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Gyeongseong Creature korean drama review
Gyeongseong Creature
2 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
by oakowl62
janv. 8, 2024
10 épisodes vus sur 10
Globalement 7.0
Histoire 7.0
Jeu d'acteur/Casting 9.0
Musique 5.0
Degrés de Re-visionnage 7.0
Cette critique peut contenir des spoilers

This could've been the next Kingdom but never quite lives up to its potential

The comparisons between Gyeongseong Creature and Kingdom will be obvious as both are Netflix originals with impressive casts that blend the supernatural/horror with historical events, and I really really wanted Gyeongseong Creature to be as good as Kingdom (which is one of my favorite kdramas of all time), but sadly, it never quite lives up to its potential. That's not to say this drama is bad and in fact, there's a lot to like about it. The cast is excellent (special shoutout to Choi Young-Joon for his chilling portrayal of Colonel Kato) and many of the characters and their relationships are easy to root for, the way the story weaves fact (the Japanese occupation of Korea and human experimentation) and fiction (the inhuman creature) is incredibly compelling, and its core message about freedom and resistance continue to be relevant, now more than ever. But where Kingdom is elevated by an incredible script with impeccably developed characters, Gyeongseong Creature is unfortunately let down by mediocre writing and lackluster character development.

What makes Kingdom so SO good is that the writing hones in on the themes of hunger and power in Joseon-era Korea and explores it via the supernatural element of zombies. The zombies are not the point of the story, the hunger is, and that core theme is woven into every aspect of the show and explored over the course of 12 episodes, resulting in a tight, cohesive story about how hunger can drive a nation to the brink of destruction. Gyeongseong Creature tries to follow this playbook and tell a story about freedom and resistance and the way war makes monsters of us all, sometimes literally, but the writing isn't strong enough to deliver on that lofty theme.

It was a huge miss for the show not to dive more deeply into Tae-Sang's journey from selfish rogue to reluctant freedom fighter, and even after watching all 10 episodes, I still can't tell if he's supposed to be a charming pawnbroker with a secret heart of gold and patriotic streak or if he's simply a rich man who wants to protect his riches and will only support noble causes if they happen to align with his own interests. The writers tell us he's the former, but end up showing us more of the latter and the fact that the show never truly integrates Tae-Sang (the main character!!) into the resistance storyline is a huge missed opportunity. Park Seo-Joon does his damndest to bring some nuance and depth to Tae-Sang, and the fact that he succeeds at all is a testament to his skill as an actor rather than the quality of the script. The other main character, Chae-Ok, is presented as a righteous character who has seen the horrors of man and the fact that she and her father don't become part of the resistance movement is honestly not really believable to me. The only character we know by name who is actually involved in the resistance movement is Jun-Taek, but he makes no real impact on the story until the end of the season, and that's really only as a plot device to introduce explosives into the narrative in time for the finale (what a waste of Wi Ha Joon). But for me, the most egregious missed opportunity to incorporate the theme of freedom and resistance into the story is with the treatment of the titular creature. I wanted so badly to root for the monster as the physical manifestation of the evils that Japan inflicted on Korea, as the horrifying culmination of the atrocities committed by the oppressed now exacting righteous vengeance on the oppressors, but we never really get to know Seong-Sim as a human and we see so little of her before her transformation that she's never really allowed to become anything more than just a monster.

This review probably seems harsh but it's only because this drama had SO much potential and I really wanted it to be so much better than it was. Don't even get me started on Lady Maeda, who is easily the most intriguing character on this show. She's revealed to be the puppet master behind the whole nefarious plot at the hospital, and for what? I'm sure the show is saving these answers for the next season, but by doing so, it falls into the same trap that Sweet Home season 2 did - they spent more time setting up season 2 than they did actually making a coherent season 1. As an aside, I have to say that Netflix is really ruining the pacing of its originals by splitting them up into parts 1 and 2. This show should've ended season 1 on episode 7 once they escaped the hospital because the remaining 3 episodes felt super rushed and ruined much of the tension and momentum they had built with the previous episodes. Pushing the storyline from episodes 8-10 into season 2 would've given that story more time to develop and it would've made the return back to the hospital and its bombing all the more impactful. I don't know what the hell to make of the time jump at the end but I know it wasn't a satisfying way to end this season.

All that said, I did mostly enjoy this show despite how negative this review is. The history of Japanese occupation in Korea is an important one and I think the writers did a decent job conveying the horrors of the time, both real and imagined. I'll certainly be back for season 2, but if you're like me and were hoping this would fill the Kingdom-sized hole in your heart, you're probably better off lowering your expectations for this one and rewatching Kingdom again once you're done, which is certainly what I plan on doing.
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