Nine: 9 Times Time Travel
(나인: 아홉 번의 시간 여행)
Synopsis: Park Sun Woo works as an anchorman at a TV broadcasting station. He is in love with newsreporter Joo Min Young, who is bright and honest. Park Sun Woo then obtains 9 incense items, which allows him to go back 20 years in time. Park Sun Woo travels to the past.
Country: South Korea
Genre: Mystery, fantastic
Aired: March→ May 2013
Duration: 52 min
Casting: Lee Jin Wook, Lee Sung Jun, Jo Yoon Hee, Park Hyung Shik, Jun Noh Min, Lee Yi Kyung…
Nine (나인) marked the return of the great team that had realised Queen In Hyun’s Man. Same director, same scripwriters and here we go again. Both dramas actually display lots of similarities, both in the plot and in the making. They share the same story line -even if it differs on several point- which is travel in time and are both pleasantly shot. The director used the same kind of making techniques. For example, just as in Queen In Hyun’s Man, the screen is divided when 2 characters talked on the phone. But the similarities stop here and I have to say that Nine was a great surprise cause I wasn’t expected to be that addict (even thought I had also loved Queen In Hyun’s Man).
The main strength of the drama lied in the plot that remainsed perfectly controlled from the beginning to the end. We follow the story-line written by the scriptwriters and are never lost in time (the date and time are the same whether we are in the present or past. The years only change. Furthermore we can’t get both space-time mixed up since the scenery and the sepia pictures clearly show that we are in the past when they are used). Nothing seems odd since everything is clearly explained. Each event links together in a logical way. The few clichés present in the script are completely taken on and the scriptwriters even play with them. For example Park Sun Woo makes fun of makjang drama and the recurrent themes they use (like amnesia and terrible secret birth) whereas both of those themes are presented in Nine! Despite some clumsiness at the beginning (music too overwhelming, Park Sun Woo’s disease- they scared me the hell out of me with that. Hello cliché!- etc…), the drama finally managed to find its own speed along the episodes.
The scriptwriters take their time to set up the plot. We are immersed in a mysterious, almost magical atmosphere, with the first sequences of the drama and the natural landscape of Nepal. Little by little the suspense appears, giving birth to numerous cliffhangers. Changing the past is dangerous. Yet our hero seems ready to take this risk. Our choices shape the present in which we live and altering them can turn out quite fatal. That’s the key point of the drama. All the story turns around this one and only question: is this capacity of going back in time a curse or a gift? We witness powerless -just as our hero- to the unpredictable turn of events. Park Sun Woo’s actions in the past can have positive but also negative consequences on the present and that was what made this drama so awesome! I had constantly that face: O__O Everything was possible keeping us us out of breath by doing so. Of course, the characters played an important role in the success of such plot.
Park Sun Woo (Lee Jin Wook) was my favourite character. And I think Lee Jin Wook was not for nothing in this favouritism (for the ones who also love him I strongly advise I Need a Romance 2 :3). If physically I was under his charm, I wasn’t as enthusiast with his performance at the beginning. In my opinion his character didn’t ring true in the two firsts episodes. But after that it improved and we quickly fell under his spell. I have to say that Park Sun Woo is not exactly the easiest character to play and in the end Lee Jin Wook managed to make a wonderful work out of him.
I loved the evolution of this character and how he gained depht and density little by little. My first impression of him wasn’t that great. Arrogant and self-confident, I was quite disconcerted by his behaviour toward Joo Min Young. But we finally learn to know him and we understand that it’s, in fact, only an outward appearance. Park Sun Woo hides behind his smile, lies and ironic reply his true feelings. He holds everything in and especially when it’s for the good of the ones he loves (it’s actually in those moments that we realise his real affection for Joo Min Young). Most of the time he struggles alone. But luckily, his best friend is there to listen his secrets and defuse the time bomb he would have became by keeping all inside like he does. But what I mostly love was his perseverance to always want to fix everything despite the risks. >>>>>SPOILER– Until the end he never thinks of him and is always concerned about others. The scene where he asks Shi Ah (the young Joo Min Young) to promise him to never approach in the future the man that will look exactly like him because there’s a good chance that he will ruin her life, was deeply moving–SPOILER<<<<<. And to conclude (I swear this is the last comment on that character) I liked his intelligence. Finally we have a hero that knows how to use his brain and don’t go headstrong off in all direction. (no I’m not talking about you Shin Jung Tae from Inspiring generation). He takes into account his mistakes and analyses it to avoid to repeat the same.
I was quite surprised by Park Hyun Shik’s performance. I’m always wary of idols as actors (I prefer to watch a drama with unknown actors rather that one full of idols). But he did quite well and we easily buy him as the young version of Park Sun Woo.
The female character was actually, quite secondary even though she was important. Joo Min Young was a really sweet heroine. Always cheerful, she was the opposite of Park Sun Woo. I really enjoyed her chemistry with him. The love story was as cute as the one in Queen In Hyun’s Man. Oh one thing that I have to mention! We get the right to see real french kisses in this drama! That changes from the poor little kiss that we see most of time in teenage drama and rom-com (you know the one where the girl gawks like an idiot because the guy barely touches her lips -.-). Their conversation were always great especially when Park Sun Woo gently teased her, half smiling. The only slight note was the few silly sentences that cut off those good moments like “Fool, I got you. You’re mine now” (please can someone just kill me?). And you should see that in context it’s even more cheesy! Luckily for me, there were not many sentences like that (ouf!). The actress Jo Yoon He offered a good performance. She managed to display strong emotions whether she was surprised, embarrassed, sad or happy.
I liked Park Sun Woo’s best friend -Han Young Hoon (Lee Seung Jun)- a lot. Very down-to-earth, he was the character who brough some humour to the drama. His friendship with Park Sun Woo was really moving and above all credible. He is often worried for his friend and doesn’t hesitate to reprimand him repeatedly (a surprising behaviour since in the everyday life it’s his wife that has to constantly bring him back to earth). Han Young Hoon is without doubt the cornerstone of our hero. He never gives him up. Their friendship survives no matter how crazy going back in time is (“For being a true friend to me every time for every life. To you, I’m thankful“ ep19- Park Sun Woo to Han Young Hoon). Their bromance was one of my favorite in dramaland. Lee Sung Jun hamed for a bit but it finally matched well with his scenes. Honestly who would not react like him seeing someone coming back from the dead? That was the feature I liked the most because he actually reacted like everyone would. The actors that played the young version of this character was nice too and fell in with the adult version.
Park Jung Woo is without any doubt the unluckiest character of the drama. For nothing in the world I would have liked to have his life. I had conflicting feeling for him. I was constantly swaying between annoyance and pity. So yes, his past was not all rosy but I was frustrated to see him being such a coward. In fact it was all because of him that this story of “going back in time” began. But he always repeats the same mistakes. He feels guilty during the whole drama and we never see him trying to fight back (except in the two lasts episodes -.- finally!). He constantly runs away. His cowardice was always putting Park Sin Woo in difficult situation. I would have liked to see him evolve a bit more. On the actor’s side both the young version (Seo Woo Jin) and the adult one (Jun Noh Min) did well. And thank goodness! I’d have smashed my computer if in addition this character had been badly played.
Let’s talk about the mean guy now. Well it’s not all rosy here neither. Choi Jin Cheol is the kind of bad guy I hate to meet in dramas. He is a lousy swine from A to Z. I felt NO sympathy for him. He was both ridiculous and pathetic. I have to say that the actor’s performance was not for nothing in my non-affection for this character. Jeong Dong Hwan must be one of the old hand I like the less in the acting world. He always plays detestable role (Heirs for example… finger crossed for Endless Love >_< I really hope he will have a different role). I don’t know what happened in this drama but it was probably one of his worst performance. His face’s expressions were exaggerated as far as possible, making him not credible. As a result I had the feeling to constantly see him with this face:
I can’t conclude this review without talking about the end that is, in my opinion, amazing. I prefer those kind of ending rather the ones dramas tend to use (you know the “…years later” banner). This open ending allows everyone of us to imagine the end we want. I’m not gonna write my version of facts cause I don’t want to raise any debate. But if someone wants to talk about it I’ll be really glad to answer.
Finally, the drama seems to tell us that it’s better to be satisfied with the present than regret the past (and try to change it if we had the possibility). This show is in fact really similar to the Butterfly Effects. If you like to be surprised, if you like suspense etc…this drama is definitely for you.
Note de Whoovy : 10/10
Note de Dushbadou : 10/10
Note finale : 10/10