The Equator Man: the Review

equatorman photo 20120303-The-Equator-Man_zps6643b86c.jpgThe Equator Man
air date: 3.21.2012 through 5.24.2012
number of eps: 20
I watched it: …a while ago? I know it wasn’t live

In a nutshell: Bromance? You’re soaking in it. The whole thrust of the drama is the relationship between Kim Seon-woo and Lee Jang-il, taking them from their meeting in high school, to crisis, to massive crisis, to even-more-massive! crisis… and into adulthood where the pile of crises are a festering mess that need dealing with. For the most part this drama was really good, with a few rough patches that slowed things down and kept it from being truly amazing.

What worked: The acting was amazing. The two teen actors (Im Siwan and Lee Hyun-woo) were so good, tackling really meaty scenes with such skill (scenes where it would have been really tempting to over-act), that it was hard to let them go when the characters “grew up”. But then the adult actors (Lee Joon-hyuk and Uhm Tae-woong) stepped up and, after a moment of adjusting, owned the characters as well. The actor playing Jang-il’s father (Lee Won-jong) was so, so good at being the creepiest creeper who ever creeped. (So good, in fact, that I avoided Vampire Prosecutor because he had a lead role. But it was all the acting. He was adorable in VP. *g*) And Im Jung-eun rocked as the intensely obsessive, Choi Su-mi.

The cinematography was gorgeous. Lighting, angles … whatever else is involved in cinematography? So much beauty on my screen! Which was good because the director had an interesting style. It made me think of Hitchcock, actually — which suited the psychological story being told. But there were times when things went… very… still. It wasn’t quite a freeze frame, more the actors just holding a position (a pause before acting or answering or what have you) longer than any normal human being would. It could have been a bug or a feature, but because the scenes were so beautifully framed, I chose to take it as a feature.

And the story was, for the most part, fascinating. All about love and betrayal and greed and compassion. All that lovely, mucky human-stuff. The interplay between the two leads was fascinating to watch. (Lee Jang-il’s interaction with himself was fascinating as well.)

equatoradult photo as78dE94_zpse2661ffe.jpg

What didn’t work: For some reason there was a mother and daughter duo that we’d cut away to watch and I can’t even remember what their storyline was, that’s how interesting it was. Also, there was a character who caused some romantic competition between the two guys and she started out interesting and I remember being intrigued at first. But then she became pretty flat, sliding into more symbol territory (representative of all that’s good and pure, etc.) than full-fledged character. Which was too bad. So there were some filler-fluff that wasn’t needed and I think the drama would have been better if it’d been tightened down to 16 episodes.

But if you look past the filler-fluff, the core story was awesome and didn’t get compromised and ended in a heart wrenchingly satisfying way.


11 thoughts on “The Equator Man: the Review

  1. You already know how I feel about the PD so won’t go into that again. 😉 Other than that I pretty much agree with you on TEM. It was great to se my UTW in fine form again, he generally delivers (I’m pretending Queen Snore Duk never hapened XD).

    Then there’s the music… Maybe it didn’t bother you but omg my ears! It was awful, especially in the frist few episodes. Thankfully they toned it down later on so it got to be less of an ear sore… or maybe I just got used to it, LOL!

    • Oh, hah! I’d forgotten about the music! Yeah, it was horribly bad in the beginning — to the point of amusement almost. (Which was weird because I thought the music was so good in “White Christmas” … I wonder what happened?) I think it did get toned down. I remember it still being a bit heavy, but it fit more with the old-fashioned filming style. And it wasn’t as blare-y.

      Um-force! Yeah, he totally brought the sexy. Which I hadn’t expected since I’m most familiar with him from 1Night2Days. (He wasn’t as blatantly sexy in Mawang… more scruffy and adorable.)

      • I’m an unashamed UTW fangirl so I’ve watched most of his stuff over the years. XD He’s perhaps not as versatile as some of the best but he can definitely do different types. Besides he can mesmerize you even when playing a totally pitiful excuse of a human being (like in Handphone – that character was god awful). If you want to see a smexy Uhm-force, try Resurrection. He goes from cute to rawrrrr, LOL! It’s also one of his best performances ever. Several of the actors from Mawang are in it too and they are so very different.

        • Is “Resurrection” the one with the twins? Because if that’s the case, then yes, he really got to show off his acting chops. I cried with him and for him all at the same time.

  2. Yup, “Resurrection” is the one with the twins. It’s one of my all time favourites and I re-watch it periodically too (my preaciousssss…. director’s cut DVDs). 🙂

  3. Hi! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this drama. I did not watch this drama when it first aired last year, because I chose to watch Dr. Jin instead. Yes, I was one the many (or few?) who bravely watched and finished Dr. Jin. I didn’t regret watching it but it made me love the original Japanese version more…Anyway, your description of “what worked” in Equator Man intrigued me and reminded me how I admire the previous dramas of UTW and LJH, so I watched today Episode 1. First, you are right – the 2 teen actors were fabulous! It took me awhile (thanks to wikipedia) to remember where I’ve seen Lee Hyun-woo before. He played the young version of UTW’s character in Queen Seon Deok. He was fabulous (and cute) in it too! Im Siwan, I remember seeing in “Moon that Embraces the Sun”. Both young actors were awesome in portraying that friendship, that bromance!

    I can’t wait to watch Episode 2 and the rest. I look forward to seeing how the adult actors (UTW and LJH) portray that strong friendship between Kim Sun-Woo and Lee Jang Il. Or, will they become enemies? Oh I hope not! And I hope both leads would get their happy endings despite that confrontation in the opening scene…Thanks again! (^__^)

    • I read the recaps of Dr. Jin on Dramabeans. That was fun. 😉

      And I don’t want to spoil you but keep in mind this is definitely a melo, so… wear your seatbelt. (And that is all I will say.)

  4. Pingback: The myth of Iljimae | Creating Volumes

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