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Written by Bridget Au



"My vote goes to Let’s Go Watch Something Else"






SPOILERS ... SPOILERS ... SPOILERS


Chinese Title
“Yi Qi Qu Kan Liu Xing Yu” (direct translation)
(technically it is "Let Us All Go Watch The Meteor Shower Together - Funn)

Released In
2010

No. of episodes
36


Cast
Zheng Shuang as Chu Yu Xun
Zhang Han as Murong Yun Hai
Yu Hao Ming as Duanmu Lei
Wei Chen as Ye Shuo
Zhu Zi Xiao as Shangguan Rui Qian
Wang Jian Xin as Murong Zhong Shi
Li Ying as Shen Han Feng
Xiao Han as Murong Yun Duo


Foreword
You’ve seen Let’s Go Watch the Meteor Shower before. Now all that needs to be done is for TVB to film their remake. Can you stand the wait? I know I can’t.


Review
If you ask me why I watched this series, I will tell you it’s because … well, I’ve seen the other remakes already, I might as well keep up with any others that are made. No? Oh well.

Let’s Go Watch the Meteor Shower, produced by China’s Hunan TV, is loosely – very loosely – based on Japan’s best-selling shoujo manga of all time, Hana Yori Dango. It is the fourth Asian country to film a TV adaptation of the comic, after Taiwan, Japan, and Korea. The comparison stops there. 10 episodes in and you will realize that this adaptation basically combines every flaw of previous adaptations into one big grab bag of “what the hell did I just watch?” Let’s Go Watch the Meteor Shower has its merits as a standalone idol drama, but as an adaptation – even a loose one – it gives new meaning to the word “butcher”.

When the posters for this series were first revealed, I was as appalled as the rest of the netizens. Out of 1+ billion people, these were the best-looking actors China could find?! F4 is supposed to be the dream of every girl; rich, tall, and handsome (although I will be the first to tell you that Taiwan’s version and even Japan’s version also left much to be desired in terms of looks).

I am positive I wasn’t the only one who laughed when Duan Mu Lei made his appearance. Yu Hao Ming not only looks like a girl, but he also cannot act. I kept thinking that he would make a good gay best friend for Yu Xun à la Korea’s Personal Preference. Yu doesn’t manage to convey Rui’s mysteriousness (Vic Zhou’s performance) nor his inner compassion (Kim Hyun Joong’s performance). Not only do I see absolutely nothing in his appearance and/or demeanor that would convince me that Yu Xun would fall so hard and fast for him, the actor is uncharismatic and delivers a train wreck of a performance that could possibly incite death via unintentional laughter.

Wei Chen and Zhu Zi Xiao were both unexpectedly good, for different reasons. Wei's performance was the best out of the younger cast, and Zhu is goofy and appropriately smart-aleck.

A good point about this series is that it explores a lot of back story in side characters. Yun Duo’s plotline about her relationship with a man who constantly felt lesser than her was intriguing, and Xiao Han delivers one of the better performances of the series in the role.

I remember Alec Su once said that acting with Koreans was different and challenging because their style of acting consists of delayed, prolonged reactions. And while neither of them are Korean, both leads in this series suffer from the same acting problem – delayed reactions.

Zheng Shuang reminds me of a kiddy version of the actress who portrayed Qing Er in Princess Pearl. She has very good chemistry with Zhang Han though she has little comic timing and is not nearly as tough as Makino is supposed to be. Zheng is a lovely crier and at her best in the dramatic, romantic scenes. Her scenes as the tomboyish, brash Yu Xun are much more of a tough sell – she overacts and her expressions always come 3 seconds too late. Her performance is partially adequate as deep down, Makino is actually a romantic soul.

The writers shamelessly butcher the original characterization for Doumyouji’s remake Yun Hai. No way in hell would the original character blurt out lines like “We’ve experienced life and death. I’ll love you for all eternity” or “You’re the first girl I’ve fallen so hard for”. The hot air balloon scene was the absolute worst: “I, Mu Rong Yun Hai, swear on the land and sky and fresh flower rainbows that I will love only Chu Yu Xun until death do us part”. And then Yu Xun repeated the same vow. I was in shock. I think I actually said out loud “What the f-ck was that?!” For you TVB fans out there, remember in Detective Investigation Files IV when Quin and Fei jumped into bed (literally) immediately after Fei realized Quin was safe after falling from a building? This is what this scene reminded me of. It was so completely out of character for both leads that I just about died laughing.

So though the script hangs him out to dry, Zhang Han is actually not that bad. He is shaky at the beginning but improves gradually towards the end. He has chemistry with Zheng but his best scenes are those with his sister and mother. A big gap though, is his friendship with Mu Lei and how it’s affected by Yu Xun’s appearance. Not only does the Chinese version completely change the nature of their friendship by having Yun Hai befriend the 3 much later than they’re supposed to, I don’t see the friendship chemistry between the actors.

To Watch or Not to Watch, That is the Question
Raise your hand if you want a sequel. Too bad, there will be one anyway. And since I like torturing myself, I will watch it. You’ve been warned – if you’re a fan of the original manga and story, you may want to request a title change. My vote goes to Let’s Go Watch Something Else.

Rating
2/5

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9 comments:

  1. Kidd4.6.10

    I think this series is like MOL. 'Inspired' by the manga instead of actually adapting it. I heard China didn't buy the rights like other previous producers.

    Can you tell me who is who in the poster? I'm curious. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think inspired is such a bastardized word these days. Clearly adapting meteor garden but changed a whole lot of things for I suppose freshness sake when the actors should all be changed.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. Kidd4.6.10

    The guy on the far left seems quite ok in terms of look. I have to say best looking of the four.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You mean the least ugly?

    So thin! Like bobble head! I am watching AAE again and all I can say when compared to JDG in his hey day these 4 are like scrap meat, bottom of the lowest! Even if compared to JDG on his worst day aka Typhoon. Even compared with Masha when he was 20. Where is the MAN in man?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Kidd4.6.10

    Hi, just a question. If these 4 were really really great actors, will you overlook their not go good-looking appearance.

    ReplyDelete
  7. athena4.6.10

    They're ugly. Those 29-30ish TVB stars are better looking than these young people and TVB stars are never known as good looking. Ugh even 40ish Kevin Cheng looks better.

    Definitely don't live up to the other 3 earlier adaptations.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Kidd,

    "Hi, just a question. If these 4 were really really great actors, will you overlook their not go good-looking appearance."

    The answer lies in what type of series. This is an idol drama, about a plain girl pursued by the richest, handsomest boy in school that belongs to this exclusive club that is super rich handsome young men. So that actor must be young + handsome + rich looking + desirable even if you want to slap him.

    None of these 4 fits the bill.

    So to answer your question is YES OF COURSE (Look at Bowie Lam) BUT not for idol drama which this is.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Bridget10.6.10

    Kidd, from left to right on the poster:

    1. Zhu Zi Xiao as Shangguan Rui Qian (either Nishikado Sojiro or Mimasaka Akira in the manga, they seem interchangable)
    2. Yu Hao Ming as Duanmu Lei(Hanazawa Rui in the manga)
    3. Zheng Shuang as Chu Yu Xun (Makino Tsukushi in the manga)
    4. Zhang Han as Murong Yun Hai (Doumyouji Tsukasa in the manga)
    5. Wei Chen as Ye Shuo (Nishikado Sojiro or Mimasaka Akira)

    And yes, the one on the far left isn't that bad when he's moving.

    ReplyDelete

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