Pros & Cons: General and I

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I am truly conflicted when it comes to this drama.  There are some aspects that I really love.  Sadly, there are almost an equal amount of aspects that drive me batty.  So what is a Fangirl supposed to do?  Join me as I discuss my Pros and Cons for General and I and try to decide if I recommend this drama or not.

DISCLAIMER: At this point I am only 10 episodes in and am writing my initial thoughts based on these episodes. There is a good chance that some of my issues will dissipate or become worse the further I watch.  Just mentioning this so I don’t get serious hate comments about how I am short sighted.  I might update after watching further if I end up changing my mind.

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Synopsis: Brilliant strategist Bai Ping Ting and prince-general Chu Bei Jie of rival kingdoms find themselves torn between loyalty to the country and their passionate love for each other.

Cons:

CGI Overdose

.;a1a2s4.pngSome directors just don’t understand that vomiting CGI effects into a drama does not make it better.  And this director is one of the most guilty pro-CGI vomitors that I have witnessed to date.  There is no scene too small that he can’t shove some type of computer special effect into which distracts me to no end.  When it is obvious that the actors are just standing in front of a green screen during huge periods of the drama and when those special effects are chunky and awkward it is a distracting.  Definitely not a plus.

Stiff Acting

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Angelababy is very pretty and I don’t even mind her acting sometimes.  Unless she has to suddenly seem angsty then ability hit it’s limits.  So whenever we get to an intense moment where Bai Ping Ting has to act conflicted or distraught I am pulled straight out of the plot by Angelababy’s awkward acting.  This is just a personal preference.  I am sure for many that she isn’t a con, but I personally like her better in modern rom-coms.

Did I Mention the Directing?

I know I already mentioned this, but it is such a huge con that I feel it deserves a second rantfest.  Why would a director combine CGI (bleck) with bad stock footage that looks like it was filmed in the 70’s?  For example, the first scene Chu Bei Jie’s soldiers are swept away in a flash flood after being goaded to enter the floodplain by Bai Ping Ting.  There were the usual CGI fight scenes which I could stand, if not enjoy.  But then they kept interspersing scenes of rushing rivers to indicate that the water was coming.  The rushing river footage literally looked like something that had been cheaply filmed 50 years ago and stuck in randomly.  It drove me CRAZY.


Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t hate the Chinese style of film fighting.  There are tons of other Chinese dramas that use similar fighting styles that I love.  It is specifically this show that I find fault with.  The cinematic narrative is often chopped up and it just doesn’t work.  For me, this is by far the biggest negative when it comes to watching General and I.

Pros:

Wallace Chung

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Where Angelababy isn’t working for me, Wallace Chung makes up for it by really bringing the character to life.  I think that this is also a personal preference since I have talked to some people who feel it is opposite.  But for me, his stoic performance and epic love story just has me swooning.

Solid Script

The solid plot is really the main reason I am still watching General and I.  The story is very good and I like (narratively) all the characters.  The ability for our leading lady to scheme her way through all the politics is fascinating.  I also appreciate that our OTP (One True Pairing) feel equal in intelligence and power.

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I am enjoying the story so much I plan to read the novel that the story is based on.  If anyone else is interested you can find the translation HERE.

This concludes my initial review and I am still conflicted.  I guess it all comes down to what you are looking for in a drama.  If it is cinematic excellence than avoid this drama like the plague.  Other than the ability to make our lead’s look pretty in front of the camera the directing has nothing to commend it.

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However if you are looking for a solid story then you might want to check General and I out. I guess I am part of the latter group since I will continue on.  When it comes down to it, I am into dramas for the great storytelling and I can ignore stiff acting and bad effects if my imagination is involved.

Til next time,

Kmuse

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0 thoughts on “Pros & Cons: General and I

  1. I’m a bit further in, and it’s worth it to keep going. The CGI tones down and the story stays interesting. I agree with Angelababy’s acting, I like her more in a rom com setting.

  2. Oooh so glad I’m waiting to see what you think of this one. Nothing drives me MORE insane than bad direction choices and poor CGI. I actually didn’t even like the third hobbit movie because it used so much CGI…even when it was well-done. It just bothers me!

    I will continue stalking you for updates 😀

    Devon

  3. Horrendous CGI and 70s footage I can tolerate. But messing with Wallace’s beautiful eyes? That is crime against humanity! There is a difference between Canwo (蚕窝) and under-eye bags. The technician who gave Wallace the CGI plastic surgery obviously don’t know the difference and should be fired ASAP. Sigh… I’m so happy to get that off my chest.

    As for the story, I agree the plot is solid enough and I would like to see more. But not the aggressive behaviors that can be construed as sexual assaults (Yep, I’m talking about the forced kiss. The woman barely knew him and was not even slightly enamored with him, and he shoved his tongue down her throat. That is just disgusting, no matter how cute he looked.)

  4. I am in a bit of similar situation. I love the novel and I like these two leads. I don’t love how they adapted the story to the screen. I think part of this is that the production company saw the epic qualities of the battles between four countries and went with that instead of the romance that drives the novel. I think that explains the crazy CGI as well.

    In my opinion, in the novel, Bai Ping Ting is trying to reach He Xia’s side for a good 1/3 of the plot. She is totally on his side. While she admires the qualities of Chu Bei Jie, she doesn’t fall in love with him until after He Xia leaves her behind because he is afraid that she has fallen for Chu Bei Jie. She’s smart and when she realizes he’s pushing her away, she takes herself out of the game and goes North. It’s the push and pull of battle strategies that makes Ping Tin and Bei Jie really fall in love – not the drama’s “we met in childhood and are meant to be” plot.

    Also, on a less film-school-ish note, I’m pretty sure they toned the sexual innuendo/situations way down to be able to show the series in China. For much of the second part of the novel, he is explicitly keeping her at his home just to sleep with while he works through how he feels for her.

    A lot more stuff gets put into novels than ever makes it to the screen!

    I could go on and on about this, Kmuse. As it happens, I’ve been watching the unsubbed episodes on YouTube first so I think this one is worth hanging on to until the end.

    Already, though, I’m sure it doesn’t measure up to Sound of the Desert or even Singing All Along. That makes me a little verklempt!

    • So I’m not the only one who got mad they added the childhood connection. Usually I don’t mind the changes in an adaptation as I always take the adaptation as the 2.0 version of the book because there bound to be changes made. But when they added the childhood connection, the beauty of how they fall in love suddenly lost it’s color in my eyes….

      And Wallace’s voice…somehow it feels like the dubber is trying too hard to convince the viewers Chu Bei Jie is feeling this, he is feeling that. It sounds quite stiff and I couldn’t connect to him while there Wallace is doing a good job in protraying the character…I feel odd…I do think the voice doesn’t fit well but after a few episodes I’ll get used to it…it’s his intonation that I have problem with…but it’s probably just me…

  5. I am not following this drama but while reading your review regarding this show it reminded me of a Chinese manwha which I read long ago “GU FANG BU ZI SHANG”, itself based on a chinese novel. Is it? If so … I quite liked the story line .. 2 strong central characters… but there were no special effects in the manwha 🙂

  6. I’m 90% done with the novel and at episode 22 of the drama, and so far, I’ve been disappointed in the major plot changes from the novel.

    Besides the ‘met in childhood’ backstory, Consort Zhang is also not part of the novel. Adding these plotlines made the drama feel more like a typical palace romance 🙁

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