Karie the Maknae and Kmuse journeyed away from their couches to the movie theater and checked out the new blockbuster Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds. Come see if this is a movie worth seeking out in our latest Fangirl’s movie review.
Karie the Maknae: From the moment I saw it, the trailer for Along with the Gods pulled me in. The sweeping special effects, the dramatic story line, the epic journey through the underworld — how could I not be intrigued?
Kmuse: I actually went in without watching the trailer. I pretty much figure if there is a Korean movie showing at the local Cinemark I will go watch and support them for bringing international films to Portland.
What to know before you go to the theater:
Karie the Maknae: Korean movies sometimes take things farther than I want to see, so I read a few reviews online to make sure I wasn’t getting my girls and I into a situation where we would have to walk out. I felt pretty good about our decision to go, but also a little annoyed by the reviews in the big papers. Let’s just say that drama fans will have a better appreciation for the multi-layered plot line and emotional pull. (P.S. Asianwiki was the most reliable viewing guide–they put the movie at about a PG-13.)
Kmuse: If you are bringing younger children or friends that can be sensitive to cursing, nudity, or violence, it is always a good thing to check out what is in a Korean movie first. Unlike their drama counterparts, Korean movies can jump into R territory very fast.
When earnest firefighter Ja Hong (Cha Tae Hyun) dies in the line of duty, his three guardians come to escort him through the afterlife. But the journey isn’t as simple as it seems–Ja Hong has been deemed a paragon and must endure 7 trials within 49 days to earn reincarnation.
Ja Hong’s guardians include diminutive Deok Chun (Kim Hyang Gi), the comedic Hewonmak (Joo Ji Hoon), and their leader Gang Lim (Ha Jung Woo). Together they stand against the gods of Indolence, Betrayal, and Deceit, among others, to defend Ja Hong’s actions during his life and to prove that he truly is a paragon.
Complicating things are is the family that Ja hong has left behind. Gang Lim must return to the living world to sort things out, though he knows he’s breaking the rules to do so. The question is will everything come together in time so that the paragon and the guardians can move on? Or will the living world interfere with Ja Hong’s ability to reincarnate?
Karie the Maknae: I really enjoyed the story. This was more than just about Ja Hong’s journey — it was about the guardians working together, Gang Lim’s past, and the meaning of family. Ja Hong’s earnestness was a little frustrating at times — he was not the quickest on the uptake — but he was a worthy character and I found myself rooting for him more often than I was frustrated with him. I loved the hints of Gang Lim’s backstory and the flashes of Hewonmak’s humor combined with his world-weariness. The twists and turns of the plot drew me in and kept me captivated.
Kmuse: I went into the movie knowing that Karie started liking it more and more the farther in she got. So I had pretty high expectation for some plot twists and turns. And it 100% delivered. I do have to admit that Ja Hong kind of was a bore. But there is a good chance it is because I am not a big Cha Tae Hyun fan. I found the brother’s storyline a lot more interesting and I am glad that it got the focus it deserved. All around they were able to tie all the plots together and I was very entertained and invested despite my CTH dislike.
Karie the Maknae: AMAZING. The landscapes throughout the afterlife were so beautifully wrought. The attention to detail and the magnificent scenarios resonated with emotion and really contributed well to the overall flow of the story.
Kmuse: This was CGI done right. It was intricate, fantastical, and all around awesome. I love when CGI doesn’t detract from the story but instead adds an additional element that enhances a viewers enjoyment.
Karie the Maknae: I’ve sprinkled these throughout the reviews–the almost-irritating earnestness of Ja Hong, the pixie-like Deok Chun, comedic relief Hewonmak, and the very serious and in-charge Gang Lim. I was talking to my girls after the movie and we realized that the story may revolve around Ja Hong, but I’m not convinced that the main character wasn’t actually Gang Lim. He was fascinating.
Kmuse: There was a plethora of amazing actors added as various gods and side characters. I loved waiting for each new hell and trying to figure out what famous actor would be popping up next. What stood out the most for me was my instant love with Kim Hyang Gi (the tiny Deok Chun). Her energy, emotion, and all around vibe just stole my heart and I really want to see her do some dramas. I am a sucker for a talented actress. Also, a quick shout out to DO for his performance as a suicidal soldier. I swear he is pure magic anytime he comes on screen.
Karie the Maknae: I loved Along with the Gods. It took me a little while to get into it, but once I was in, I was fully invested. The ending is definitely a hook for the second part and I am excited for it! (Gentle Watcher Alert: Hewonmak has a little bit of a potty mouth, and the f-bomb is dropped twice.)
Kmuse: I really enjoyed this movie. I wouldn’t say it is an instant favorite but it is well worth the watch. I would give it 9/10 stars and am keeping one back simply because of the Cha Tae Hyun casting.
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Til next time,
Kmuse & Karie the Maknae
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi