VERY IMPORTANT NOTICE

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








It's a beautiful little small production that has good meaning, good acting and good story, and memorable songs.

Written by Kidd


SPOILERS ... SPOILERS ... SPOILERS




Chinese title
師父•明白了

Released in
2013

Producer
Chan Yiu Chuen 

Genre
Comedy, Drama, Suspense

Episodes
20

Rating
4/5

Cast
Raymond Wong as Chor Yat Jeen
Priscilla Wong as Foon Hei
Evergreen Mak as Wan Tin Bong
Rachel Kan as Hoi Chun Fah
Helena La as Foon Shu
Kaki Leung as Foon Jing
Mikako Leung - Foon Tim
Cilla Kung as Foon Siu
Wai Kar Hung - Bak Yat Yat
Owen Cheung - Bak Hok Yi
Amy Fan as Mok Sau Si
Matt Yeung as Cheng Ying Hung
Witney Hui - Wan Yau
Cheung Kwok Keung as Lok Mou Ngai
Cheung Wing Hong - Kong Tai Ping
Du Yan Ge - Wun Tin Sang


Plot
Set in an unnamed ancient settings, an orphan who was born without hair was taken in by a Buddhist master after he was cured by said master of injury, but strangely, this master refused to accept him as his student. This orphan grew up to be a dedicated police officer named Chor Ya Jeen. He was transferred to the police station in Ma Heung Town and in the town, he met a lot of o people who have fate with him such as the thief  Foon Hei, the rich girl Wu Dip and a man who can see glimpses of the future named Wan Ting Bong. He also has to solve a murder mystery and learn life lessons about fate, karma, true love and most importantly, what action you choose to take can change your supposedly pre-determined future.

Review
Story/Structure/Presentation 
The setting that the producer chose to use is interesting. The setting of this series does not belong to any one period in history. It's a mix and match of many eras, creating a fusion ancient period.  The characters dress in ancient costume, but, they have some modern looking clothing accessories. The furniture and houses are ancient in style, but, the table arrangements of the police station looks like those in the 90s series, and I think the '9 Lau Stronghold/stockade' is based on the Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong. The producer said that he did this on purpose to create a comic book feel. In this respect, I think Devil's Disciple is more successful. Devil's Disciple did feel like a comic book to me, but, Karma Rider did not.  Nonetheless, I like this setting. This fusion setting gives a fairy tale like feel to the series. It is like the series is set in a mythical universe.

On the story, I think that the scriptwriter/producer already has the story well thought out before starting on the actual writing of the script. The relationships and link of events all tied up together well. There is no incident or event that is unnecessary or a plot that appear at the beginning and forgotten at the end. All the events and characters are related in some way, which really brings out the theme of fate. The only slip in the plot is the lousy math, which is a common blunder in many TVB series. The age of the characters do not add up. Another aspect that I feel the series could have done better is the solution of the main case. I feel that the solution of the main case is a bit rush.  The scriptwriter chose to pop the solution on the viewers first and use flashback to retell the process. This limit them in showing  some potentially touching scenes involving grandma Foon Shu's 4 missing children. Two of the siblings were together under a well for quite some time, but, there's hardly any interaction scene shown. The scene of one daughter finally forgiving her mother was less than a minute long.

Those who think 'Triumph In The Skies 2'  has too many subplots and too much focus on unnecessary sub relationships that veer away from the main plot would like this series. The focus of the series has always been on the growing relationship of Chor Yat Jeen and Foon Hei. The love built up slowly and does not feel rushed or sudden. The sub relationships have some crucial scenes to shown the milestone in the relationship and give viewers an idea of the depth of the relationship, but they were never the focus. In fact, I wish they have more scenes of one sub relationship. I love the couple!

How is this series related to "Butterfly Lovers"?
Here's a few elements that will keep reminding audience about "Butterfly Lovers"

- Foon Hei believe very much in the story of "Butterfly Lovers" and "Butterfly Lovers" is her favourite opera.

- Butterflies appear often in the series and played some real crucial roles.

- A girl disguise as a boy, making the boy she likes think she's a boy. 

- Joining together after death. (I wonder if  anyone sent complaint letter to the Broadcasting Authority saying this  plot gives the wrong message to young people).

Music
The songs used in this series are as followed:

Themesong : Understood (明白了) - Hubert Hu (胡鴻鈞)

Sub themesong : Butterfly Transformation (化蝶) - Hubert Hu (胡鴻鈞)

Sub themesong: Lucky Child (幸運兒) - Fiona Fung (馮曦妤)

Honestly, I don't remember how the themesong sounds at all. But, the 2 subthemes are still playing in my head as I write this review. They are very well chosen for the series.

Initially, I felt that Butterfly Transformation was too modern for an ancient period series. But, the more I listen to it, the more I like it and feel that it successfully brings out the theme "Butterfly Lovers". As for Lucky Child, I like it the first time I heard it. It is very apt to for the relationship between Foon Siu and Bak Hok Yi. 

Note: Just listened to the themesong Understood. The melody is actually quite beautiful and the lyrics very meaning. I wonder why it just failed to stick in my memory.


Acting/Character
The acting here range from average to excellent. None of the actors are bad enough to ruin the series, which is a good thing.

Raymond Wong as Chor Yat Jeen
Raymond Wong played a guy who was born without hair to signify that he was someone with an untroubled mind. Raymond did not wow me in his performance, but, he was not bad either. I guess this is one of his middle of the road performance. He played his part competently but not impressive. I think he was wrongly cast  for this role. While watching the series, I always have the feeling that this role should be played by a younger guy, at least looking about the same age as Matt Yeung and should look a lot younger than Evergreen Mak. I get the significance of the bald head, but, I don't get why this character has it. He didn't seem any less trouble free than other characters. He has his worries and attachment. When he finally grew hair, it was because he can't decide who he loves. What does not mean? Love is the most troublesome thing to the mind?

Priscilla Wong as Foon Hei
I think Priscilla Wong's acting was very natural for a newbie.  Some people said she was acting too cute and dumb. But, I think this was just how the character was written.  Foon Hei is a girl who still believes in the legend of 'Butterfly Lovers', who believe in good things.  She is not stupid. She has some quick wit, but, she thinks very simply. She went through quite a lot of hardship as a child and I think she's very grateful for what she has now. Priscilla was able to show all these qualities.  I think Foon Hei has a more trouble free mind than Chor Yat Jeen. But I guess we can't have a girl being the bald one. Priscilla will have to shave her head. I like that Priscilla's acting is still fresh and not yet tainted by years of experience that sometimes will make an actress become formulaic in her acting. I hope she will continue to grow as a dynamic actress.

It's interesting how both Chor Yat Jeen and Foon Hei are both so into butterflies. Maybe they really are the reincarnation of the butterfly lovers.

Evergreen Mak as Wan Tin Bong
I don't have much to say about Evergreen's acting other than it's very good. He gave a very good performance as the clairvoyant Wan Tin Bong. Initially, I thought he play a highly cultivated spiritual practitioner. But, it turns he's not. He's just someone who got chosen by heaven to have this ability or he somehow was able to tune in to the right channel to access the info. He reminds me of Moses, the reluctant messenger/prophet chosen by God to do His bidding. Wan Tin Bong didn't want to see those flashes of future too, but, they kept coming to him and every time they came, Wan Ti Bong would ask his teacher (the sky) what It wanted him to do.

Helena Law as Foon Shu
Helena Law is another veteran who gave a great performance as a mother who misses her children. Foon Shu is a very kind lady and seeing how much her foster children love her, she must be a loving parental figure. But, she did fail as a mother when it came to her 4 biological children. She made a bad decision in leaving her 2 girls alone in the temple and she gave a wrong message to her son regarding right and wrong. Many parents actually made this mistake too. When a child does some minor bad things, parents just let it pass instead of correcting them. When the child finally commits a serious crime, the parents become very upset.

Cilla Kung and Owen Cheung as Foon Siu and Bak Hok Yi
I put these 2 together because I love their subplot and because their major story is their love story. I think they have great chemistry.  I love their scenes together especially the scene where Hok Yi shelter Foon Siu from the rain. So sweet.  This is the first time I see Bosco Jr  (Owen) act. Initially, I felt that he overdid the weak scholar role. But, after awhile, I became more use to his portrayal and found him quite convincing. This actor has potential. I hope to see more of him. Cilla Kung as improved leaps and bounds since 'The Four' debut. She was very wooden and totally cannot act in 'The Four'. But now she can do the emotional scenes very well.  The part where she was crying over Hok Yi was well done. She only needs to tone down her shouting.

Wai Kar Hung as Bak Yat Yat
Wai Kar Hung was excellent as Bak Yat Yat, the not-so-bad gangster. I think this was the first time he played a father to a grown up son. Wai Kar Hung displayed the pride, love, and authority of a father very well and his devastation at losing his son was very heart-breaking. Bak Yat Yat is an interesting character. The more unlike him his son is, the happier he is. He must not like himself very much. But, the fact that he was able to bring up such a good son in a place like 9 Lau Jai' shows his success as a parent. Besides that, he is also faithful to his late-wife and respectful to elders. This character is a joy to watch. Once again,  excellent portrayal by Wai Kar Hung.


Kaki Leung as Foon Jing
Kaki Leung used a very unusual approach in portraying her character, the mute girl Foon Jing. Instead of using sign language alone, she mouth her every dialogue and dubbed her voiceover out of sign. Kaki Leung has said in the weibo that she purposely dubbed her voiceover out of sync with her mouth movement as a new experiment. I think her out of sync dubbing was successful because it reminded audience that the character is mute and the voice did not come out of her mouth. Her mouthing all her dialogue, on the other hand, was not very successful. It did not look natural. Normal mute people around us don't communicate like that. I wonder why Kaki portrayed the character this way. Was it to show how much her character desire to talk?

Other notable performances that worth a praise are Rachel Kan as bathhouse owner Hoi Chun Fah, Cheung Wing Hong as the assassin Kong Tai Ping and Katy Kung as the young Mok Sau Si. 

Conclusion
This is one of my favourite TVB series of 2013. It's a beautiful little small production that has good meaning, good acting and good story, and memorable songs. I won't mind watching it again. 


0 comments:

Post a Comment

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.