Virtuous Empress of the Han Trailer + Wang Luodan turns ethereally beautiful in white as Wei Zifu
For a mainland Chinese actress, I find Wang Luodan to be rather plain and average in the look department. She can look quite attractive and memorable in modern clothes, but the parted hair that completely covers her ears and almost half of her face in Virtuous Empress of the Han Dynasty does absolutely nothing to accentuate her natural beauty. In the official promotional poster, I thought the bad angle and bad photoshopping even made her look distorted and hideous. Consequently, I was rather disappointed in the casting decision. I felt Wang Luodan does not possess the striking beauty to portray Wei Zifu, the dancing girl who managed to captivate the attention of the tyrannical Emperor Han Wudi. I strongly believe great beauty as well as prudence played a great role in helping this poor dancing girl to climb up the social ladder and to attain the status of empress. To my great surprise, the production finally released these pretty stills to prove me wrong! Wang Luodan is absolutely refreshing as Wei Zifu.
More than a decade ago, I thought Raymond Lam to be extremely dashing and commanding in his powerful portrayal of the First Emperor of China in A Step into the Past. In my opinion, Raymond Lam left a much deeper impression than the more reknown Louis Koo at the time. Unfortunately, time has somehow withers away Raymond Lam's commanding presence and I found his screen presence in this drama series rather weak. He does not convince me as the formidable and despotic Han Wudi. Perhaps it's the makeup? He still looks handsome...but meek.
BTS photo of Wang Luodan and Raymond Lam. I am starting to like her extravagant imperial regalia headpiece.
Like Nirvana in Fire I, Nirvana in Fire 2: Winds Blow in Changlin has a plethora of characters that are not strictly good or evil. In terms of story execution, the sequel can be split into three phases, each driven by one of the three leading male characters. The central figure of the first phase is Huang Xiaoming's Xiao Xiaozhang whose intelligence and political shrewdness are well exhibited from Episode 1 to 25. The second phase is led by Liu Haorang's Xiao Pingjing. Although Xiao Pingjing also figures prominently in the first phase, his moment to shine is actually from Episode 28 onward. The focal character of the last phase is undoubtedly the antihero, Wu Haochen's Xiao Yuanqi. His slow progression into darkness and moral conflict bring the story into a new climate.
This drama is officially being subtitled by DramaFever and Viki. You should go check out the series if you want to watch something that is not cheesy and has substance.
The political plotting and myrid of characters in Nirvana in Fire or Lang Ya Bang may get a little overwhelming for non-Chinese speakers. When I was first exposed to the story, I got drowned in the many names and relationships of the characters. I hope the character profiles will give you a better understanding of the story as well as the trailer.
The movie version of Three Lives Three Worlds: Ten Miles of Peach Blossom, aka Once Upon a Time, starring Crystal Li and Yang Yang are going to the Chinese theaters this summer. Although this version started production and wrapped up shooting before the Yang Mi and Mark Zhao's TV version, the movie has remained relatively low-key and secretive in the media. The movie only released a a 15-second teaser showing a few shots of Bai Qian and Ye Hua and some movie posters of the some leading characters. Unlike the TV drama, I feel the art direction of the TV movie has a grandiose and mythological feel. The costumes are a definitely more ornate and colorful. Ye Hua's wardrobe also diversified from his signature black palette, as shown below. I also heard there may be a sequel planned for the movie version if the first installation is a box office success. The original story is pretty dense and I don't think a two-hour screen time will do the story justice. I hope the movie vers…
Are you unsatisfied and frustrated with the final episode? Expected a happily ever after? Apparently, the scriptwriter succeeded in getting us all hooked onto this series for 28 episodes and suddenly bombarded us with a really CRAPPY open ending. My reaction when I first finished watching the final shot of Mo Shaoqian walking lonely toward the police station was like this...
I so expected the last scene to be the novel's ending where Tong Xue cried at the airport, and not Shaoqian at the police station! At minimum, I think they should have put Shaoqian's police station scene before Tong Xue's airport scene. Then show us Shaoqian at the airport watching Tong Xue's cries from a distance, as described in the epilogue.
To cure my poorly frustrated mood, I rushed to reread the dreamily happy epilogue that the author wrote for Sealed with a Kiss novel. After reading various analyses by different viewers online and the scriptwriter's comments about the ending, I still…
I just want to drop a quick hello and talk about my latest interest in Chinese dramaland. And sorry for the silence these past two months! Nothing has really piqued my interest to write until I watched a MV for the upcoming Hunan TV series Legend of Fragrance, starring Tiffany Tang Yan and Li Yifeng. The premise of this drama is neither refreshing nor brilliant. The plot basically consists of typical Chinese melodramatic angst, revenge, unrequited love, love triangle, family feud, etc. Two handsome guys will fall in love with Girl No.1 (Tiffany Tang). Girl No.1 initially has crush on Guy No.2 (played by William Chan), while Guy No.1 (played by Li Yifeng) madly pursues Girl No.1, the Hana Yori Dango-style. Then comes the villainous Girl No.2 (played by Shu Chang) who is infatuated with Guy No.2 and even took advantage of his "body". The new splash in this otherwise typical drama formula is that Guy No.2 will learn to love Girl No.2. In sum, Guy No.2 and Girl No.2 are my late…