[Review] The Moon that Embraces the Sun.
Moon that Embraces the Sun Moon Sun Monica Review Haereul Poomeun Dal 해를 품은 달 Kim Soo Hyun Han Ga In united06
Title : 해를 품은 달 / Haereul Poomeun Dal
Broadcast network : MBC
Episodes : 20
Broadcast period : 2012-Jan-04 to 2012-Mar-15
Air time : Wednesday & Thursday 21:55
Writer : Jin Soo Wan
Director : Kim Do Hoon
Adapted Book : The Moon that Embraces the Sun by Jeong Eun Kwon
Main Cast : Kim Soo Hyun, Han Ga In, Jung Il Woo, Yoon Seung Ah, Nam Bora, Kim Min Seo, Song Jae Hee, Song Jae Rim
There are three main reasons why I started watching MBC’s The Moon that Embraces the Sun. Firstly, I’ve always been a fan of sageuks – I love the beautiful costumes, elaborate hairstyles, choreographed sword-fighting scenes, poignant soundtracks, and of course, the political intrigue that fuels the plotline. Secondly, dramas adapted from popular novels are a sure recipe for success, as proven by Sung Kyun Kwan Scandal, coincidentally by the same author. And thirdly, well okay, I’ll admit it – Kim Soo Hyun.
To be honest, the idea of a sageuk based on a fictional king seemed a bit strange to me at first, but my misgivings were forgotten minutes into the first episode. The Queen Dowager’s grave misuse of her political power and Shaman Ari’s physical and mental agony are so real that you can’t help but be pulled into their world. Like a good emotional rollercoaster, the bleak future foretold at the very beginning of the drama is offset by the comical start to a sweet romance between Crown Prince Lee Hwon and Heo Yeon Woo. They meet by chance, and neither is able to forget the other. Against all the odds – namely the Queen Dowager and her minions – Yeon Woo becomes Lee Hwon’s Crown Princess. But, as always, a brief glimpse of happiness only acts as a catalyst to total devastation when the illusion is shattered. The forces of evil strike in the form of a deadly spell, and within weeks, Yeon Woo is mysteriously pronounced dead. Lee Hwon’s initial despair tugs at heartstrings, and quickly leads to the development of a cold and vindictive character in an attempt to bury his pain and loss. Eight years later, Yeon Woo returns as a nameless shaman who has no recollection of her past, and fate brings them together once again.
It seems odd to have six whole episodes revolving around their youth, but in hindsight, the extended narrative build-up at the beginning served to give audiences a better understanding of the characters, as well as provide a justification for their later actions. I have to say that those six episodes were among the best, because the amazing team of child actors blew me away with their performances. They portrayed their characters with conviction, and set the scene for the transition into the main cast. And what a seamless transition it was! I have to emphasize how much I love the child cast – they are really one of the main aspects that make this drama great.
To be completely honest, the aspect of the drama that grated my nerves is the huge age difference between the lead actors; Han Ga In and Kim Soo Hyun. In the drama, Yeon Woo is two years younger than Lee Hwon. In real life, Ga In is six whole years older than Soo Hyun. Fortunately, her age doesn’t show, and Lee Hwon and Yeon Woo make an adorable couple on screen. Teary goodbyes and reunions aside, their sweet interactions warm the hearts of viewers who can fully appreciate all the trials and tribulations they had to endure to be together.
Every serious story must have its comic moments to balance the invisible scales of drama guidelines. In this case, Hyung Sun is a very enjoyable character who provides comic relief through his troubles as mischievous Lee Hwon’s chief attendant. Those two have such an endearing love-hate relationship that they seem like an old married couple, and their dialogues are always fun to watch. Hyung Sun is true to his character right up to the end of the drama.
One thing I love about this drama is the symbolic reference to the Sun and the Moon, as the title suggests. It’s so poetic, with mythological origins, and creates a fantastical ambience around the whole drama. Although I love this theme, it is also the core reason why this drama is so thoroughly predictable. In the opening minutes of episode one, through the tale of the impossible co-existence of two Suns and two Moons, it is already clear how the drama will end; one of each must give up their position in the name of peace. Never-the-less, the dramatic story and overwhelming emotions portrayed by the brilliant cast make this drama worth watching.