Garnering a respectable share of the booty at the 2012 Korean Drama Awards, “Rooftop Prince” is a worthy prizewinner. With a remarkable capacity to successfully combine quirky comedy with gut-wrenching dramatic scenes, this drama is definitely worth watching. Released early in 2012, I’ve already watched it three (yup, three!) times through and will undoubtedly watch it again in the future.
Storyline/Synopsis: My rating 9/10
Doppelgangers abound in this combined historical/modern day drama. Crown Prince Lee Gak, while trying to solve the mysterious murder of his Crown Princess, is magically transported 300 years into the future with his three faithful subordinates. As one can well imagine, adapting suddenly to the future can bring it’s own set of –ahem- challenges. Trying to figure out why and how this will help solve a murder mystery becomes the consuming task. The following YouTube clip illustrates:
A marvelous cast of intriguing characters successfully buoys what could be a real Kleenex-box drama. The Crown Prince Lee Gak’s (Mickey Yoochun) three sidekicks have the comedic timing of the Three Stooges combined with the fierce loyalty of the Three Musketeers. Played by Lee Min Ho (the younger), Jung Suk Won and Choi Woo Shik, they make a hilarious job of adapting to the modern world. Han Ji Min is brilliant as Park Ha/ Bu Yong. Playing ‘straight man’ to the 4 men from the Joseon period, she was the perfect romantic lead.
And then there’s Tae Mu: Evil never looked so good. 😉 Lee Tae Sung plays the role so well you almost feel sorry for the guy with so many near misses killing people, intended or not. Such a versatile actor. Hard to believe he was the goofy Mr. Bong from Mischievous Kiss! Add in a Bow-tie Dog Whisperer, Mentor to the Good Guys; Aunt Wang, perpetually dressed in tulle and other great characters and the cast has to be considered top-notch.
If I have a complaint it would be that the lines in English were usually written and/or delivered very awkwardly. I was surprised as some of the most awkward lines were delivered by obviously native-English speakers.
Cinematography: My rating 8/10
Sped-up frames, comedic cartoon animations and goofy sound effects added to the fun. The special effects were managed well. While not on the scale of high-end Sci-Fi movies, the effects did not come across as ‘cheesy’ either.
The filming locations were beautiful. Lovely scenes in parks and historical locations. Great action scenes: not just fighting, but moving shots such as the truck following the bus with the mammoth beach painting…
Drama Clichés: Stopped/trapped in the middle of a busy traffic intersection. (twice) A Metaphorical Crossroads? Stomping on laundry together in a small washtub; What did I miss?
Music: My rating 8/10
The music was highlighted by the juxtaposition of two the main theme songs, a poignant song (“Hurt” sung by Ali) with a historical flavor and a catchy up-beat song, (“Happy Ending” sung by Jay Park) often played, one right after the other. The other music was also great, albeit very difficult to find. Rooftop Prince Part I is now available on iTunes and contains “After a Long Time” and “I Love You, Too”, both sung by Baek Ji Young and the above mentioned “Hurt”. The instrumental versions are also included for the nominal price of $5.94.
Overall Charisma: My rating 10/10
As I said before, I have watched this drama three times. Already. It’s charming. It’s sweet. It’s a tearjerker. It’s funny. It’s heartwarming. The characters are engaging and loveable and definitely gel well together.
Equip yourself with a glass of wine, a stash of food, a box of Kleenex (towards the end) and get ready to enjoy! You won’t want to leave the T.V. once you begin. Just a warning.
Happy Drama Watching!