[drama] Jung Yonghwa’s journey to Park Dalhyang-ssi

This is not a review nor a recap as I suck at them and I wouldn’t know how to do so especially for a sageuk. Obviously,  history is not my best friend so historical/period dramas do not appeal to me. I have never watched even JEWEL IN THE PALACE because costumes and ancient language scare me.

But I am making an exception for THE THREE MUSKETEERS because… Jung Yonghwa.

photo4This is Yonghwa’s fourth drama and the most different in terms of role. His previous characters Kang Shin-woo (YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL) and Lee Shin (HEARTSTRINGS) are close to the real Jung Yonghwa, leader and lead vocalist of CNBLUE. His Park Se-joo (MARRY HIM IF YOU DARE), a dashing, young and cool chaebol, is a cut from his idol image.

credit: suesue

credit: suesue

On the other hand, Park Dalhyang-ssi is a warrior from the Joseon era who struts around in heavy-looking robes and is that a wig? It is Yong-hwa’s most physically exhausting role to date and it showed in his weight loss and fatigue recently. But it may just be the role that would establish him as an actor and unload his idol baggage.

I know many of his fans, myself included, so badly want this drama to rate. I’ve had enough of people teasing him for his low-rating dramas as if those were entirely his fault. TTM’s first episode rated 2.8% and peaked at 5.1%, which for a drama being aired on cable, is already an achievement.

And despite my reservations about sageuk, I enjoyed the first episode and is already emotionally invested in the journey of Park Dalhyang from his remote province to Hanyang. Just as I’m hoping for the drama to get good ratings, I also hope that Dalhyang overcomes all the odds against him.

photo3For some reason, the first scene of Dalhyang showing off his sword skills on the cliff when he bids his town goodbye, reminds me of the Jung Yonghwa who left his seaside city of Busan to realize his dream of becoming a musician in Seoul. I’m sure Dalhyang’s road will be full of ups and downs, just as the ongoing journey of Yonghwa and CNBLUE to reach the top of the world is too.

And not quite coincidentally, Park Dalhyang is part of Yonghwa’s journey as an artist too.

And it has not been an easy road to get to Park Dalhyang as his fans very well know. But the mere fact that he has been able to get to this point, despite having to divide his time between his music and acting, only shows that Yonghwa is dead set on  honing his craft.

As a musician (and someone who is good in sports), there is rhythm in his movements in the action scenes. But we all know that Yonghwa did not set out to be an actor so I am glad to see his improvement in this area, especially when he is acting alongside experienced actors like Lee Jinwook and Yang Dong-geun. For sure, he will learn a lot working with his sunbaenims.

Taking on the role of Dalhyang is also a wise decision because while there is a love angle in the first episode (and I don’t know where it will go and whether they will play this up in later episodes), the focus is more on his interaction with the so-called three musketeers, “bromance” if you may, and the adventures they will later go through. We get to see a fighting Yonghwa instead of the usual leading man character which would not have helped in losing the idol image that he so badly wants to get rid of. Despite the huge difference from his previous roles though, Dalhyang still offers that charm through his innocence and naivete enough not to isolate Yonghwa’s fanbase.

But of course, romantic lead or not, it does not mean we won’t get treated to scenes like this.

 photo2

And I have to say, Dalhyang’s horse is definitely a scene-stealer.

photo1

Overall, I love how the approach of the drama is light-hearted instead of taking the heavy melo road; the latter is what actually scares me off sageuk.

Because at the end of the day, I want my entertainment to be light. I just want to be able to kick back and relax and forget about all the news I deal with on a daily basis even though for some people, journalists do not have the right to their form of entertainment and be a fangirl. (I don’t know whether that mindset is due to narrow-mindedness or ignorance.)

So Park Dalhyang-ssi… fighting!

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4 thoughts on “[drama] Jung Yonghwa’s journey to Park Dalhyang-ssi

  1. I love historicals, always have and probably always will. 🙂 It’s just that there’s been preciously few sageuks or even other kind of period kdramas to my liking. Most of them just end up having features that annoy the heck out of me so they get dropped in the discard pile. The last one I truly loved was ‘Arang’ and that was 2 years ago!

    The 1st epi of Three Musketeers wasn’t bad but it wasn’t instant love either. It seems to lack a certain kind of ‘oomph’ factor but I’m glad they decided to keep the tone light and fun. I could live with that, provided there aren’t too many of the usual irritating tropes. Yong Hwa seems to be holding his end just fine. This really is a good opportunity for him to broaden his repertoir. Let’s see how it goes.

    • I’ve been thinking of that since I watched. Is it in the editing and pacing? Is it in the choreography of the action scenes? Maybe it needed to be quirkier but perhaps the production did not want to make it too quirky to lose sight of its sageuk-ness lol but I do agree, it lacks some snap.

      I’m just glad for Yonghwa though coz he is working so hard for this project. And I do hope after this, audience see him as an artist and not just an idol. XD

      • I just watched the episode again with subs and it feels like the editing and pacing is juuust a little bit off and the transitions between scenes are not quite seamess. But hey, I’m no technician so what do I now. 🙂 And yes, it could have been quirkier, there is room enough for that without messing with the format. It’s not like this is one of those ‘fusty’ traditional sageuks anyway, being a fusion one gives it more leeway to tinker with things. My sense of humour is somewhat wonky so I would have loved if the tone had been something similar to ‘Once Upon a Time in Saengchori’, which was a bit off kilter and funny as hell at times. XD

        Sometimes it does take a few episodes for a drama to find it’s groove so I’m tentatively optimistic.

      • yes, the editing could have been sharper to make the scenes and the lines snappy. I felt there were moments that had the potential to be funny (like Park Dalhyang-ssi giving the crown prince a once-over) but was lost in the editing.

        the drama is still finding its footing but it was a good start nonetheless, right? I’m also optimistic that they’d find the right groove as they go along and they have to if they’ll be at this for three seasons! lol

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