done. At that moment, he regretted his actions because he saw that the woman whom he called mother did what she did because she loved him and when she fainted he quickly rushed to her, crying. When she woke up, she gave him some money and told him to leave, because she couldn't teach him anymore. He tearfully left, only to come back with a bowl of medicine. They cried and cried and they hugged, Ling Wan crying that she didn't mean what she said and Little Dan promised to be a good boy. Little Dan grew up to be a scholar seeking to sit for the Imperial Exams, a kind man with the integrity of steel and respectful towards his mother and people.

This clearly illustrates, genes may play a part in who we will become, but upbringing and one's own decision will be the most important factor of who we will be at the end of the day. And it also shows the difference between a good mother and a bad mother.

Hatred vs Brotherly love
When they grew up, Dan and Hei will cross path. In many many occasions, Hei humiliated Dan just because he was a crown prince. When Dan knew that he was the son of the Emperor, he told his mother he wanted to go back to the palace, his way of revenge because his mother was the Empress and thus Dan was supposedly of higher position than Hei. Ling Wan followed him back to the palace hoping to solve their hatred and to lead Hei towards the path of goodness because she believed he was innately good. But things went so out of hand, that in the end, Dan became the Crown Prince and Hei was to be beheaded for his attempt to kill his own brother. Chor Chor took the opportunity to reveal the half truth to Dan, that she was his mother (true), that she was forced to change babies (true) and that Ling Wan treated her badly (not true). Dan didn't believe her, until his own supposed mother held him hostage in her bid to rescue Hei from prison and in the process, Dan screamed at Ling Wan that their relationship as mother and child was over. In that moment, it looked like Chor Chor had won.

Ling Wan ran away with the arrogant Hei but Hei didn't care for her. He didn't know why she treated him so well, and at one time he deliberately set fire to houses and ate food without paying. He was captured and was beaten by an unseen figure, and Ling Wan came running to him, even drinking a supposed poison wine hoping he will be set free. But she woke up to see a tearful Hei, and General Man San who had planned the whole thing to reunite the both of them. Dan promised to be good and from thereon he changed and became a good person.

Then came the biggest plot, the highlight of the series where together with Siew Tou, Chor Chor wanted to take over the throne, Siew Tou killed the Empress Dowager and she poisoned the Emperor into becoming a paralyzed man. Dan realised something was wrong when his mom appointed a strange looking man called Siew Tou to be Prime Minister and forcing him to report to that man. He secretly went to see the Emperor and using his eyes and some cardboards with chinese words on it, slowly Dan found out that his mom did so many bad things. On the day when he was to be crowned Emperor, Man San, Hei, Uncle Ling, Lok Yan and Ling Wan walked into the palace hall and revealed the truth about the plot. At that moment, Emperor was brought into the palace hall and Dan told his own mother that his father will reveal the truth. Siew Tou asked for tomorrow. When tomorrow came, Siew Tou secretly created a diversion in Emperor's mind, by using some evil magic somewhere else in the palace and Emperor couldn't concentrate looking at the boards. But by Heaven's will, what Siew Tou did actually cleared the Emperor's poison and he was able to talk again after a dramatic vomiting of blood scene. Chor Chor has finally lost. And the brothers reunited, all hatred gone because it was Dan who secretly told Ling Wan and gang about the plot.

Can someone bad be good again?
Dan became good when he was 6. Hei became good when he was 18. But can Chor Chor and Siew Tou be good again?

Siew Tou when he was about to be beheaded claimed that by having 3 drops of the Emperor's blood (3 drops of which were given to him decades ago when he was seriously hurt by Man San in his attempt to arrest him and to make Siew Tou able to change the faces of Ling Wan and Chor Chor again, the Emperor gave him 3 drops of his precious blood), and by killing him, it will be like killing the Emperor. When the executioner didn't care, the sky became dark and thunder struck. You can't kill a man with the Son Of Heaven's blood in his veins. But then a voice appeared and said "Well then, certainly I can", and it was the Emperor and the sky cleared up. Siew Tou challenged him, saying by killing him he will be killing himself. Saying that the Emperor was the one who caused the whole mess, that he wanted beauty over love, that he was the one who chose Chor Chor over Ling Wan, etc etc etc. The Emperor looked at him and admitted he was right, and he knew that perhaps he will die if he killed Siew Tou but he didn't care anymore. If he had to die with Siew Tou he will have to accept his fate. And the Emperor chopped off Siew Tou's head and a tear flowed down his wrinkled face.

My question is why did the Emperor cry? I believe by killing Siew Tou he was actually killing his own self. Siew Tou had his blood, and Siew Tou participated in all the mess that the Emperor helped create. In the Emperor's eyes, Siew Tou was him and thus by killing Siew Tou perhaps it was his own way of announcing that he was killing his former selfish self, that he was ready to bear the responsibilities for everything and that his own self deserved to die.

Anyway, Siew Tou never realised his own faults.


Chor Chor was to be beheaded when all of a sudden Dan came and rescued her. He told her that he was willing to sacrifice being an Emperor, to take care of her till she die. She screamed;

"You idiot! You can be a King but you don't want. Why are you so stupid?!"

She said that not because she cared about his future but because she couldn't undertstand the meaning of sacrifices and compassion.

"Who taught you all this?!"

And the answer was Ling Wan. When asked why he did what he did, he simply answered "Because you're my mother".

They left and stopped by a temple where Dan went in to get some food whilst Chor Chor walked along the side of the ravine. She was actually thinking "did I do wrong", and was actually thinking that life at the Mei Yan village wasn't so bad as she thought it was. Conscience was eating her and then she heard Ling Wan's voice, turned around and Ling Wan was there. Chor Chor was happy when she heard Ling Wan forgave her. But that wasn't Ling Wan. That was her own former self, her real face as Chor Chor and in her last moment before she fell into the deep ravine, she saw her own former self laughing at her, didn't even save her. In the end, Chor Chor didn't have a chance to be good again though I predict she would have been an insane woman. Dan went back to the palace and was to be crowned Emperor whilst Hei was to assist him. And they were happy.

The Ending
Ling Was was happy at how things turned out to be and her time was up. She slowly walked out of the palace and that light and voice that gave her a choice 18 years ago appeared above her, and she told the light that she was ready to go now. Her whole family came rushing to her, but they were blocked by this invincible shield. The voice told Ling Wan;

"You have proved yourself to be worthy of Heaven's compassion. We are touched by your dedication and your kindheartedness. And so we decided to let you continue living and to enjoy the good life that you've helped created."

At the same time, the Heavens erased Ling Wan's birthmark on her face and when the Emperor saw her, she was now a truly beautiful woman physically, and that was just icing on the cake for someone who was truly beautiful in her heart and in her soul.

THE END.

Biggest Complaint
I hated hated hated hated the last 1 second of the ending. It could have been great if they just ended it when she turned to face them all and her birthmark was gone. BUT NOOOOOOOOOOO. TVB people, thunder please strike them had the nerve and the audacity to add in one last line that killed the magic of that scene. YES people, they did it again and there was no oopps! They had everybody looking at the camera and preached "Being kind hearted will gain you good returns". Why can't they look elsewhere? Why MUST they look towards the camera??!!!! What? Now they doing community service ah? If they didn't decide to be so preachy and by being so direct about their whole series' message, the ending would have just been perfect.

Some Questions Asked And Answered
I didn't reveal some points above.

Who is the lead actress in here ah?
Definitely Marianne. The whole story is about her.

How they change faces ah??
Ohhhh, pure fantasy. Remember Face Off? Exactly that way, only you don't have surgeons putting the face on the other face but one face flew over to the other face. Quite a good scene, where Siew Tou sucked their face out and changed them. I don't know about you but I didn't laugh at that scene. Pretty imaginative scene in fact.

But shouldn't they have like same bone structure meh?
I thought so too but apparently Siew Tou said that they had the same bone structures. Yeah right.

Didn't the Emperor realised the change meh?
Useless man. Give him an Anne Heong and out goes a Marianne Chan. If this series proved one thing, it will be that men are pigs when it comes to their choice of a beautiful woman versus dutiful wife. Lust versus love. Which one you would choose? Don't answer me please. I don't want to kick your face like I fly kicked that Emperor everytime he appeared on the screen.

How come Ling Wan always so bloody nice?
Ask the writers. To show how evil someone is you must show how good another is. I guess this is like Compare and Contrast show.

Why Chor Chor's son look like Justice Pao ah? So dark?
I thought perhaps she had an affair with an Indian or something but nope. Truly the Emperor's son. I guess a black hearted person can never give birth to a beautiful child. By the way I don't think Chor Chor had coffee everyday so that kinda ruled out the possibility of coffee causing dark skin. The child is a reflection of Chor Chor's true self.

How come Chor Chor didn't like die a dramatic death?
Quite a dramatic death but I would have preferred that she didn't die and became a nun or something, realising what a mean bitch she was. But I guess the way she died was sweet justice, dying thinking her ownself didn't save her. Quite pitiful actually.

Eh! You didn't mention how Ling Wan met the Emperor again!
Actually I didn't say a lot of things. The above, though practically revealed everything didn't really say like 60% of the more important part of the series. To me the important stuff were revealed; how they met, how she suffered, etc. But you might want to read how she met this and that again,blah blah blah. Important stuff too but you know what? I am not going to tell you everything. To know how Chor Chor successfully switched babies, why the Liu people was willing to discuss peace with Ling Wan, how Ling Wan's head got back with her body, how the Emperor found her again, what happened to Lok Yan all those years, how that evil Uncle was eventually killed, how Chor Chor schemed and schemed some more, how Chor Chor and Ling Wan was at the beginning, YOU WILL HAVE TO RENT THIS SERIES. Believe me; my review only revealed at most 60% of the series' contents. Many more heart wrenching drama happened.

So you are not telling me lar issit? TVB paying you or what?!
I wish. I truly wish. But nope. I am just not going to tell you.I may be detailed, but I am not crazily detailed. Some things are better left for you to discover for yourself.

Best Scenes
One of my most favourite part of the series was where Ling Wan went all the way to make the Emperor to sign the peace treaty and her life in the war. Her relationship with the Liu people's general, which was quite poignant and very interesting, and her relationship with the Generals, like Wong Gau and Man San.

Definitely that scene where Ling Wan's head was flying to get water and feeding baby Dan the water. That cute baby just looked at Ling Wan with his big big eyes and I thought that perhaps Marianne and the baby were actually bonding!

Scenes where the Emperor will have a walk and look at Ling Wan's belonging, suddenly talking about her which made Chor Chor even angrier, because she may have Ling Wan's face, but the Emperor actually loved Ling Wan, despite the face.

The scene where Siew Tou wanted to change face with the Emperor but failed miserably because you can't be King without the mandate of Heaven and he ain't the Heaven's top choice so some things were not meant to be. And Ling Wan came rushing in and tried to save the king who was unconscious and Siew Tou asked her "Why are you trying to save this useless King? After all he had done to you.." and she simply answered "I don't care! He is my husband and I'll save him".

The last episode. Very satisfying at how the Emperor knew about their plot to take over the Kingdom, right up until the last one second.

Every scene with the 18 year old Dan and Hei, especially scenes where Ling Wan was torn between her love for her adopted son and her guilt for not being there for her real son.

The scene where Ling Wan met her Hei again and discovered he was such a bad boy and so she dragged him into the forest and beat the crap out of him.

The scene where Hei was so confused with Chor Chor's brainwashing and Ling Wan's advice on how to be a good person that he went FISHING. Quite a funny scene, which just shows that Hei was just a confused boy who was brainwashed by his evil mother.

And yes yes YES, every scene with Chor Chor played by Anne Heung. I'll explain myself.

The scene where the Emperor punished both Hei and Chor Chor for Hei's crimes at the beginning and Lok Yan volunteered to beat Chor Chor and he used all his energy to cane her.

The scene where when Hei was punished (the same scene as above), Lok Yan looked at Dan who quietly looked at Dan being punished, without any expression. It was scary because for a moment Dan behaved like Chor Chor. Luckilly he still was a nice guy, just angry at Hei.

Most Favourite Scenes
The 1 hour or so scenes that had 6 year old Chiu Dan breaking Ling Wan's heart and 6 year old Chiu Hei being taught how to be selfish.

And the scenes with 18 year old Dan and Hei, especially the scenes where Ling Wan kept bugging Hei by telling him about how to be a good person and at one point you could almost feel that he was actually listening! Perfect scenes.

The last tape where the plot to overthrow the King thickened, and whilst the King who was poisoned and became paralyzed and mute was trying to reveal the truth of the evil plans of Chor Chor by slowly pointing to the words to describe his feelings in the main hall full of people, Siew Tou was somewhere else creating confusion in his mind. For a moment this weak King was losing his battle and wasn't concentrating but for once he became a man and vomited blood and thereafter was able to speak again.

Ultimate Classic Scenes
More than one scene to illustrate one point; this woman ain't scared of anything except death.

Chor Chor by Anne Heung. The scene where after she got what she wanted, she quickly move away from the Emperor who was actually hugging her. The scene where the Emperor was drunk and was about to vomit on her and she simply pushed him away saying "Ehhhh! I was so scared this useless King will vomit on me". The scene where she schemed and corrupted poor Hei's mind. The scene where she kicked Ling Wan's head out of the palace (my favourite scene actually, I was surprised they didn't show her faint or something). The scene where Ling Wan was beheaded, and the sky became dark and thunder was striking somewhere near Chor Chor who was holding baby Hei. She quickly held baby Hei above her head to shield her from the lightning striking her and was so scared that she threw the baby out of the camera range. Classic!

Blood Vomitting Inducing Scenes
Everytime that useless pig of a King went running to Chor Chor leaving Ling Wan alone. Felt like kicking him everytime!

Tears Inducing Scenes
When Dan became a good boy, when Hei became a good boy, when the Emperor became a good husband, when at first Ling Wan tried to explain to Uncle Ling that she was not Chor Chor but was Ling Wan, and especially that scene where that pig ran to Chor Chor thinking that Siew Tou successfully switched their faces back again but he didn't and Ling Wan cried realising that the man she loved was a useless pig.

And this one scene deserve some mention. The scene where Hei was imprisoned for trying to kill his brother and Ling Wan went to see him and tried to ask him who taught him to do what he did. Hei was torn between his own inner goodness and his loyalty to his mother, Chor Chor that he cried and cried out of confusion, having realised that Chor Chor his own mother has betrayed him when she shielded Dan's body with her own and was stabbed instead of the intended Dan. Ling Wan then looked at the crying and desperate Hei and all she could do was to cry, helplessly. A very sad scene.

Most Sentimental Scene
Almost made me cry. For once Tang Ho Kwong played a nice righteous guy. When as the official who believed Ling Wan's changing of faces story, he was torn as to what he should do. Because he can't appeal as she was to be beheaded tomorrow. The wife simply walked towards him, asked him to have his dinner first and on the table were salted eggs/fish with salted veges. The wife said "I thought we were much happier when you were a scholar and we were poor. I do not mind living such a life again". And the official knew what he must do and so he helped her escape.A very noble man.

Most Useless Character
He was not mean, he was not evil, he was actually a good man who even agreed to marry a supposedly ugly Ling Wan at the beginning and still misses the really ugly Ling Wan. He actually loved Ling Wan but he was actually hoping she looked like the way she was. But this Emperor was useless. Using sickness as an excuse to not do his duty as a King, using Ling Wan's ugliness as his excuse to not love her as a husband should, believing in lies, for some little pride almost went into war with the Liu people again when he forced the Liu General to kneel before him.Useless man! When Dan scolded him, it was so right. Everybody said he was useless and Emperor tried to explain that he was sick. But Dan just looked at him and said "Sickness is not excuse. That Emperor (he didn't know he was the King then) was supposed to do his duty. And even if he was sick, at the very least let his affairs be handled by good officials!".

Most Hated Character
3 people.

The Emperor.

Siew Tou that ungrateful man. Why must he always help Chor Chor when it was Ling Wan who saved his life a few times?! Oh yeah I forgot. Chor Chor became his lover. Stupid. Sex can indeed stupify a person, more so a person who thinks that he could be King. Funny man!

Definitely Chor Chor. Even Marianne was Chor Chor hated her. And then Anne Heong as Chor Chor also hated this Chor Chor.

Most Hated Factor
That Heaven who only seemed to know how to strike some thunder, do some lightning, blow some wind and nothing else. When Ling Wan asked "Why is this happening to me? What have I done wrong?" and on the classic response that you will find everywhere, especially with your priest, etc, "Everything has its hidden meaning. That you will have to find out for yourself." An answer with no answer.

Most Favourite Characters
Lok Yan, a good man who was actually in love with Ling Wan for who she really was and not just looks. And he was man enough to kick the King and was even more man enough to volunteer to beat the crap out of Chor Chor, a few times also!!

The 18 year old Chiu Dan. So he was a bit confused but he was a good kid. Love that kid, though he looked like an Indian. Anyway an honourable character that totally deserved to be a King. Funny thing was he was Chor Chor's son.

Most Pitiful Character
It had to be Chiu Hei. All his life he received education from a woman who was bent on corrupting his innocent mind, and so he became really really really bad by all the constant brainwashing. But he was also one confused kid. When Ling Wan taught him to be good, at one point he didn't know who he should listen to. One said this and another said that. I pity this character. Though Dan grew up in a poor environment, but he was one lucky boy because he was surrounded by love and a caring mother. All Hei had was a cold conniving mother and a father who was always sick.

Most Satisfying Factor
Ling Wan becoming truly beautiful inside out at last. Love that scene but again, HATED THAT FINAL ONE SECOND!

Saddest Scene
Everytime we have Ling Wan crying like nobody's business.

Most " Why You So Stupid Ahhhhhh" Scene
Everytime we have Ling Wan crying like nobody's business AND always ending the scene with "Let it be". Let it be for so long meant Chor Chor could make things worse for her! Must she be so darn forgiving? Could you be so bloody giving and forgiving? I would have slapped that Chor Chor a million times, especially when I knew she switched my baby with hers! I was actually frustrated with Ling Wan for being so meek.

Some Complaints
I was hoping to see more of Wong Gau at the end, but he was nowhere to be seen but we can still see the honourable Man San.

The "I Don't Get It " factors
One scene I didn't get. When they were at war. at the camping site one day everybody disappeared and Ling Wan realised that the Emperor was in dangerous situation. And she realised the only General that was supposed to be taking care of the camp was nowhere to be seen. And she suspected that the General was the spy for the evil uncle and so they ran. We knew he was indeed the spy. But what was funny was nothing was done to that man thereafter and 18 years later HE WAS STILL THERE! I was like so confused!

A man risked his own career to help you escape from prison because he believed in your innocence. You ran off to become an Empress and that man probably was sacked, severely punished and his career dead. What did you do as an Empress do to later repay this man? Ling Wan DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO REPAY THE YOUNG OFFICIAL WHO SAVED HER LIFE!!!! I mean that was so against the character of Ling Wan who preached that we should be grateful, etc etc etc.

The way Emperor believed the story about the affair between Ling Wan and that Liu People's general. One letter written in the Liu People's language, ending with "How is our son?". And that was his evidence to order for her death. Which was funny. Because Ling Wan didn't know how to read so even if that general wrote Shakespearean love poems she wouldn't be able to read them and she certainly couldn't read that language. My theory is that the Emperor was willing to believe anything because he was a pig and he was blinded by Chor Chor's web of deception. In plain English, he was plain stupid.

I really do not know what he was thinking. When Chor Chor decided to do away with Hei and acknowledge Dan as her son (he was her son anyway), she brainwashed Dan to kill Hei on the day where Dan was to be made Crown Prince. He did it but Chor Chor shielded Dan with her own body and so she was hurt and Hei was caught. We must remember that everybody thought Hei was Chor Chor son, so when Chor Chor asked the King to kill Hei to save Dan, wouldn't anybody in their right mind realise that something was not quite right? Especially when Ling Wan, who supposedly wasn't his mother kidnapped Dan at knife point to rescue Hei. I mean wouldn't the King realise that why was it that the real mom just asked for her own son's death whilst a woman who wasn't his mother risked her life to save Chor Chor's son?

Interesting Quotes
Chor Chor - "I did nothing wrong, it was you who.......". All the time she said the same thing again and again and again.

Ling Wan to Emperor - "Why can't you understand my actions? I just want you to be a good King. I want to be married to a brave righteous and honourable King who loved his people and not a useless coward who lived his life in wealth and cared nothing for the plight of the people."

Best Aspect
The costume, both men and women in the palace. Beautiful and exquisite.

The set, which for once looked huge and grand, almost Happy Ever After-ish.

The make up, head gears, wigs, and the special effects.

The very imaginative direction by the Director.

The intelligent script except for...well you know lar by now! Repeat after me...EXCEPT FOR THAT LAST ONE SECOND!

The performances. Excellent.

The background music which suited the scenes perfectly, though a bit too loud.

Worst Aspect
Too few people in the war scenes. I do not believe each side will only have 50 people the most to fight in a war.

Some lose ends in the storyline.

The last one second.

Some dresses worn by the Emperor, all borrowed from Legend of Lady Yang. But Eddie Cheung looked very good in them.

Funny Aspect
We have Charmaine Sheh in a 5 minute scene. Some write why not Charmaine in a bigger role but that would spoil the fun of that 5 minutes which she did quite well, because her voice was dubbed by Marianne's voice and so it was less annoying and for once I was able to appreciate her somewhat improvement in her acting however forced her actions were. And I didn't realise how pretty she was until before that scene where Chor Chor first met Siew Tou and paid him to change her face for a few minutes and out she became Charmaine and wow. Beautiful Charmaine. And she was really funny in there. I didn't expect to see Charmaine so it was quite a pleasant surprise. And by the way, Charmaine may be able to play the nice Ling Wan without the drama but as Chor Chor, she will not stand out because she does not have the capacity to play an evil person.

What To Expect
Plenty of bathing scenes courtesy of Anne Heung and the flower petals.
Plenty of crying scenes courtesy of Marianne Chan and always when it is raining.
Lots of earthquakes and thunders and lightings and strong winds. Quite an interesting job for the weatherman.
Lots of useless Ministers who act as props by standing in the hall of the palace, looking shocked, surprised or bored.
Ugly Marco
Anne and Marianne as moms to 18 year old men!
Great costumes for both men and women, Especially Anne's. Learn some make up tip also.
Pretty suggestive scenes courtesy of Anne, Marco and Eddie doing that thing they do.
Horrible themesong. Never heard of a worse one. Anyway, I really like Time off's song which I didn't like at first. This one I hated.
Anne Heung acting, like she is really acting!
Pretty Charmaine for 5 minutes
Dry and overtanned Tang Ho Kwong for 30-40 minutes
And more importantly, cute guys and pretty girls.

What Not To Expect
Naked Anne Heung. Shoulders only.
Charmaine in a major role. Luckily she was only in here for max 5 minutes.
Lots and lots of people.
Cute guys yes but good looking guys, NOPE!
More satisfying closure to the fate of Chor Chor.
A satisfying and intelligent ending. I was very disappointed with the last 1 second. Why? TVB WHYYYYYYYYY?!?!???!?!??!???

Performances Rated
Everybody was good, some better but nobody bad in here.

Most Excellent Performances
Where did they find the young actors and that baby that played Little Dan? He was so cute and he didn't even cry but that chinese baby every scene he was crying. Cute kid!

Anyway, where did they find the young boys ah? Those 6 year olds but of course real life they should be about 8-10. Anyway, that young Chiu Hei was quite good, innocent looking, naive and very cute. Fat and fair.

But what made me sit up and watch this series even more closely (my nose was like ten inches away from the TV screen but when he appeared, my face was glued to the TV!) was the young boy that played 6 year old Chiu Dan. He wasn't good looking and he had to smear dark cream to make him look like Justice Pao. But that boy sure could act and I believe he was the best in here. How he talked just like Chor Chor, the way he talked to his mother, etc. But that scene that made me put his name in here was the scene where he was to be punished by the judge and Ling Wan asked to be the one to be punished and he was smiling happily and then when he saw how Ling Wan was suffering, in that 5 seconds of a scene, this boy changed more expression than any actor could in an entire series. From sinister, to mischievous, to confusion, to realisation to regret. Excellent performance by this young boy.

Brilliant Performances
I hated his character but Eddie Cheung Siu Fai was excellent. He was weak, meek and basically he played the useless King to the hilt. Look at the way he walked , talked. All slow-motion type of movements, which only meant that the King was someone weak. I thought he was brilliant in here. Great work by this veteran actor!

Marianne Chan as always was brilliant. Give her two different characters and she could play both as well. She was irritating as Chor Chor, loud ugly and damn rude. But as Ling Wan, somehow even with the same birthmark, she looked beautiful and radiant. TRUE! It shows that being nice makes you more beautiful. Anyway, though her Ling Wan knew how to cry only and was often too soft spoken, but when she had to do some serious drama in here, Marranne never disappoints me. I tell you, if anybody deserves to be the top actress in TVB it should be Marianne. This series seals the fact that she is an actress, not a star. She knows how to act and she has something new to offer in all her characters.She is one consistent actress in her portrayal of her characters. She may not be pretty to some but to me she is radiantly gorgeous, especially when she smiles. To me as Chor Chor or as Ling Wan, she did both characters equally well.

The two young men who played 18 year old Dan and Hei, ? Ka Lin and Tou Dai Wai. Who are they? They were so good, equally good. Excellent.

Evergreen Mak. Very very very good. This is one actor that can mold himself into any role. he may be too loud but he is a very good actor. in here he was excellent.

Great Performances
Marco Ngai was his usual best in here. But I hated his irritating laughter. And do not expect a good looking Marco in here. Bloody ugly.

Chan Weng Chun played the small time eunuch in Lady Yang. In here he had little role but he was very good as the ever present eunuch who dared to give his opinion to the King.

Har Ping was as usual very good as the dignified Empress Dowager who met a cruel fate under the hands of Siew Tou and Chor Chor.

Ok, Anne Heong Hoi Nam. Never thought I would put her name in here. When I first saw the poster I looked at Marianne and I decided that I'll rent it and then to the left I saw Anne. I was reluctant but took a gamble. And I am glad to say my comments in my All About Yue Ling about her is no longer valid, based on this performance alone. Like in Life for Life, Marianne took an irritating role and made it into her best role. In here Anne did the same thing. When she first appeared as Ling Wan, she was ugly, true but she was quite a shock to me. My reliable source who was watching the series with me said "Wau! What a change of voice can do to an actress!". Anne wasn't dubbed but she didn't have that "dragging of words and speaking in a too feminine voice" of a tone anymore. She smiled little in here and she didn't even try to smile sweetly at all! She was magnificent in here and she was a joy to watch. Her best was when she had to be Chor Chor and giving people that stare or that conniving looks. Or when her Chor Chor met her own father but her own father asked only for money and she just sat there and scolded him with tears in her eyes. Or when in all the scenes I have described in he Ultimate Classic Scenes, she was quite cute. And she was really pretty in here, eyes big and all though she has a tendency for having bad skin as the series progresses on. Based on this series alone, I would say she has improved greatly from her last series. But I can't say for sure about the next series, Seven Sisters where she will play the same old Anne Heung again. But for this series, I will make a bet with you. You watch this and you won't be complaining about her performance. Not that she was flawless. She still didn't know what to do with her hands, and in crying scenes she was still somewhat forced and not real. In desperate scenes like pleading for her life she was still bad. But just look out for scenes where she influenced the minds of Hei and Dan. The scenes of how she treated the Emperor. Those little scenes with little gestures. Great performance by this actress whom I have declared as the worst amongst the the worst three actresses in TVB.

Now if you say why can't I say the same thing about HSDS 2000 and Charmaine? I saw a few tapes of that series, or even Crimson Sabre and I am sorry to disappoint you. For as long as Charmaine still don't change that chicken voice of hers, she will never move from being a cute actress to a good actress. The success of Anne Heung in here was that she wisely bucked up on the way she delivered her lines, and gave more expressions on her face. As Ling Wan, I thought even with the scars she was pretty but as Chor Chor, even with a flawless face she was ugly. This was all due to her success of portraying the black hearted Chor Chor so satisfyingly.

So for this series you have two reason to watch this series;

See Marianne act and see how much Anne improved.

Good Performances
The girl who played Ling Hor Yee, Lok Yan's adopted daughter. Very good actress and pretty too.

Emily Kwan had little role in here, almost insignificant and a total waste of talent, but she was ok.

Lau Kong was ok, as always. But he wasn't mean enough.

The old man who played Ling Wan's father.

Lee Wai Kei, that guy in ATE as the young son of Chun Pui. i hope I got his name right. He was ok as the honourable Man San but this guy has very little screen presence and charisma.


Verdict
I have some great dissatisfaction with this series, quite major ones that I have mentioned above. But what I like about this series is the compelling and heart wrenching storyline about one woman Ling Wan and all that surrounds her. What this series has that all new TVB releases do not have is a strong storyline with moral lessons all over it, without being too preachy until the last one second.Top notch performances by veteran and new actors, young and old, beautiful and not so beautiful. Where did they find the young actors? It was quite a feast to see such new young talents who are unknowns. Very unexpectedly good. This series looks and feels grand, from the detailed and opulent sets to the intelligent script. Not so intelligent in some scenes but so few that you won't notice them. So if you want a series with a potent combination of great performances AND a great story, this is the one. And who knows, along the way you might learn a few lesson from this series.

Lessons To Be Learned From This Series
Plenty.

10. Never ever be too kind. Look at Ling Wan.
9. Never ever be too unkind. Look at Chor Chor.
8. Never ever assume genes is the ultimate measure of ones abilities in the future. Upbringing and parental love are far more important.
7. Never fall in love with a King.
6. Even if you do, be prepared to be hurt. Love hurts anyway.
5. You might be ugly with scars, but kindness and a compassionate hart will make you glow with inner beauty. Sure this might not be true but it helps to think that way.
4. Men may be attracted to physical looks at first but at the end of the day what matters are your personality. Look at the Emperor and I am sure you will realise what a bunch a crap this statement is. To me men never look beyond looks, even when they could do so. I understand you must be able to kiss that person, make love to them but blowing off the candles or switching of the lights do help a little since in the dark we are the same. NOT ME! But people are the same.
3. God and Heaven works in mysterious ways. you may suffer now but you will never know at the end of the day you might have gained much more that you have lost. It's better to have faith even if you do not believe.
2. Children are like sponges. Whatever you teach them they will learn from you. So teach your children to do good. Not teaching them will do more harm than teaching them bad things, because neglected children will learn from bad examples and at the end of the day, whatever your children become it will be because of your own doing. Of course the children have to be responsible for their own actions, like Ling Wan telling Hei that he's a big boy now, he could understand right from wrong but why make your child wonder what is right and what is wrong when they were 18 when you could have 17 years to teach them that? Why confuse them?
1. Treat people with due courtesy and they will return the same due courtesy to you, like Ling Wan and Lok Yan. Quite true because being rude to others will only mean you're digging your own grave by having people be rude to you. But not too nice until people walk all over you. I guess don't be like Ling Wan.Be a bit flexible and judge each circumstances as they come.
Interesting Philosophy
Ling Wan is a believer of Mentze's "Men are born innately good". But Chor Chor is a believer of "Men are born innately bad". Which explains for their actions.

Interesting Facts
I was told that this series is based on an old old old movie . It certainly has that kinda feel, because I have never seen TVB series to have such a storyline but I see a bit of Face Off, Life For Life, Legend Of Lady Yang, in this series.

I hope it is a hit because it deserves to be a hit.

Interesting Comparison
Quite similar to Face Off in terms of storyline. Not the same though with Life For Life as that one wasn't a change of face but was a change of personality. One person change from bad to good without changing hearts, faces, or even souls.

Now this series is bit like Legend of Lady Yang but better. It doesn't help that Anne is always bathing in here like in Lady Yang, Eddie dresses the same dresses as Kong Wah in Lady Yang and his king as useless as the one in Lady Yang. But Lady Yang was during Tang Dynasty so more sexy clothings whilst this is the more conservative Sung Dynasty where I was told women were the oppressed gender. Even the set looks like Lady Yang, but the story very different. The emphasis clearly different and if you want me to choose, Love Is Beautiful deserves to be hailed as the Best Series in the New Millennium.


1 comments:

  1. Anonymous21.1.17

    Wow nice long post! I first watched it in 2003 and I really want to watch it again.

    Do you think Chor Chor would have been less of a monster if she was raised in a kind family instead of her family of assholes?

    I feel so bad for Hei. I mean imagine what he could have been capable of if he could have lived with Ling Wan for his mother. He could have been a good king too. The baby switch was so unfair to Hei. I can't believe nobody tried to report this to the king.

    "In plain English, he (king) was plain stupid."
    Lol the main characters were all stupid. Chor Chor herself isn't too bright either. Her evil plans succeed only because the King and Ling Wan were stupider.

    "Ling Wan DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO REPAY THE YOUNG OFFICIAL WHO SAVED HER LIFE!!!!"
    Actually I think it either happened offscreen or the official escaped on his own. She became empress many episodes after we last see the young official. Wouldn't it be so random if she's like "Hey king by the way this official many episodes ago saved my life at great personal risk so please help him thanks ok now let's go back to the plot" o_o

    The scene where Chor Chor scolded Dan for being stupid surprised me. Given her character I thought she would be delighted that she could use him.

    The last second was so cheesy lol. As if it's written by a primary school kid.

    ReplyDelete

All replies and discussions will be posted in this review itself, so do remember to bookmark this review and check back from time to time for any replies.Thank you for your active participation.