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.
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.
Some 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,