Book Review: RANDOMNESS INSIDE MY HEAD

My dear third cousin went to the same university with me, but we never really got connected with each other until a few years ago when I visited her and her family abroad.

She has been a great supporter, a comforter, and an honest critic for my works. It’s been a tremendous joy to answer her questions regarding the backgrounds and the plots in my first book, because those questions make me think more, contemplate more, and write better.

Today I am deeply humbled to have her reviewing “Randomness Inside My Head” (2016).

Enjoy!

http://blog.compactbyte.com/2017/09/01/review-buku-randomness-in-my-head/

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Masih Tentang Nam Joo Hyuk dan Bride of The Water God

Mengapa saya menaruh foto dari manhwa Bride of The Water God karya Yoon Mi Kyung di awal post ini? Karena menurut saya cerita manhwa BOTWG jauh lebih bagus dari versi dramanya yang baru tamat di tvN tanggal 22 Agustus lalu.

Saya sudah pernah mereview drama ini setelah selesai menonton 7 episode pertama (link: https://rijotobing.wordpress.com/2017/07/25/review-drama-korea-bride-of-the-water-god/). Dalam review tersebut saya optimis versi drama akan memiliki jalan cerita yang tidak kalah menarik dari versi manhwa. Perbedaan mendasar antara drama dan manhwa sudah terlihat sejak episode pertama, di mana So Ah aslinya adalah gadis yang dikorbankan untuk membuat Dewa Air, Habaek, menurunkan hujan di suatu desa yang sedang kekeringan. Di dalam drama, So Ah adalah seorang psikiater keturunan dari keluarga yang sudah berjanji akan melayani para dewa seumur hidup mereka. Episode ke-8 dibuka dengan Habaek yang baru sadar kalau koordinat yang dia cari ternyata terpatri di peta Vanuatu yang selalu dibawa So Ah di sakunya. Setelah itu Habaek bertemu dengan Dewa Bumi yang sempat kehilangan ingatan (kota Seoul begitu luas, tapi bisa ya mereka bertemu di satu titik di taman itu). Setelah ingatannya kembali, Dewa Bumi memberikan batu dewa miliknya kepada Habaek sehingga tidak ada lagi alasan buat Habaek untuk tetap tinggal di dunia manusia. Adegan yang meluluhkan hati di episode ini adalah saat So Ah memeluk Habaek dari belakang sambil menangis karena dia tidak ingin Habaek kembali ke Negeri Air.

Jalan ceritanya masih bagus ya?

Yuk, kita lanjut. Setelah itu mulailah tarik-ulur perasaan antara So Ah dan Habaek. So Ah ga berani mengakui perasaannya pada Habaek, dia tahu Habaek akan segera meninggalkannya, dia tidak ingin bergantung pada Habaek dan kemudian dikecewakan (seperti ayahnya dulu mengecewakan dia), dia berulang-ulang bilang ingin ada perpisahan yang indah antara mereka berdua, tapi … semua tindak-tanduknya tidak menunjukkan kerelaan hati yang sebenarnya. Lain di mulut, lain di sikap gitu lho. Gemes kan? Habaek juga sama aja. Ga berani menyatakan perasaan secara langsung, cuma nanya: bolehkah aku memulainya? Habis itu dia mabuk-mabukan ditemani Bi Ryeom dan meracau sampai meluk So Ah segala. Drama Korea ya, mau tokoh utama ceritanya adalah dewa atau manusia pasti ada satu adegan frustasi-mabuk-mengakui perasaan. Betapa membosankan. Setelah itu banyak adegan di mana mereka seperti pacaran: membersihkan rumah sama-sama, ketemuan di cafe, punya mug couple (#eaaaa), bikin gimbap sama-sama untuk rencana piknik di tepi pantai. Apa daya sebelum mereka pergi ke pantai Moo Ra datang dan menculik So Ah. Di atas sebuah gedung sangat tinggi yang sering jadi lokasi syuting drama ini (saya penasaran dengan nama gedungnya), Moo Ra memberitahu So Ah tentang Nak Bin.

Siapakah Nak Bin?

Nak Bin di manhwa adalah istri pertama Habaek. Latar belakangnya sama dengan di drama: seorang gadis yang dikorbankan untuk Habaek dan ternyata Habaek malah jatuh cinta padanya. Di drama dijelaskan kalau Nak Bin mengkhianati Habaek dengan cara bersekongkol dengan Raja dari Negeri Langit. Raja itu menjanjikan hidup abadi pada Nak Bin asalkan dia membantunya untuk merebut kekuasaan dari Habaek yang sudah ditakdirkan untuk menjadi kaisar negeri para dewa. Di manhwa Nak Bin tidak mati; dia hidup sebagai zombie dan tidak bisa meninggalkan Negeri Langit karena jiwanya ditahan oleh Raja Negeri Langit. Di drama, Habaek tidak memaafkan Nak Bin walaupun Nak Bin beralasan dia ingin hidup abadi supaya dia bisa terus bersama Habaek, dan Nak Bin pun dibunuh dengan cara ditenggelamkan di laut. Tidak hanya itu, Sri Ratu negeri para dewa (ga jelas apakah ini ibunya Habaek) memaksa kakak laki-laki dari Nak Bin dan semua keturunannya untuk bersumpah menjadi pelayan para dewa. Nah, So Ah adalah keturunan dari kakak laki-laki Nak Bin itu. Apakah So Ah cemburu dengan kisah cinta pertama Habaek? Sepertinya iya. Yang jelas dia menyuruh Habaek untuk segera kembali ke Negeri Air dan dia berpura-pura kalau dia baik-baik saja. Yeah, right. Di sini akting So Ah bagus deh; dia benar-benar keliatan sekuat tenaga menyembunyikan kesedihannya. Entah karena make-up atau akting yang kuat, yang jelas wajahnya memang keliatan jadi lebih kusam dan kurus selama masa dia ditinggal Habaek.

Oya, Habaek kembali lagi ke dunia manusia, lho.

Wait, what? Bukankah dia ke dunia manusia untuk mengambil tiga batu dewa terus harus kembali ke Negeri Air untuk pengukuhan tahtanya?

Ternyata oh ternyata Habaek dikasih tugas lagi sama pendeta tertinggi untuk mencari jawaban kenapa ketiga batu dewa sengaja diletakkan di dunia manusia. Apakah Habaek berhasil menemukan jawabannya? ENGGAK TUH. Sejak Habaek kembali ke rumah So Ah, kerjaannya pacaraaannnn melulu. Dan konyolnya saat dia datang untuk kedua kali dia tetap menjadi seorang dewa tanpa kekuatan supranatural. Kekuatan dia yang menciptakan perisai air untuk melindungi So Ah waktu So Ah terancam bahaya hanya ditunjukkan dua kali di episode-episode awal. Sesudah itu Habaek cuma duduk di belakang setir, ga jelas sehari-harinya ngapain. So Ah juga begitu, ga jelas kerja atau enggak di kliniknya. Tiba-tiba udah malam aja dan mereka bertemu di gang yang menuju rumah So Ah (adegan Habaek menunggu So Ah di bawah lampu jalan memang sangat romantis sih. Hati saya aja bergetarrrr).

Udah mulai bosan?

Sama. Karena perpindahan antar adegannya ga halus dan tarik-ulur antara Habaek dan So Ah terlalu lama. Saya udah pengen teriak ke HP saya: putuskan dong, mereka bisa bersama atau enggak. Fakta #1: Habaek itu dewa, dia hidup abadi dan tidak akan pernah menua dan mati, dia harus kembali ke Negeri Air karena tanpa Negeri Air dia akan mati (begitu pula sebaliknya). Fakta #2: So Ah itu manusia, dia menua dan suatu saat dia akan mati, dia tidak bisa ikut Habaek ke Negeri Air. Kalau begitu jelas kan kesimpulannya, pisahkan saja mereka berdua. Eh tapi eng-ing-eng di episode 15 dan 16 mulai keliatan titik terang solusi jalan tengah yang dipikirkan oleh So Ah.

Apakah itu?

Begini, Habaek hanya bisa mengabulkan satu keinginan So Ah yang paling-paling dia inginkan. Dan So Ah tahu kalaupun dia hidup lama dia hanya akan hidup 40 – 50 tahun lagi (usianya sekarang 30 tahun). Jadi …, dia mengusulkan supaya pengokohan Habaek sebagai kaisar negeri para dewa ditunda sampai dia meninggal. Selama 40 – 50 tahun ke depan dia minta Habaek tinggal bersama dia di dunia manusia, karena apalah artinya sekian tahun itu dibandingkan umur Habaek yang sudah 3.000 tahun?

I was like … WHAT???

Solusinya segitu simple? Benarkah? Apa ga terpikir oleh PD-nim untuk memberikan jawaban terhadap hal-hal yang mungkin terjadi jika mereka berdua ini bersama?

  1. Oleh karena Habaek tidak menua, kebayang ga gimana penampilan pasangan ini waktu So Ah jadi nenek-nenek dan Habaek tetap muda dan singset?
  2. Terus, gimana dengan anak? Bukankah demigod seperti CEO Shin dilarang keberadaannya. Jadi So Ah dan Habaek ga boleh punya anak dong, kalau ya anak itu akan dinamai So Chi (disgrace) seperti nama CEO Shin waktu kecil.
  3. Udah gitu kebayang ga apa yang akan terjadi dengan Habaek setelah So Ah meninggal? Dia akan melupakan So Ah dan jatuh cinta dengan wanita baru yang kemungkinan besar masih ada hubungan keluarga dengan Nak Bin (lihat saja Habaek yang dua kali jatuh cinta dengan dua wanita dimana wanita pertama adalah nenek moyang yang hidup 1.200 tahun sebelum wanita kedua). IYUH! Menyedihkan ya hidup jadi dewa, fisiknya selama beribu-ribu tahun tidak mengalami perubahan tapi cinta yang diberikan harus berubah sesuai dengan wanita yang tersedia pada saat itu.

Aku benar-benar kecewa dengan penutup dari drama ini. Dan juga kecewa dengan Habaek yang sangat mengumbar nafsu seksualnya. Tidak seperti kebanyakan drama korea yang minim adegan ranjang dan adegan-adegan ciumannya pun bisa dibilang indah dan romantis, NJH di BOTWG mah sangat nyosor. Sebel liatnya. Yang cukup menghibur hati adalah kemajuan hubungan antara Moo Ra dan Bi Ryeom. Wow, Krystal dan Gong Myung cakep deh; aku jadi fans baru mereka (*wink*). CEO Shin sayang sekali sampai episode akhir tetap jadi karakter yang ga kuat. Saya kira dia benar-benar akan jadi saingan Habaek untuk memperebutkan So Ah, tapi ternyata tidak begitu. Walaupun dia sudah didorong-dorong supaya jadi jahat beneran oleh Bi Ryeom, CEO Shin tetap jadi orang baik. Ah, karakter dia sama sekali tidak meninggalkan kesan yang mendalam.

Drama yang idenya mungkin bagus (spin-off dari manhwa), tapi sayangnya script-nya lemah, karakterisasi tokoh-tokohnya lemah, dialognya lemah, dan akting bintang-bintangnya pun lemah. Ditambah dengan product placement yang terlalu sering, jadilah drama ini penuh gangguan dan kurang fokus. Kopi instant merk Kanu dan Maxim BERKALI-KALI di-close up di 8 episode terakhir. Terus, di dalam drama ini banyak sekali kalimat “Apa yang kamu bicarakan?”, “Apa yang kamu maksud?”, seakan-akan semua pemeran drama ini memiliki masalah pendengaran sehingga suatu pernyataan/pertanyaan harus diulang berkali-kali. Rating drama ini terbilang sangat rendah dibandingkan drama NJH sebelumnya (Weighlifting Fairy: Kim Bok Joo) dengan angka maksimal di 3.5% untuk episode ke-6 (saya harus akui, episode 6 itu memang paling bagus: ceritanya padat, pace-nya tepat, aktingnya kuat), dan minimal di angka 2.3% untuk episode ke-15 (wah, ini saya sangat setuju. Nonton episode 15 bikin saya ga sabar supaya drama ini cepat berakhir. Bukan karena saya penasaran dengan kesimpulan ceritanya, tapi karena saya harus menyelesaikan apa yang saya sudah mulai tonton).

Demikianlah review dari saya. Hal positif yang saya dapat: melihat Krystal dan Gong Myungyang seperti bintang yang mulai bersinar. Hal negatif: akting dan penampilan Nam Joo Hyuk yang seperti terjun bebas dari drama sebelumnya. Lalu bagaimana dengan Shin Se Kyung yang memerankan So Ah? Apakah saya terkesan dengannya?

Shin Se who?

Movie Review: Cars 3

“Cars 3” is a typical Disney family movie with good vs. evil/bad/bully and a happy ending for everyone. The difference this movie had was the happy ending came with an unexpected twist. Do you still remember the movie “Cars” back in 2006? I watched it on Netflix 10 years after the first installment was out, and I was still very much entertained. Until now I can’t say that I’m familiar with the movie characters and story lines. All I know that whenever my kids get invited to birthday parties, they often come home with the face of Lightning McQueen, the Rust-eze race car number 95, on their goodie bags.

In 2017, Lightning McQueen was not as fast, as heroic, as amazing as he was. The movie opened with McQueen meditating before a race, joking around with his fellow veteran racers, and getting ready to take on the 500 laps. He was leading until right before the finish line a rookie racer, a new car dubbed Jackson Storm, went faster than McQueen did and won the race. McQueen was taken aback by the fact that a rookie beat him and he didn’t see it coming. Storm, being arrogant and such, bragged to the reporters about looking up to McQueen as his childhood hero and he suggested McQueen to just retire, because the race track now belonged to the newer and more modern cars.

Storm’s statement got me thinking: how old was Lightning McQueen actually? In one scene, it was stated that he was a childhood hero of a car-kid. In another scene, the soon-to-be his trainer, Cruz Ramirez, said that she had seen him racing on TV since her grandfather’s days. Was McQueen that old? Well, I guessed car age was supposed to be different than human age. After the shocking result of the race, McQueen went back to his hometown and tried to think through about the meaning of being old and needing to retire. His friend, Sally, encouraged him to go back to Rust-eze, which he did, only to find that Rust-eze was already sold to Sterling. Sterling as the new owner wanted McQueen to train like the rookies, with simulators and a dedicated trainer. There came the role of Cruz Ramirez, a female (although the name suggested it’s a male) racing car trainer who was responsible to increase McQueen’s speed to match Storm’s.

It’s interesting to see how McQueen training under Cruz, and to see Cruz exercising her claimed competences as a trainer. First of all, she’s not a racer herself, and that made her, I think, lacking the credibility to teach other cars to race. She might be good in theories, but I could tell that she lacked the intuitions and she couldn’t embrace the unknown factors in racing. That was shown when she accompanied McQueen practicing racing on the beach. Seeing her reminded me of the teachers I had back in school, who were never involved in any kind of industry but were supposed to teach us about industry and its complexities. McQueen and Cruz started to get to know each other and she admitted to him that she wanted to be a race car. She participated in a race once and right there she knew that she couldn’t do it. She asked McQueen how he knew that he was meant to be a race car. McQueen’s answer was a total gem: “I never thought that I couldn’t.” And that, people, was one of the best motivational quotes I’d ever heard coming from a cartoon character.

McQueen underwent several peculiar ways to gain back his confidence, including taking part in some village’s phenomenal race in the mud, and finding Smokey who was once a mentor to Doc, McQueen’s mentor. I particularly liked how Smokey and the other veteran cars encouraged McQueen to get his head back in the game by providing him with the basic training, i.e. driving in the middle of the woods without any headlamps on (they only relied on the moonbeam to show them the way), and driving through a herd of car-cows (I must say that it’s hilarious to see cars in the shape of cows. My kids and I rolled out with laughter all through this scene). During McQueen’s training with Smokey, Cruz was appointed to be his training partner and in doing so I believed she found again her long-forgotten passion for racing. Cruz unintentionally got a firsthand training on how to become a racer; a trainer who got trained by a real racer to be a real racer and not merely a teacher. That’s interesting.

The day of the racing arrived; McQueen, Cruz, and the rest went to Florida to participate in the racing which would determine what McQueen would be doing next. Would he lose and be forced into retirement, and have to spend the rest of his car life selling car-related cleaning products? Or would he win and be given other opportunities by Sterling as his new sponsor? Even right before the race started, McQueen hadn’t gotten back his confidence. He didn’t race wholeheartedly, was very much influenced by what Storm had been saying to him during the race to mess up with his head. The funny thing was, he suddenly decided that it was his time to step back and let someone who’s actually been prepared for the race to take his place. On the pit stop McQueen told his team to prepare Cruz to race for him. They quickly painted the number “95” on her, ignoring the protests and discouragement from Sterling, her boss, who kept saying that she’s supposed to be a trainer and not a racer. Second moral lesson here; don’t let anyone put you and your dreams down. We can do much more things than we can think of as long as we have the confidence.

So, to the end of the movie Cruz was racing in McQueen’s place. Before the finish line, she went body to body with Storm. She tried hard to ignore Storm’s mocking her as just a girl in the custom (kind of reminded me of the “Wonder Woman” movie), drifted with him, flipped over him, and won the race. McQueen and Cruz won the trophy and he confirmed himself as her trainer from now on, just like the late Doc did for him. Third moral of the story, know yourself and know when to let it go. I had expected the movie to end with McQueen winning the race and claiming back his long profound glory, but the twist went unexpectedly with Cruz shining as a rookie racer and McQueen volunteering to train her.

The plot holes were only when Rust-eze was suddenly sold to Sterling, and when it suddenly dawned on McQueen that he had unintentionally trained Cruz to be a racing car and not the other way around. I had suspected that Sterling also sponsored Storm and he just wanted money from both racers. I guessed I forgot that “Cars 3” was a children movie after all, and an ulterior motive would be hard to understand by children. And I didn’t expect McQueen’s realization would come so suddenly in the middle of the race when he was supposed to focus more on winning. Oh well, just like I said, the happy ending came with an unexpected twist. It was an okay movie for me, a wonderful movie for the kids. After accompanying the kids watching “Cars 3” and accompanying my husband watching a horror movie “Annabelle: Creation” yesterday, I’m determined to go back to my original taste of movie.

“Battleship Island” starring Song Joong Ki, I’m coming for you tomorrow!

Date Afternoon

My husband took a day off from work today after two consecutive weeks of traveling abroad. Our eldest left for school at 7 AM and finished at 3 PM. Our youngest left for school much later, at 11.15 AM and came home at the same time as his sister. I was supposed to go to Bogor to run some errands this morning, but (as usual) I slept very late last night, causing me to miss my taekwondo class and lose all interest to drive for hours (approximately 2.5 hours one way) to get there. Why would I leave the house if my husband, whom I hadn’t met in two weeks and whom I hadn’t dated properly in about eight years since our eldest was born, was staying at home all day? I’d rather do something more worthwhile for me and for the rest of the family, than sit in my car and get stuck in the traffic jam.

So in the morning I raided our wardrobe, got all of our clothes on the bed, and kind of forced my husband to choose which clothes to keep and which clothes to donate. It took us some good 1.5 hours to go through each shirt, short, etc. etc. and we ended up with three laundry bags. After the closet cleaning and downsizing, we hurriedly left for the theater. The movie option was either “Atomic Blonde” starring Charlize Theron or “Annabelle: Creation” starring unpopular actors.

For your information, he is an avid fan of horror movies. I mean, a really devoted fan up to the point he’s not easily scared anymore. Every time he’s watching this genre, he could pretty much predict the plots, started to guess the action sequences and the main ghosts, and eventually googled the “behind the scenes” acts. How odd. The last time he watched a horror was last year (The Conjuring 2), when I had stubbornly refused to go with him because I saw no point of paying somebody to scare me off. He ended up going with a colleague and, to my surprise, they had a wonderful time. The colleague moved to another city and my husband lost a companion to watch horror movie. Until today. I didn’t know how he talked me into it, perhaps by reminding me how terrible Charlize Theron was in Fast & Furious 8 because he just saw that movie last weekend during his flight home and he read the movie review I wrote. We were very disappointed with Charlize Theron that we became skeptical if her newest movie was any good. Long before it came out, I read somewhere that “Atomic Blonde” was supposed to be the female version of “John Wick”. Huh. Nothing compares to Keanu Reeves, and I pretty much doubted Ms. Theron could surpass the golden standard Mr. Reeves had created for this genre. To make it short, I decided to give the horror movie a go.

The last time I watched a horror movie was in 2006, also with my husband (then my boyfriend). It was “The Grudge 2” and I couldn’t sleep for days after we went to see it. For our date this afternoon, I brought along the kids’ blanket from our car just in case it got too cold inside the theater. Nah. The truth was, I brought it because I was already scared to death even before the movie started. We bought popcorn to distract my mind from being too tensed. It didn’t work. I couldn’t eat anything; I was afraid that I would choke while I was eating because the ghost made me scream every now and then. My head throbbed, I had neck and shoulders pain because I was terrified by the movie. Do you want to know what it was about?

It was about the daughter of Samuel Mullins, a wooden doll maker, who died young at the age of 7 due to a car accident. The beginning of the movie portrayed how well Samuel did his job, how happy he was playing with Annabelle and his wife, and how devoted Christians they were. One Sunday on their way home from church, their car broke down. Mrs. Mullins, on her attempt to stop a passing car to help them, didn’t realize that Annabelle was running to the middle of the street to chase a bolt gliding from her father’s car. The scene was closed with a loud thud and it moved forward to 12 years later. Annabelle’s graveyard with a cross with her name written on it was the first scene before a car filled with a priest, a nun, and six orphaned girls was shown traveling to the home of the Mullins. The youngest of the group were Janice, whose legs were limping due to polio, and Linda. The other four girls seemed bigger and much older than these two. The nun and the girls were welcomed to stay at the Mullins with restriction; they could never go to that one room on the second floor. “It is locked and it will stay that way,” said Samuel Mullins. Mrs. Mullins was unable to walk, spent her days in her bedroom, and she rang the bell every time she needed assistance from her husband.

That was just the preface. The problem started when Janice broke the rule and went into the room of the late Annabelle. There she freed the scary, kid-human sized doll in a white dress which was previously locked inside the closet with pages from the Bible plastered all over the door. The dead Annabelle then started to scare Janice off in order to acquire her soul, and one night the evil spirit threw her from the second to the first floor, causing Janice to be unable to walk permanently. She had been trying to tell Sister Charlotte, the nun, that an evil spirit was present inside the house, but the Sister didn’t believe her. Nobody did (like typical horror movie). The evil finally took Janice’s soul away, and started its hunting spree on the other girls. The focus of the story then shifted to Linda and how brave she was to defend herself. She even took the scary doll to the field, threw it into an old, abandoned well, in a vain hope that it would stop disturbing everyone inside the Mullins house. The doll, of course, escaped the well, managed to kill the Mullins couple, harmed Sister Charlotte, and almost killed one of the remaining four girls (Nancy). How did the story end? Did the doll kill everyone? Did it escape the exorcism performed by Sister Charlotte? You’d better see it by yourself, because writing about the plots right now just gave me the goose bumps once again.

I meant it when I said that it’s ridiculous to pay somebody to scare me off. I think paying to watch a horror movie is one of the worst ways to spend money. Unlike romance or crime genres, horror genre is something I can’t grasp and enjoy for any reason at all. Lucky us, there were only fifteen people inside the theater; otherwise I would have been kicked out from it because I screamed too often. The movie was heart-pounding, nerve-wrecking, and making me want to puke. I really thought the worst actors to play the roles of criminals and ghosts are children. They’re supposed to be innocent but the characters they’re playing were displaying extreme evil that I couldn’t stand it. It felt pretty much the same with when I watched “Logan” and saw mutant kids killing the soldiers hunting them. It’s not right; it’s not supposed to be like that.

For those who are into horror movies, I can only relay to you the opinion of my husband. He said that the movie was not as exciting as “The Conjuring 2”, which was actually meant to be the sequel of “Annabelle: Creation”. The last scenes of “Annabelle” did reveal the opening to “The Conjuring 2”. He also said that the movie was kind of predictable, in terms of the number of ghosts and from where they appeared. Believe me, when he made this review he put on a poker face while I quietly trembled because I could still see the scenes replaying in my head. My husband joked that my cycle to watch a horror movie is probably every 11 years (2006, 2017, and perhaps 2028), just like the 12-year cycle in “Annabelle”. To that joke I feverishly shook my head and replied, “Sorry, but I’m so done with horror movie.” I really love him, but he will need to find another companion to watch this genre.

Movie Review: War for The Planet of The Apes

The only reason I went to see this movie was because Dunkirk was showing much later last Saturday night. Many times I don’t really think about a movie’s rating and reviews before watching it in the theater. Be it romantic comedy, superheroes, or thriller suspense movies, as long as I’m drawn to the actors I would very much go, see, and judge for myself. I had expected War for The Planet of The Apes (WFTPOTA) to be a laid back movie, packed with superb and breath-taking actions only. Boy, how could I be so wrong? Fifteen minutes into the movie and I thought, oh crap, it’s mostly a silent film, something I always find distasteful because I like listening to people’s voice and how their emotions are conveyed through it. And more to that, WFTPOTA made me think and contemplate when I just wanted to relax and chew my popcorn.

Caesar, the leader of the apes in this movie, could speak English and so could some of his apes companions/enemies, while the other apes used sign language to communicate with each other and with Caesar. Two subtitles (apes language to English and English to Bahasa Indonesia) were present around seventy percents of the movie. The sentences presented were simple, leaving me to wonder whether these proclaimed intelligent apes were actually intelligent. I watched Rise of The Planet of The Apes (2011) simply because James Franco was starring in it. It was a good enough action movie, not forcing me to think much. I didn’t watch the second installment, Dawn of The Planet of The Apes (2014), and it’s a contributing factor why I felt this movie was difficult to understand without seeing the previous installments.

The number of apes was increasing, they became smarter than humans, they’re wiping off the existent human beings by infecting virus which weakened people, and at the end they could take over the earth so a war needed to be set against them. So what? Caesar didn’t seem to lead that many of apes, and they didn’t seem to occupy earth as much as they’re suggested to. Even the scenes in the soldier camp from the middle to the end of the movie showed that the number of apes was less than the number of the soldiers. The conflict began when a bunch of soldiers were in the hunt for Caesar and came face to face with him and his troop. Caesar spared the lives of the surviving soldiers and by that he sent a message to the Colonel that he wanted no war between the apes and the humans. Like typical human beings, the surviving soldier forgot that he was once saved and joined the killing spree for the apes as he, the Colonel, and many more soldiers invaded the place where the apes lived. Caesar’s wife and son were killed by the Colonel, making Caesar vow to take revenge. Winter, his supposedly trusted aide, betrayed the apes and went to the soldiers’ side. There went Caesar with three of his friends to find the Colonel and kill him; after he sent every ape he led to the dessert to find a new home.

On their way, they encountered a mute human girl who became abandoned because Caesar killed her (supposedly) father. The girl joined their adventure and so would an ape they met on their way to the soldier camp. This ape, calling himself “Bad Ape”, ran away from the zoo and apparently could speak English (hooray!). One of Caesar’s companions was killed when they were spying the soldier camp they’re heading to. Caesar was captured and he, along with other apes, was forced to work in the camp without food and water. When Caesar arrived, the apes were upset with him. If only he hadn’t left them, they wouldn’t have been captured by the soldiers. That disappointment was written all over their ape faces. But when Caesar defended an ape that was too weak and was still forced to work, the whole apes turned to support him. Caesar was beaten but he got to get food and water for the apes. The apes, being grateful and all, made him their leader once again. During his direct encounter with the Colonel, Caesar got to understand the reason why the Colonel was having a vengeance against the apes.

The soldier camp, the Colonel, the flag, the morning salutation were unmistakably inspired by a similar atmosphere set in the World War II (1939 – 1945), especially during Nazi infiltration in west European countries to annihilate the Jews. It’s not difficult to see the red lines: the Colonel was Hitler, his soldiers were Nazi soldiers, and the apes with their said growing intelligence were the Jews who were forced to work to the soldiers’ benefit until they’re not useful anymore and needed to be killed. Caesar here became a symbol of hope, of a wishful thinking of how different things might have become if there had been such leader with the Jews. The story was ending with an invasion by soldiers from the north who disagreed with the Colonel’s ambition to annihilate the apes. Those soldiers bore a significant resemblance with the Allies troops, also from the WW II. The difference between the Allies and these soldiers was probably they didn’t seem to care much about the wellbeing of the apes while they dropped bombs and shot guns at the Colonel’s men.

Caesar’s choice to go on his rampage hunting the Colonel (even in his small group) was exactly the same with the Colonel’s choice to go on a rampage hunting the apes. Caesar talked about having mercy regarding the killing of his wife and son, but he forgot that he didn’t have mercy himself when he killed the Colonel’s son. It’s typical humans, and apes, to demand from others something we don’t demand from ourselves, to forget that we once did what we now condemn other people to do. Many aspects of this movie is about taking a look in the mirror about what kind of personalities we claim to have, what we aim to achieve, and what we insist others to have. The story line was simple, the depicted scenery from rain forest to snowy ground to dessert was beautiful, and the ending was poetic enough with Caesar dying because of a wound. The scene changing was smooth and I couldn’t think of any scene cut to make the movie shorter. 

This movie lasted for almost 2.5 hours, and as much as it made me think, it was depressing enough for me.

Review Drama Korea: Bride of The Water God

Nam Joo Hyuk dan Bride of Water God sepertinya jadi kata-kata yang paling sering di-Google dan dicari di Instagram (353 ribu sekian post) akhir-akhir ini oleh para pecinta K-drama. Setelah drama “My Secret Romance” dengan Sung Hoon berakhir, kami (#eaaaa) disuguhi drama baru Nam Joo Hyuk yang berjudul “Bride of Water God”. Dalam kurun waktu 1 tahun terakhir, NJH bermain dalam 3 drama yang sangat populer di Indonesia:

 

  1. Moonlovers Scarlet Heart: Ryeo (2016), sebagai 13th Prince Baek Ah (peran pembantu), saudara laki-laki terdekat dan sekutu dari Wang So/Gwangjong (Lee Joon Gi). Baek Ah adalah seorang musisi yang hatinya sangat perasa dan hancur waktu tunangannya bunuh diri. Walaupun rating drama ini rendah di Korea sana, drama ini sangat populer di Asia Tenggara. Scarlet Heart: Ryeo dijamin bakal bikin baper dan penasaran sama episode-episode selanjutnya. Ending-nya mengecewakan dan sama sedihnya dengan drama versi China-nya. Porsi tampil NJH mungkin cuma 10% dari keseluruhan drama, tapi kebeningannya cukup menangkap mata pemirsa, hehehe.
  2. Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo (2016), sebagai Jung Joon Hyung (salah satu pemeran utama yang akhirnya menjadi kekasih Kim Bok Joo, si fokus cerita). JJH adalah seorang perenang yang masih menjadi mahasiswa di sebuah universitas olah raga. Ealah, NJH di sini bener-bener boyfriend material deh (untuk ukuran anak kuliahan di umur awal 20-an ya). Manis, cakep, jahil, baik hati, suka menolong, ingin orang lain di sekitarnya bahagia, dan seterusnya. Drama ini dijamin bisa bikin nostalgia romantika dan drama cinta masa kuliah. Setidaknya untuk saya.
  3. Bride of Water God (2017), sebagai Ha Baek (ini pemeran utama beneran). Drama ini baru 8 episode (yang ada subtitle 7 episode) dari total 16 episode. Sejauh ini, NJH KARISMATIK DAN COOL ABIS (perhatikan huruf capital, bold, dan underline ya. Ini menandakan saya punya dongsaeng idola baru, hihi). Beda banget dengan karakter-karakter dia sebelumnya yang easy going dan ceria, NJH sebagai Ha Baek sangat sangat serius. Kadang saya kira dia sedang sekuat tenaga menahan ketawa karena pipinya sering kedutan sendiri lho (coba perhatikan deh). NJH banyak dikritik di drama ini karena katanya aktingnya ga bagus dan ekspresinya terlalu monoton. Please deh ah, nonton drama pada akhirnya kan soal selera. Sama halnya dengan makan di restoran, ada masakan yang kamu bilang ga enak tapi kata orang lain enak, begitu pula sebaliknya. Sampai saat ini saya masih semangat mengikuti cerita Ha Baek hanya karena NJH ada di situ (maafkan kebiasanku). Buat saya pribadi, kalau saya ga suka aktor/aktrisnya dijamin saya ga bakalan nonton drama mereka, contoh: saya ga suka Ji Chang Wook dan Yoona dan ga akan nonton drama yang ada mereka di dalamnya.

 

Soal jalan cerita, saya kira BOTWG bakal kurang-lebih sama dengan manhwa-nya, tentang Dewa Air Ha Baek yang meminta seorang gadis cantik dikorbankan untuk menjadi mempelainya supaya suatu desa berhenti mengalami kekeringan. Ternyata plotnya bisa dibilang beda banget. Di drama ini Ha Baek turun ke dunia manusia untuk mendapatkan batu dewa untuk mengukuhkan posisi dia sebagai kaisar dunia dewa (di manhwa Ha Baek adalah dewa air dan posisi kaisar dipegang Shin Nong, musuh dari ayah Ha Baek). So Ah yang menurut manhwa jadi gadis desa yang dikorbankan, digantikan dengan So Ah seorang psikiater, keturunan dari keluarga yang sudah berjanji akan menjadi pelayan dewa. Saya suka sekali karakter So Ah ini. Awalnya saya pesimis waktu lihat profil Shin Se Kyung di Wikipedia, bisa ga ya memerankan karakter perempuan dan dokter yang berbeda dengan dokter-dokter lain di banyak drama dalam setahun terakhir (DOTS, Doctors, dan W: Two Worlds). Ternyata oh ternyata So Ah bisa mencuri perhatian dan memikat saya dengan semua ketidaksempurnaannya. Dia judes, labil, pemalu, baik hati, dan suka menolong (walau suka pura-pura ga peduli). Sikap salah tingkahnya waktu dia mulai suka sama Ha Baek bener-bener bikin saya menghayati perasaan dia. Saya ikutan sedih dan nangis lho waktu dia ngerasa putus asa karena beban hidupnya; saya juga ikutan bahagia waktu dia kira dia bisa bersandar pada Ha Baek. Semoga ritme perkembangan perasaan antara Ha Baek dan So Ah tidak terlalu cepat ya; saya sangat suka situasi malu-malu kucing orang yang lagi PDKT. Memang sih ada kesedihan yang membayangi karena Ha Baek kan dewa, umurnya sudah 3.000 tahun (and still counting). Kalaupun akhirnya dia jadi sama So Ah, So Ah akan meninggal duluan karena kefanaan manusia yang bukan dewa. Jadi penasaran kan gimana akhirnya 2 orang ini bisa dijadikan satu oleh PD-nim? Heuheu.

Krystal sebagai Moo Ra kurang pas, mungkin karena pakaian dan dandanannya yang kayak tante-tante. Saya jauh lebih suka dia waktu jadi Lee Bo Na di Heirs (2013), jutek dan gemesin. Saya ga tahu dan ga pengen tahu siapa yang jadi Bi Ryeom, karena dibandingkan NJH pesonanya masih kalah jauh. Karakter yang bakal menyimpan banyak kejutan ternyata CEO Shin (Lim Ju Hwan, dia main juga di Uncontrollably Fond (2016) barengan Kim Woo Bin). Di episode 7 menjelang 8 baru ketahuan kalau dia demigod (makhluk setengah dewa dan setengah manusia). Apakah dia benar-benar baik seperti tampang luarnya, apakah dia akan mencelakakan So Ah, apakah dia akan berusaha merebut So Ah dari Ha Baek? Ih jadi pengen drama ini cepet selesai, terus nontonnya diulang lagi dari episode 1, hehe. Dan kali ini saya akan nonton serius, ga lagi sambil nyetrika seperti nonton drama-drama lain. Kenapa? Karena ada Nam Joo Hyuk di situ, wkwk.

Seperti kebanyakan drama Korea akhir-akhir ini, BOTWG juga disponsori oleh pemerintah Korea dan brand-brand ternama. Empat brand yang saya spot di sini adalah HP Samsung S8 (berulang-ulang disorot khusus oleh kamera, bok), mobil Hyundai, minuman kemasan sari buah sesuatu, dan salah satu operator taxi di Seoul. Memang sebuah drama perlu sponsor untuk menjamin produksinya berjalan lancar, tapi eksposur berlebihan sebuah brand di sepanjang jalan cerita bisa jadi menjengkelkan. Contohnya: HP Samsung S8 warna biru metalik yang berulang kali di-close up oleh kamera mulai dari episode 1 sampai dengan 7. Kalau mobil Hyundai, eksposur brand-nya waktu So Ah duduk di belakang setir dan kamera menyoroti dia dari depan mobil. Hal ini kurang lebih sama dengan mobil Hyundai Tucson yang dikendarai Kapten Yoo Si Jin (Song Joong Ki) di DOTS. Penjualan mobil Hyundai dikabarkan meningkat tajam setelah brand-nya diiklankan dengan “tidak sengaja” oleh SJK. Minuman sari buah yang katanya disukai oleh Ha Baek dapat 1 kali close up di episode 4, dan 1 kali ad lip waktu Ha Baek jelas-jelas minta minuman itu ke Nam Soo Ri. Mungkin eksposurnya akan bertambah di 8 episode mendatang.

Bisa ga sih iklannya ga terlalu obvious? Waktu di Scarlet Heart, NJH ga ngiklan apa-apa. Ya iyalah kan drama historical (sageuk) yang ga ada akses ke barang-barang modern masa kini. Di Weighlifting Fairy, ga ada eksposur brand yang terang-terangan tapi sweater, jeans, dan jaket seperti yang dipakai NJH dan Lee Sung Kyung mulai menjadi trend yang mungkin nih tidak sengaja tercipta. Buktinya apa? Banyak akun di Instagram yang menawarkan pakaian dengan brand/tampilan yang sama persis/mendekati yang dipakai para aktor di WFKBJ. Saya sendiri sampai sekarang suka sekali dengan pakaian ala anak kuliah: kaos, jeans, sweater, jaket parasut, celana training, dan sneakers. So, I was totally sold dengan barang-barang yang diiklankan oleh aktor-aktor tersebut.

Oh ya, ga bisa dipungkiri kalau NJH bisa mempunyai wajah seperti sekarang dengan permak (ga jelas apakah murni make-up dan perawatan ataukah ada unsur operasi plastik juga). Kalau kita lihat foto dia waktu SMA, wah transformasinya jelas banget. Faktor utama sepertinya di perbaikan gigi yang bikin rahang NJH jadi lebih terbentuk. Alis dan bentuk matanya sama. Bisa dibilang permak yang dialami NJH masih minor dibandingkan Lee Min Ho. Coba bandingkan wajah LMH waktu di Boys Over Flowers (2009) dan Legend of The Blue Sea (2016). Bukan sulap, bukan sihir, bentuk hidung dan rahangnya udah berubah banyak. NJH sekarang berusia 23 tahun dan mulai naik daun. Dia sedikit mengingatkan saya pada Lee Min Ho yang mulai naik daun sejak usia 22 tahun karena memerankan Gu Jun Pyo di Boys Over Flowers. Rating dan kepopuleran sebuah drama dan aktor-aktor pemerannya memang tidak bisa diprediksi. Namun sepertinya drama dengan unsur fantasi dan air masih akan menjadi tren sampai tahun depan, karena episode 1 BOTWG sangat mengingatkan saya pada episode 1 Scarlet Heart: Ryeo waktu Hae Soo tenggelam di danau dan terlempar ke masa lalu, dan episode 1 Legend of The Blue Sea waktu Sim Cheong sebagai mermaid mulai ditampilkan.

Semoga karir Nam Joo Hyuk juga secemerlang karir para seniornya ya. Fighting, uri dongsaeng!

Masih Tentang Sung Hoon dan My Secret Romance

Sung Hoon jadi sorotan setelah main di drama My Secret Romance (2017). Kharismanya sebagai seorang chaebol dengan modal badan atletis dan gaya berpakaian formal memang tidak terbantahkan dan sudah teruji di 2 drama lainnya (New Tales of Gisaeng (2011) dan Nobel, My Love (2015)). Awal kisah My Secret Romance bisa diintip di link ini: https://rijotobing.wordpress.com/2017/05/13/review-drama-korea-my-secret-romance/. Review saya waktu itu belum selesai karena episode yang ditayangkan baru sampai episode 7. Di review sebelumnya saya menyoroti bagusnya animasi yang muncul di setiap permulaan episode, yang cakepnya mengingatkan saya pada komik-komik serial cantik terbitan Elex Media di tahun 90-an.

Setelah episode 7, drama berlanjut dengan kesalahpahaman Cha Jin Wook (Sung Hoon) yang menjadi baik pada Yoo Mi karena mengira adik tiri Lee Yoo Mi (Song Ji Eun) adalah anak dari hubungan satu malam mereka 3 tahun lalu (Dong Goo memang kebetulan banget baru berulang tahun ke-3. Sayang ya, Jin Wook cakep tapi ga bisa menghitung kalau setelah pembuahan, ditambah dengan waktu mengandung, harusnya anak dia masih berumur kurang dari 3 tahun). Kesalahpahaman ini berlanjut ke keterlibatan orang tua Jin Wook dan Yoo Mi, sampai pada satu titik ibunya Yoo Mi memberi tahu di acara TV nasional kalau anaknya pernah berhubungan satu malam dengan Jin Wook yang notabene bosnya di Daebok. Dari sini bencana dimulai karena ibu Yoo Mi juga ga malu memberitahu publik kalau dia mantan artis erotis. Yoo Mi putus dari Jin Wook, pindah kerja ke daerah pelosok karena malu sama rekan kerja dan mungkin sama orang-orang se-Seoul, dan kembali merasa nelangsa. Yoo Mi ini memang karakter yang lemah banget, sedih-putus asa-galau melulu. Nonton dia sama sekali ga menyenangkan, kecuali di adegan dia nyanyi di tempat karaoke karena suara aslinya memang bagus.

Gimana dengan Sung Hoon? Di drama ini Sung Hoon punya beberapa gaya rambut:

 

 

 

 

Bikin dia jadi kelihatan lebih menarik ga? ENGGAK. Saya malah bingung karena seakan-akan ada beberapa aktor yang memerankan Cha Jin Wook. Oke lah kalau gaya rambutnya berbeda antara 3 tahun lalu waktu pertama kali bertemu Yoo Mi dan sekarang. Tapi kalau di masa sekarang dia punya 2-3 gaya rambut, rasanya mengganggu banget. Dari episode ke-8 sampai ke-13 tambah kelihatan kalau aktingnya Sung Hoon tidak terlalu bagus. Dia banyak menunjukkan ekspresi komikal seperti pura-pura terkejut, bengong ga jelas, dan sejenisnya. Bahkan waktu dia mengejar Yoo Mi ke daerah di tepi pantai itu wajahnya ga menunjukkan bahagia yang gimana gitu karena sudah berhasil menemukan Yoo Mi. Dia juga ga marah gimana gitu waktu dia melihat Yoo Mi meluk Jung Hyun Tae. Sebenernya yang ngaku suka duluan si Hyun Tae, tapi yang meluk kan Yoo Mi dan bisa bikin semua jadi salah paham. Pada akhirnya Jin Wook ga marah lho di adegan itu, dia cuma pergi aja dari sekolah tempat Yoo Mi kerja. Beneran cinta ga sih?

Yang menarik dari akting Sung Hoon cuma waktu dia ke restoran milik mamanya, makan sup abalone sambil nangis bombay. Adegan ini tetep kalah mellow dibandingkan Kim Woo Bin yang nangis di Uncontrollably Fond (2016) waktu dia makan masakan buatan ibunya sebelum karakter Woo Bin meninggal (atau ga sih?) di drama itu. Di situ Sung Hoon keliatan beneran sedih, menyesal, dan sebagainya. Tapi eh tapi, ibunya kok lempeng banget sih buat seseorang yang udah lama ga ketemu anaknya? Ga mewek berlebihan gitu padahal katanya udah tahunan ga ketemu Jin Wook. Sebagai seorang ibu yang punya anak laki-laki, rasa-rasanya mustahil buat saya untuk tidak emosional di momen seperti itu.

Gimana Jin Wook dan Yoo Mi bisa bersatu kembali? Ibu Yoo Mi yang memisahkan, dia pula yang menyatukan mereka kembali dengan cara yang sama: curcol di talkshow di stasiun TV nasional, bok. Karakter ibu Yoo Mi memang paling menyebalkan sedunia: kekanak-kanakan, egois, mau menang sendiri. Saya sempat shock pas tau aktris yang sama memerankan ibu Kang Mo Yeon (Song Hye Kyo) di Descendants of The Sun (2016). Untung di DOTS scene di mana ada dia hanya sedikit, haha, karena sungguh saya ga demen sama aktrisnya. Oya, Jin Wook dan Yoo Mi bertemu kembali di pagi hari waktu kantor Daebok baru buka. Mereka ketemu lagi di lobby kantor dengan Jin Wook membuka tangan lebar-lebar untuk menyambut Yoo Mi dannnn … mulai lagilah ciuman berlebihan yang disorot dari berbagai sudut. Yaiks … satu hal yang pasti dari drama ini adalah lust-nya, bukan romance-nya. My Secret Romance adalah drama romance yang tidak menunjukkan perasaan yang berkembang antara karakter utamanya. Ujug-ujug tidur bareng, ujug-ujug ketemu lagi, ujug-ujug seperti pacaran (ga jelas udah jadian atau engga tapi Jin Wook sering main nyosor cium), ujug-ujug pisah, ujug-ujug balik lagi. Dan konyolnya waktu pernikahan ibu Yoo Mi, Jin Wook baru sadar kalau bra pad yang selama ini dia simpan adalah milik calon mertuanya. Hellowwww?? Kenapa ga dari awal dia tanya Yoo Mi kenapa inisial di bra pad adalah M.H. bukan Y.M.? Bener-bener ga masuk akal.

Katanya 96% dari penonton suka drama ini. Saya terus terang cuma suka lihat Sung Hoon dan Kim Jae Young di sini. KJY sebagai Hyung Tae adalah boyfriend material banget deh, karakter temen-jadi-demen yang bisa diandalkan setiap saat, jauh lebih baik dari karakter Jin Wook yang ga tegas. Di MyDramaList My Secret Romance dapat rating 7.6 dari 10. Saya duga para penonton pada ga suka dari sisi alur cerita, perpindahan adegan, dan ending yang dipaksakan. Seperti webdrama Noble, My Love, MSR juga diburu-buru untuk selesai dengan cepat, dan di kedua drama ini Sung Hoon bisa tampil dengan 2-3 gaya rambut yang berbeda. Why oh why? Noble, My Love adalah 20 episode webdrama sepanjang 300 menit, yang bisa dikompres lagi dari 15 menit jadi 10 menit setiap episodenya, saking banyaknya pengulangan adegan dari episode-episode sebelumnya. Di NML Sung Hoon jadi chaebol juga, dingin dan karismatik juga, cakep juga, dan lawan mainnya sama galaunya dengan Song Ji Eun di MSR. NML bisa disaksikan di kissasiandotcom.

Setelah saya Google ternyata Sung Hoon juga main di Oh, My Venus (2015) sebagai wing man-nya So Ji Sub. Kayaknya saya bakal nonton cuma karena ada So Ji Sub di situ. Memang Sung Hoon terhitung aktor baru sih, baru kurang-lebih 6 tahun saja, jadi aktingnya, pembawaannya belum matang. Secara fisik dia punya potensi karena hellow, mantan perenang gitu lho, tapi secara pembawaan, kharisma, dll. dia beda banget dengan karakter yang dia mainkan. Sering kelihatan kayak orang salah tingkah yang ga tahu harus ngapain di tempat di mana dia berada. Bikin saya ga antusias untuk menonton drama lain dia yang juga lagi tayang (The Idolmaster KR, 2017).