Queen In-Hyun’s Man – a romantic tale involving time travel. Two things I love. I crossed my fingers, hoping the writers wouldn’t mess up a wonderful idea, and gave it a shot. BINGO! They not only came through for me, they even exceeded my expectations. And the actors followed suit. What we, the audience, get is a throughly enjoyable 16 hour Kdrama..
It’s the story of a scholar named Kim Bong-Do, who, in an attempt to protect the ex-queen’s life and restore her to power, ends up going 300 years into the future. A geisha/servant gives him a charm possessing supernatural powers that, he is told, will protect him – and it certainly does! It completely removes him from any life threatening situation, literally whisking him to a completely different time. Luckily he has, written down on the charm, the magic incantation that, when recited, will take him back to his own time of 1694. In other words, the guy is able to keep popping back and forth between the Joseon era and 2012. Without the charm his life is in danger and he can’t go into and out of the future. What do you think might happen if his enemies find out about the charm? Will the charm still work if something happens to it? And will Bong-Do have the freedom to stay with the woman he’s fallen in love with – who lives 300 years in his future – or will he be forced to go back to his own time?
Kim Bong-Do is the son of the late vice minister. He’s a highly intelligent man who took first place in the royal examinations. He’s kind-hearted and willing to risk his life in order to foil the plot to kill the ex-Queen. Our hero is touched when the woman who loves him asks the head monk for a charm that will protect him during his dangerous mission. He’s surprised to find that the charm actually works and very confused when he finds himself magically thrown 300 years into the future. The first time it happens he wonders if he’s dead or just dreaming. But, being such a smart guy, he quickly learns the ways of the future and becomes more and more comfortable each time he appears in 2012.
Choi Hee-Jin is a young, up and coming actress who gets her chance at stardom when she’s cast in the roll of Queen In-Hyun in a new drama. The actor who plays the king happens to be her ex-boyfriend. He had dumped her for another woman but has decided he wants her back, however, she’s not interested in the proposition at all. She’s the only person who knows about Bong-Do and helps him when he’s in her time/world.
Ji Hyun-Woo plays the main character, Kim Bong-Do. This is the drama that made me fall in love with him… it’s that charming smile of his! As soon as it was over I tracked down and watched several other shows he was in. The only one I wasn’t thrilled with was Trot Lovers. He was wonderful as always but I just didn’t care that much for the show as a whole.
Yoo In-Na is darling in the roll of Choi Hee-Jin. Her character is cute mainly because she, herself, is cute. There’s just something about her that gives her a naive, innocent look. Even when she played the more serious Kang Se-Ri, in The Greatest Love, she had a child-like look to her.
The soundtrack composers did a great job blending music of the Joseon dynasty with that of 2012. Sometimes we hear ancient and modern instruments in the same song. It’s not like one sticks out over the other, they just mesh into one beautiful piece. I was really impressed with the composers’ talents in that way. Deok Hwan sings a romantic ballad called I’m Going to Meet You. His voice suits that moving love song well. It’s my favorite song in the whole drama.
The scenery in each era is perfect. Bong-Do’s “world” looks the same as pictures I’ve seen on the internet of that time period in Korea’s history. The clothing the wealthy, powerful people wear in Bong-Do’s time is very elaborate and looks exactly like the costumes Hee-Jin and the other actors have on while filming their drama. I love how Bong-Do looks at Hee-Jin when he first sees her in costume – the clothing he’s familiar with seeing women wear. His face is so cute. It’s like he’s thinking, “Wow! You really ARE beautiful.” It’s a darling expression.
I really enjoyed the way the director filmed this drama. He chose to do a lot of “split screen” stuff. When people were talking on the phone he’d show us both parties, one on the left of the screen and the other on the right. He did quite a bit of that sort of thing… ancient Korea at the top of the screen, modern day Korea at the bottom. That idea might sound a bit strange but I came to really enjoy it. After the show was over I realized that was a representation of what was going on in the show – the storyline was split between two different time periods so the screen being split was a non-verbal way for the director to express that fact. I think I recognized that, subconsciously, and that may be one reason I enjoyed it being put together and shown that way. Good thinking, Mr. Director.
The chemistry between Bong-Do and Hee-Jin sizzles. No acting involved in this love story. I enjoyed their chemistry before I even knew Ji Hyun-Woo and Yoo In-Na actually were a couple in real life (though, sadly, not any more). There’s something different that goes on when the male and female leads honestly like each other. Expressions are real, tears are sincere, and kisses are genuine. The “love” part of the story has its own independent existence which makes things more enjoyable for the people watching it all.
Time travel shows can be a bit of a challenge for audiences to understand and the very beginning and ending of Queen In-Hyun’s Man is no exception. It is a little confusing but if I tried to unravel it for you I’d spoil it all (and I’m not really positive that what I thought was actually what the writer was thinking). So, I’ll just leave you with a little piece of advice – don’t worry about it. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy!
The time traveling meshed perfectly with the love story
Ji Hyun-Woo and Yoo In-Na’s chemistry
Charming scenery in ancient Korea
Lovely Joseon dynasty costumes
Split screen filming
A beginning and ending you really have to contemplate