Friday, May 06, 2005

Beautiful Illusions

Beautiful Illusions, channel8 weekdays 9pm
starring: Fann Wong, Thomas Ong, Qi Yuwu, Yvonne Lim, Nick Shen, Lin Liyun

The story tells of a young girl who witnessed her father being murdered by a teenage boy. The teenage boy was sentenced to 17 years in prison while the young girl came to carry the burden of her family after her mother was mentally affected by the loss of her husband. Believing life was unfair to her, she carefully plotted a revenge plan...

That was the selling idea of this drama serial, but the mainstream idea is much simpler. This then is the real plot of the story:

Boy suffered a miserable childhood, ended up in prison. After his release from prison he meets girl and falls in love with her. Boy has a mother whom he hates but has a brother whoms he loves dearly. Brother falls in love with this wild girl who looks exactly like boy's girlfriend.

Then the twist:

The girl is actually the same person using different personas. Boy has to make a decision whether to keep girl by his side or give girl to his brother.

The complication:

Boy has a childhood friend who loves him a lot since young, but boy never liked her romantically. That childhood friend happens to be a big kaypoh. As we all know, in suspense thrillers, the kaypohs usually will end up dead. Also, mother was also a big complication as he tries to be the mediator of everybody in the drama and tries to convince everybody to listen to her as her words would make the best out of everyone. As we also know, in suspense thrillers, mediators also tend to end up dead.

Then incorporating the selling idea of the play into this plot, you get a nice decent 20-chapter Mediacorp drama serial. You add in a Fann Wong and that show would be a hit. You add in a Fann Wong acting as two dfferent personas, you get a hit and a tabloid story. You add in a Fann Wong acting as two different personas and reuniting with her original blue-eyed partner, you get a hit and a tabloid story plus a gimmick added on it, and of course lots of comparisons and rumours and god knows what that churns out of those media machines. They are one big family after all, as we must always remember.

So, should I hit out the show before praising it or should I praise it before launching my damning statements?

For full impact, I'll do what the Chinese do, xian li hou bing. First the courtesies, then the launched attack.

What I like about this show?

The pairing of Fann Wong and Thomas Ong. I suspect most of you guys here do not know this, but I'm going to disclose it anyway. I'm a closet fan of Christopher Lee. A fan as in I call the money sucking hotline every year during the Star Awards to vote for him. I sincerely wish him all the best with Fann. And I think that he and Fann make a great couple. But before the arrival of Christopher in the local entertainment scene, Fann was already making splashes with her pairing with dear Thomas Ong. Unbroken Cycle, Wild Orchids, they were the match of the time! It's nice to bring them back together after parting for like ten years.

The reason Mediacorp did this was so that their newspapers can write a story comparing Fann and Thomas' actings over the past ten years. How they might have improved, or not, how they might have aged, or not, how Thomas might come between Fann and Christopher. Well, the newspapers and the television station stem from like the same company, of course they would join forces to promote their drama serials together.

But I think, time has been very kind on the two main leads, Fann and Thomas. They look just as they looked ten years ago. Fann even looks about the same age as Qi Yuwu in the show, of course, she did that with an inch thick layer of makeup, but still, she did it successfully. Thomas looks not a day older than Qi Yuwu, still just as he looked in Unbroken Cycle and Wild Orchids. I'm not saying Qi Yuwu looks old cos he doesn't. Lin Liyun looked old though. But she was madeup too look like double her age. I thought Mediacorp has a whole truckload of old vetran actresses, why did they still give such a role to a young actress. Kind of pathetic. And just who is this Lin Liyun? She acted in that NKF show right before the premiere of Beautiful Illusions, as a lead somemore, yet I've never heard of her. hmm... Back to actresses looking old. Yvonne Lim looked bloody old in the show. She looked old and haggard. Maybe I should put it in another term, time has not been that kind to her as it had been to Fann and Thomas. And she is a lot younger than them.

In terms of acting, I must say the actors and actresses did a pretty good job. Fann portrayed her character rather convincingly. Thomas was cute, cute like a woodblock. Nick Shen was at his best, ever again. Nick Shen is one of the best actors in Mediacorp, unfortunately he was also blessed with a boyish face which limited his fitting into different characters. If only he didn't look that boy, he can be a very versertile actor. I'd give him thumbs up for his efforts. Oh, and Qi Yuwu's English sucks. I know I should be doing praising, but well, sometimes can't help it when I spot some things just shouting out "jibe me!" to me. Qi Yuwu's character is supposed to be Americanised, but his English sounds so pathetic that I shan't say mean things to people of his nationality, I'm a nice person.

The story is interesting of course, if not I won't be watching it. But as you know, bored Joan can watch anything. So I shan't say that the show is particularly intriguing. You know what's the problem with Mediacorp? The can't hide a good twist.

See, since all the forms of media all stem from the same parent company, plots of the show would leak out, somehow or another to some newspaper or magazine or whatsoever, and the so called twist the show have been touting becomes not much of a twist. Anyone who reads 8Days before watching the show can don't watch the show anymore. It's redundant. It's so pathetic. We watch TV because we want to watch TV, not because we want to make sure that we are reading the same things as our eyes watch. Okay, you can argue that it was me who made the choice to read the magazine, but even if I had not read it, the information is still out and it can still reach me via other forms of media like word of mouth.

But one thing I don't really fancy of this show is its development. The story developed to fast and tapered off too slowly. The romancing period of Fann and her two men was brief, as compared to the suspense. In the end, the prolonging of the suspense makes the show rather draggy. And the deaths makes the show very melodramatic. Viewers should not be kept in suspense for too long, especially in a periodic drama cos there's a litmit to one's patience, and the atmosphere created by the suspense might be broken after a span of 23 hours.

But still, I like stories about revenge. I was talking to a friend this afternoon. I was saying I like enigmatic guys, guys with a history of tragedy and those seeking revenge. He said it was because I grew up on too much Hong Kong drama. Maybe so, but a good revenge makes a show very watchable. This is interesting as the person exacting the revenge is a pretty young girl. This should give a warning to the men that well, young girls can be more dangerous than enigmatic men. And they have more forms of weapons. Charm, tears, blood, and sex. Enough to render a guy totally broken and shattered.

Another thing I must mention. I totally love the title song! Anyone can get me the mp3 and lyrics of the song? Email it to me can? Or MSN me, or do something, just give it to me, and I'll fall in love with you. Okay, better not be so flippant with my words, later kena lectured by Jinwei again. I'll be eternally grateful to you. Is that better?

I think I shall be a nice person tonight and not slam the show at all. Well, not cos I'm really that nice, but as an objective viewer, maybe I should wait until after the final episode of the show that I can truly give my most damning reports on its pathecity.

I shall go to bed now dreaming that the SLK Qi Yuwu drives in the show is mine. Well, personally I prefer CLKs but an SLK would do fine too. I'll have mine in silver...

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