After finishing The Moon That Embraces The Sun in what would have been two-three days if not for the weather disturbance, I found myself uttering this statement: “Mark my word, Kim Soo Hyun will be Korea’s next important actor.”
I first knew him as the bumpkin Song Sam Dong in Dream High. I already saw his potential then. He’s cute, he’s got good acting chops, and he was able to pull off the ‘idol’ role quite convincingly despite being a non-singer/dancer. I read somewhere that he had to have a crash course in ‘idol’ training only a mere three months prior to filming Dream High and for me, that’s quite an accomplishment. I had no idea who he was prior to seeing that drama, and when I first heard him sing I had to do a quick search to know if he’s a singer or not. He was that convincing.
I’ve been hearing/reading a lot of good reviews about The Moon That Embraces The Sun ever since it started airing, but as always, I didn’t get to see it until recently. See, I have this habit of waiting until the series has ended its original run before I watch it because I don’t feel like waiting for a week to see what happens next (the only exception to this are Rain’s dramas). I’m particularly curious because (1) I never imagined Kim Soo Hyun playing a historical drama character, much more that of a monarch; and (2) I wanted to know how he will pull off playing opposite Han Ga In, whom I felt was much older than him. I was actually surprised to find out that she’s only six years older than Kim Soo Hyun because I didn’t know that Soo Hyun is already 24. Also, it felt like Han Ga In is much older as it seemed that she has been in show business since forever, having been the official crush of all the members of Shinhwa. We all know that Shinhwa are considered ‘veterans’ in the industry while Kim Soo Hyun is a current idol.
Well, what can I say: After finishing The Moon That Embraces The Sun, I’m officially on the Kim Soo Hyun Train. He’s just so dreamy, without even trying.
And I love that he is one of the few male actors who can cry without looking ugly.
The role of the Joseon era King Lee Hwon is actually quite challenging. He has to be regal, stubborn, adorable, and romantic coupled with a hidden emotional struggle all throughout the drama. Any young actor with minimal acting skills would never be able to pull this off. And since the role is that of a charismatic monarch, an actor with no charisma would definitely fail to deliver. Fortunately, Kim Soo Hyun has it all. His talent and charisma remind me of Lee Byung Hun. He has good looks, and he knows how to utilize that good looks to effectively interpret the role to the small screen.
I just had to include the above screencap because it is my most favorite scene from Moon-Sun. I won’t tell what he’s doing there for the sake of those who haven’t seen it and don’t want to be spoiled. I have to admit, though, that when I saw that scene, the first person (character) that entered my mind was Full House‘s Lee Young Jae.
As for his chemistry with Han Ga In, I’m not taking anything away from her since she did look younger in the drama and except for her tendency to open her eyes really wide whenever she’s in a confrontation scene, she generally did well. However, I still couldn’t shake off the thought that she’s much older than Kim Soo Hyun whenever I see them together. I did feel some “kilig” moments especially in the latter episodes, but to be honest, I was more “kilig” at the King Lee Hwon-Woon Couple. (Again, I won’t say who Woon is to avoid spoilers.)
By the way, since I have compared Kim Soo Hyun to Lee Byung Hun, you might wonder about this guy’s cinematic kissing skills. Well, I think it depends on the leading lady. He seems to be adept at it, but Han Ga In is still ‘old school’ (meaning, her idea of an on-screen kiss is to keep her lips tightly shut and head very still) so there’s nothing much to see at Moon-Sun. (I’m just not sure if HGI is just old school, or she’s careful not to offend her equally hot husband Yeon Jeong Hoon.) I actually think Kim Soo Hyun’s kissing scenes with Suzy at Dream High were hotter.
And since I’m already talking about the drama itself, let me do my usual “…in bullets” mini-review of The Moon That Embraces The Sun:
- I’m not a big fan of historical dramas so I wasn’t expecting to really like Moon-Sun, but I liked it. No, I loved it. It was evenly paced, with a good mix of drama, comedy action and romance.
- I don’t know if I’m just not watching enough Korean historical TV dramas, but I was surprised that sex and sexuality were openly talked about here. And on the subject of sex, it was the women who often initiate it. I don’t know how the Korean public reacted to it, if at all, but the way I saw it, this drama showed how Korean women were objectified in ancient times (they are only seen by men as objects for procreation) but the women themselves were able to express that they are human beings with needs, too. It might appear to some as if the women in this drama are often “in heat” and couldn’t wait to be in bed with their husbands, but I think there’s some sort of women empowerment thing going on in there.
- I’m sure Yang Mi Kyung (Lady Han in Dae Jang Geum) has other dramas where she’s not in period costume, but seeing her in Moon-Sun led me to wonder what she looks like when she’s not wearing a hanbok. NOTE: I already saw Yang Mi Kyung in person when she and Cho Jeung Eun went to Manila to promote Dae Jang Geum. She was wearing a hanbok then.
- But I have to say, Yang Mi Kyung was super-awesome in this drama. I cried with her so much; fortunately, I was alone in the room whenever it happened.
- If you’re not into historical dramas and the fact that Moon-Sun got rave reviews and high ratings still doesn’t convince you to watch it, let me play the Eye Candy card on you. Two names: (1) Kim Soo Hyun. (2) Jung Il Woo.
- I’m not saying that Jung Il Woo is here just for Eye Candy. He’s so good in here, too. If Kim Soo Hyun was a lesser actor, Jung Il Woo would’ve totally stolen this drama away from him, much like how Jung Il Woo hands down stole 49 Days away from the rest of the cast. If you loved him as Scheduler, you will love him here, as well.
- Watch out for the many interesting plot twists and turns. The people you hated at the beginning may not be that hateful at all in the end, and vice versa.
- Prepare a box of tissues, particularly in Episode 5. Side story: before I started with Moon-Sun, I saw an FB comment to a friend who was currently on Episode 5 at the time. The comment was a crying emoticon. When I was watching the episode, I was like, “it’s almost over, where’s the crying??” And then… BAM. Waterworks. If you’re only about to see this and you didn’t prepare for it, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
- My big problem now is this: I’m still having difficulty getting over Moon-Sun. What drama should I watch next?