Occasionally there are movies that come out and you fervently pray that your theater will be one of those special screens showing it in the US. Such is the blockbuster Korean movie Along With the Gods: 49 Days. Join us as we discuss if this movie was worth all the hype and the effort it took to actually go to the theater in our latest Fangirl Movie Review.
SYNOPSIS: Angels of death Gang Rim (Ha Jung-Woo), Hae Won Maek (Ju Ji-Hoon) and Duk Choon (Kim Hyang-Gi) are about to take part in Soo-Hong’s (Kim Dong-Wook) trial. The 3 angels of death meet God of House (Ma Dong-Seok). He remembers their past which stretches over 1,000 years ago. Traveling between this world and the next world and the past, the angels of death try to find their secret relationship. (Asianwiki)
Kmuse: Three reapers have 49 days to prove that their charge, Soo Hong (a character from the first movie), is a paragon and was killed unjustly. They must also reap a grandfather who has a protective house god guarding his lifespan. If they fail then they forfeit their own reincarnation. This screenwriter’s ability to weave multiple storylines together into a single narrative is pure brilliance. I was engaged every step of the way. Also, while you can easily watch and enjoy this movie on its own, I highly recommend watching Along With the Gods: Two Worlds first. It makes the events of the second movie so much more satisfying and meaningful. Not to mention it is a great film in its own right.
Karie the Maknae: Along with the Gods: 49 Days lived up to my expectations and more. I have to agree with Kmuse–the interwoven storylines were brilliantly put together, much like the best kdramas. I predicted a few plot twists, but only about two minutes before they were revealed, which means they weren’t really predictions, I think. The writing was just that good, that I was able to follow exactly where the story was leading.
Drama Geek: I wasn’t sure what to expect with it being a sequel, since many of them end up being the same formula and similar plot. I am happy to report that they were able to build on the first movie, and then expand to make this an even stronger narrative, in my opinion.
Kmuse: While I was researching for this blog post I discovered that the director and screenwriter are the same person. How flipping awesome is that? No wonder the film felt that the director and writer were of one mind. They actually were. I have nothing but praise for someone that can make their idea/film come to life in the way Kim Yong Hwa has.
Karie the Maknae: The incredible depictions of the underworld had me fascinated, especially because while I got a sense of the suffering the damned were going through, it wasn’t grotesque. And the huge landscapes and unusual creatures were just this side of weird–they were unsettling, as they should be, but without being repulsive. But the people of the story felt real, providing a great contrast between the landscape and the characters.
Drama Geek: What I loved is the shift between otherworldly and then the mundane with the grandfather and his grandson. One felt epic and intricate, while the real world felt lived in and almost comforting. Then during the flashback scenes the landscape used helped the feeling of desolation hit home.
Kmuse: There was not one character that wasn’t layered and necessary. Even the snarky lawyers that tried to disprove the paragon’s virtue were perfectly developed. By the end of the movie I felt like I was emotionally linked to everyone’s stories and I wanted to just continue watching what happens next. Is it to early to pray for a 3rd movie in the franchise?
Karie the Maknae: Every character was so well done. I loved Hewonmak even more as his full story was revealed, and came to really admire Duk Choon’s heart and perseverance. I’d admired Gang Lim in Along with the Gods: Two Worlds for his fantastic leadership and ability to see to the heart of a situation. The incredible depth his character received in this movie added new insights into his character. I won’t say they made me like him more, but I will say that they created a complicated story arc that gave me pause and made me appreciate the writer’s phenomenal storytelling ability. Also, Ma Dong Seok as the cute household god was fantastic. I love him in everything I’ve seen him in, because he can give his characters such layers. He really did justice to this role.
Drama Geek: Here is where this movie really excelled over the first. By weaving in each of our main characters’ backstory, it gave a depth to the movie. I also felt that Ji Hoon hit it out of the park in his flashback scenes. I am now DYING for a drama with him from this era. I could almost picture him peeing on a fire ala Grassland Hottie style. He truly embodied the more barbaric type character, then went all soft hero. All while being his peacock haired angel of death in the present-day scenes.
Kmuse: I also liked how the reapers were connected in life as well as death. There were no huge reveals that I didn’t see coming from a mile away but somehow that didn’t matter. The plot twists were doused in feelings which made even the simplest moment matter a hundred times more than it usually would.
Karie the Maknae: Kim Su Hong, the paragon who was getting escorted as the guardians/reapers were learning about their paths, cracked me up. He was a little uneven–sometimes snarky, sometimes the uptight prosecutor, sometimes the outraged soldier–but he was still a delight to watch, despite not being the main focus of the story.
Drama Geek: Su Hung was such a delight to watch play off of Gang Rim. I must look up this actor. What I loved about both movies is the humanity within the movie that was coupled with humor. I laughed a lot, and got a little misty a few times.
Kmuse: Usually we stay spoiler free in this segment but I loved the movie so much I just want to keep chatting away. So for those of you who want to remain unspoiled jump past this segment to the final thoughts. If you have seen the movie be sure to let us know your favorite moment in the comments section!
What was your favorite moment of the movie?
Kmuse: The moment that sticks out the most (and there were a ton of contenders for this title) is when the reaper Hae Won Maek learned his backstory. The adorable ego and posing when he discovered out he was a mighty warrior in his past life was hilarious. I also cried when he realized how his fellow reapers were connected to his life and death. Did I mention already that I loved their stories?
Karie the Maknae: Gang Lim’s almost reversed character growth arc was so brilliantly revealed that by the time I figured out he was the bad guy in his own story, I almost clapped for the writer. Which would have been awkward, since we were definitely NOT to a clapping point in the movie. That was absolutely my favorite part out of many, many favorite parts.
Drama Geek: I have to say I was a bit taken with the flashback scenes and what sticks in my mind the most is when Duk Choon’s past character realizes who her beloved savior really was, and the forgiveness and sacrifice that happens between them.
Kmuse: I give this movie a 10/10 and feel that everyone should try and go see it. Or, if you can’t find it in a theater near you, check Walmart.com in a few months to buy it on DVD. It is well worth the effort and money. And if you buy it on DVD you can treat yourself to a five hour moviethon covering both films. What could be a better use of your time?
Karie the Maknae: I agree with Kmuse wholeheartedly. I’ll be buying Along with the Gods: 49 Days on Google Play as soon as it’s released and rewatching it with my older girls again and again. I’m so glad a third and fourth movie are being considered!
Drama Geek: I agree, this is a must see for drama watchers. I can’t wait for the next one!
Til our next movie adventure,
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi