Review – W – Two Worlds
Every once in a while a drama pops up with a premise so outside the box that you can’t help but love it. Even if it gets caught up in twists and turns and makes a big messy knot of its own plotline. Even if describing it to friends makes you tongue tied. Even if just trying to REMEMBER all the random turns and sharp angles and unexpected twists makes you feel crazy. Even if you could have chopped off the last five episodes and not missed anything. You forgive it. Cause… wow. The plot! The amazing, spectacular plot!
W Two Worlds is a story about a hero. A hero the likes of which only exist in our fantasies. In comic books. In graphic novels. In Korean Dramas….
This drama is full of action and adventure. It’s a mystery. It’s a thriller. It’s a science fiction show. It’s a dark fantasy and a fairy tale mixed together in a blender. It’s all over the place! And it’s fun. It’s really, really fun… cause honestly, there is NO WAY you will guess what’s going to come next. From episode to episode. It just keeps changing shape, changing genre, changing our expectations. It’s a glorious chameleon of superb and complicated writing, solid acting, and no holds barred imagination.
Our hero is the star of this show (in the general sense and in the meta sense). He’s an Olympic sharp shooter. He’s orphaned by an unspeakable crime that he’s framed for. He’s a man on a quest for vengeance. And he’s inexplicably wealthy, young, and attractive. Basic hero formula.
Only he’s NOT REAL.
He is the creation of a writer in another dimension. He is the main character in a graphic novel. The world he lives in exists for him and because of him. And his story line is about to come to an end… the writer is finishing the series and finishing off our hero with it.
But our hero is not ready to be put down!
Remember that old video to Take On Me by Ah Ha?
Rating: 8/10. A twisted, convoluted, extraordinarily fun show that proves reality is what you make it… and what it makes you.
Let’s Discuss! SPOILERS AHEAD… but not very many….
W – Two Worlds was sooo cool. SOOOO COOOL!
Okay, so there’s the writer of the graphic novel. And the writer has a daughter, a young doctor, who has been a fan of her father’s work for years. She’s disappointed to see the end of her favorite character, but also practical enough to know it’s just a story. And stories must end… or so she thought until a bloody hand reaches out of the computer screen and pulls her into the story world her father created. Welcome to another dimensional version of South Korea!
As a doctor, she is able to save the dying hero. And so the story takes on a life of its own. Writing itself with her now inside the pages. And we begin to jump back and forth between the worlds, as the characters’ awareness and understanding of their own powers and limitations within this context shifts and changes like a tide.
What is the real world? Whose story is this, anyway?
Let me just say… I LOVE THIS CONCEPT. This concept has been explored in other works… the idea that your creations take on a life of their own. In Greek mythology there is the story of Pygmalion, the sculptor who fell in love with his own statue and brought it to life. Stephen King wrote an excellent book, The Dark Half, about a writer whose book villain came to life and tried to kill him. It’s a fascinating idea and anyone who has ever created something life-like knows how strangely real your own imagination can make things. It’s a haunting thought. Are we someone else’s dream? Are our dreams walking around somewhere, independent of and yet shaped by our minds? How deep is the connection between the creator and the created? It’s the stuff that fuels our religions. It’s what keeps us writing, always perfecting and re-imagining life.
This drama pretty much takes the concept through every scenario it can think of. It took it through scenarios I never would have thought of. It reincarnated itself so many times, into so many different revisions and redrafts that I could barely keep up. But at its core, it’s the story of a hero and the average girl who falls in love with him, sucked into the drama of his existence and thus creating drama of her own.
The romance is great. I could not get over how cute this couple was together and how much I enjoyed watching them fall in love while all this dimensional madness went on around them.
The casting was perfect – these two actors have wonderful chemistry and an easy charm with each other. In fact, when they are sharing the scenes, the show works best – regardless of where they are in the story.
The supporting cast is fun, too. Not especially memorable, other than the author father, but fun. Kind of basic “filler” roles. The friend, the body guard, the sexy secretary, the coworker, etc. etc.
The writer, however… well, let’s give him a moment of praise cause he was actually amazing. Whether playing an isolated author and artist… captivated by his own creation…
Or his dimensional alternate, a cold blooded killer who will shed blood indiscriminately to move the plot line forward…
Or something inbetween the dimensional lines…
Kim Eui-Sung rocked as the man whose fantasies came to life.
The special effects were also excellent. What made them really stand out, to me, was how simple they were. And how effective that simplicity was. The speeded up progressions of time, the freezing of time, the transitioning between a digital comic to a real scene, the gateways that opened between worlds that our character’s walked through… it looked amazing!
I mean, how cool was it when the faceless killer’s voice showed up as a subtitle? Just floating in the air? That was surprisingly creepy.
And the scariest scene in The Ring was when that watery girl climbed out of the TV. It’s a shockingly simple gimick. The world behind “the box” has always been a source of terror…
I would shoot my computer too…
This show has two weaknesses and one is the hero. Or rather, the acting of the hero. Lee Jong-Suk is a great romantic lead. He’s very good at being charming, has one of the best smiles I’ve ever seen in a K-Drama, and pulls off the basics required for a romance. Convincingly. Winningly, even.
Where he fails is when he’s trying to be an action hero. Or serious. His monologues… or when he’s basically trying to discuss the plot with himself, are the worst. He’s so flat. At first, I kind of thought… “Well, maybe it’s supposed to be like that. He’s not real, after all, he doesn’t have to have emotional depth.” But that excuse didn’t fly. He never convinced me he was angry, serious, or conflicted. He didn’t have the dark side required to be a tragic hero. He just couldn’t do it. It’s a shame, really. He might grow into it with age, possibly… some actors develop this depth later. Right now he’s good at being pretty and charming and let’s face it, you can run a show on that these days. If only he wasn’t surrounded by so many veteran actors that can act, it may not have been as noticeable.
The second problem is that it got too convoluted towards the end to really be enjoyable. After a while the twist after twist after twist seemed redundant and unnecessary. I started to get restless. I wanted it to hurry up and wrap it up.
Is this enough to ruin the show? Hell no. It was just a mild annoyance, the occasional beep of a smoke detector whose battery is starting to fail.
So check it out.
It’s a super fun show. I’ve never seen any K-Drama run through so many variations of a single plot premise. It’s truly one of a kind in the world of dramas world-wide.