Review: Bottled Passion (By SDS)

By on January 12, 2012 in NEWS, REVIEWS

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Bottled Passion <我的如意狼君>
TVB 2011
Producer: Lee Tim Shing
Genre: Pre-Modern Drama
Number of episodes: 21

Rating: 

Who’s In It?

Cast in no particular order:
Raymond Wong as “Tung Bun Sin”
Niki Chow as “Tsui Sum”
Samuel Kwok as “Ko Siu Tong”
Rebecca Chan as “Tung Kwok Hing”
Elaine Yiu as “Ko Yee Kiu”
Joel Chan as “Ko Yee Tai”
Eric Lee as “Lo Yat”
Claire Yiu as “Wun You”
Raymond Cho as “Tsui Ping”
and some other miscellaneous characters

What’s This About?

A long long time ago, a rich family adopted a young orphan boy. Despite believing his fortunes may have changed, the boy soon finds out that his adoptive parents aren’t all that loving, and in fact, one of them resorts to an attempt of murdering the boy. Many years later, this boy, now a young man, returns to this forsaken place, in search of a long lost friend and with revenge deeply engraved into his mind. With a mysterious past and an equally mysterious plan, this young man now strives to realize the two things that have kept him alive all this time. 

Review Formally Begins Here 

No matter who may view this series, there is only one possible conclusion to draw after a completed viewing: it’s solid entertainment. Obviously the proverbial “for a TVB series”  is true still. But unlike many other TVB products, a clear tale is told here, and told coherently. Characters do not feel obsolete, each serving their own purpose furthering the plot (which I thought was Raymond’s taste for revenge) and none command a presence that chokes said plot. Further, trying to find faults in the execution would be like trying to find something small amongst something vast, or a whale in an ocean scenario. So was the last series of 2011 the best series for the bygone year? As I’ve said time and again, that decision is for you to make, not for some product of mass media misinformation or blind fandom (orfanaticism” if don’t know what “fandom” means) to tell you.

Now this “review” could (or should) have ended here since I am by no stretch anti-TVB or an expert in locating whales, but something inside me says this is far from over. First it goes without saying there are far more things done right than wrong here, but is that enough? Can you win awards by merely doing what’s right? Does comparing against things in your league bore you? Should you treat yourself with more dignity and go up one notch? Well if the series has Raymond’s vengeance as its driving force, then it unlikely tops that notch. If you view it as a love story, it still only comes close but not quite to surmount that bar. For me, the love angle was more a side dish from the start. A side dish that eventually comes close to becoming the main course but then guess what, the waiter drops your dinner on the floor. I’ll come back to this point later. So if it’s Raymond’s revenge that’s the springboard which gives this series purpose, was it a convincing purpose or vengeance? 

Tong Bun Sin’s Vengeance

In “vengeancentry,” the study and theory of vengeance, if ever there was one, we can split two types of vengeance. The first is the convincing vengeance where person Y kills person X’s spouse so X plots to off Y. We may call this “trans-linear vengeance,” you kill my thing, I kill you. Then there’s unconvincing vengeance, which is in the same scenario above, X plots to off Z, where Z is a near-innocent bystander. We may call this “non-linear vengeance” or psychosis. Then there’s vengeance with convincing origins but unconvincing ends. We call this third type “Bottled Passion” vengeance or “復仇:我的如意狼君”. Apparently Raymond has lost sleep over a decade because Rebecca Chan tried to kill him when he was a child, so he decides to return for vengeance. Vengeance convincing. Raymond then somehow establishes a minor fortune, unwittingly is able to buy Niki’s land to resell to Elaine which fortunately wins the latter’s heart, which in turn is used to perpetrate Rebecca’s downfall. Persuasiveness waning. On top of this, as Rebecca is near ruins, Raymond decides to stop. Unconvincing. Look, if you’ve cooked up some vengeance for a decade, you one, won’t use such uncontrollable means–there was zero guarantee Elaine would bite but for Lee Tim Shing, and even if she bites, so what? The advent of the long lost son was really what spelled Rebecca’s downfall. Also you’ll likely have a distinct plan, whereas Raymond had little of–yes he may have improvised but improv should support your main agenda, not be its core. Three, you wouldn’t rest so easily. So maybe Raymond gave up his revenge for Niki, but that begs the question, if he is such a swell loving guy, why did he appear to have such dire conviction for Rebecca and plot this arcane scheme for so many years?  And can someone with so much pent anger change so easily? None of this convinces. Even if “love” somehow changes him, it’s a “love” we learn by telling, not acting. 

Love Story or Tragedy? 

Raymond and Niki’s chemistry is mediocre at best. Whilst I admire their crying effort, most of the emotion we witness in the two derives from the story backlog, the sound editing and good story development. No scene is wasted. Niki tends to fluctuate between blank, unpleasant and slightly prickly expressions. Her emotional range never wanders far. She appeared more lost than hurt when seeing Raymond’s scars. Though Niki does bring a pleasant face, but a rather disconnected face.

This lack of emotional range resides in Raymond too. He gives a good suave performance as a cool, conniving and smart Tong Bun Sin, and he performs well in his solo scenes despite lacking a flexibility to portray gradated change. He either operates on cool-suave or sincere-kind. They are like parallel personalities. This was possibly intended, and if so, it’s quite a weak portrayal (by the story board presumably) of such a defining character. Raymond seems slightly awkward in his emotive sequences with Niki. The two just don’t click. Both appear more interested in crying than why they are crying. At most, the two do look lovey-dovey when the camera wants them to.

Personally, I love a good revenge story. But a good revenge story needs an externally strong but internally scarred lead character who attempts to mangle his or her way through the moral dilemmas via sheer intelligence and a hardened heart. Interestingly, producer Lee Timg Shing, in shrewd fashion given his approximately 20 episode cap, skims the revenge story, and spins it into a semi love-tragedy. That is why I say the side dish (the love story) comes to the foreground towards the finale. However, this would never pass as a tragedy as the fact remains–not enough character-driven tragedy occurs through the hands of Tong Bun Sin or co. General illness do not count. Neither do accidents or plot-unrelated occurrences. This squarely defies a good tragedy. I suppose the tragedy is interconnected with the vengeance aspect of the series. However, I would have preferred to see a Tong Bun Sin that really walked the path of carnage than talk it. Finding humanity within carnage is a much more exhilarating journey than “oh I’m saving these lollies for my friend.” Thought-provoked I am not… Nor am I titillated. At most only passingly entertained. 

So if we view this as a love story instead, will it excel the mediocrity which pervades a viewing of the series as a revenge story? Not for me anyway. The primary problem is the chemistry between the leads is wanting. The “nice” setup between Tong Bun Sin and Tsui Sum’s orphan past is hackneyed but effective. Also, this is a prime example of a solid series marred by an absolutely and utterly unnecessary finale. If the series ended at episode 20, I would clear it as a apt love story. But by episode 21, I thought otherwise. Besides the boundless illogicity in the finale, the conclusion depicts some “tentative separation.” Was this necessary? Did it pull on your heartstrings? Did it make narrative sense? And does Lee Tim Shing even believe in reincarnation? You see, if the series intended to convey the message that Tong Bun Sin dropped his vengeful ways because of love, then why the hell kill the guy? His turned over a new leaf. He deserves a chance! Besides, his vengeful ways weren’t even that vengeful. Alternatively, if the series wants to tell us something about karma, then I ask this: was betraying Elaine’s love worthy of death? The story would have ended much more intelligently if Elaine told her mom in their final scene together that it wasn’t love that caused her rebellion, but her desire for freedom and hatred towards her mother’s domineering persona. But no, that’s not affecting enough. Through both lenses, I believe the love story failed and became a forced tragedy. Thus, the side dish that becomes the main course that becomes floor decoration. 

Notable Mentions 

A curious flaw with TVB’s period pieces is that the environs are always so clean, distilled and dead plain (the walls)! I note, period pieces from greater China have a similar problem to a lesser extent. I can forgive street scenes, but the indoor scenes are even worse. Every item in the room is upright, always in a place one would expect it to be, never a hint of a possible crime scene, or a rampaging toddler about, or even a clumsy waiter or a whale. It’s just like when actors and actresses put on their “evil” face when asked to give an “evil” face. You hit the mark but miss the effect. 

Speaking of flaws, is it me or were the Ko household a bunch of cardboard cut outs? Arguably the most unimpressive character lineup, saved only because their sum was great than their parts. 

Eric Lee deserves a mention as Lo Yat, although I still think that’s his codename in the series, not his real name. Eric has been playing villains or less than upstanding gentlemen for long. There was  considerable angst within me as I watched this series–will he stab Tong Bun Sin in the back? Surprisingly, he doesn’t, and he plays quite a refreshing, pleasant and rightly aloof sidekick-buddy. On another note, and Raymond aside, the role with most room for flexing was Ko Yee Kiu. I must congratulate Elaine for performing the role with such flat routine repetitiveness. Congratulations! 

Overall Appraisal 

On the whole, this was probably a love story, not a tale about sweet, sweet revenge or apocalyptic tragedy. Fact is there was inadequate momentum for a good revenge drama. At the end of the first episode, I literally fell head over heels thinking this was something different. By the last episode, I again fell head over heels but for totally opposite reasons. On the bright side, this was still a solid entry by TVB, as expected from Producer Lee. What is a little unwarranted is the fact the series played it safe, even when the producer knew he was capable of delivering greater. If anything, Rosy Business <巾帼枭雄>, Safe Guards <鐵血保鏢> and even A Fistful of Stances <鐵馬尋橋> should attest to that. So now that we got here, we come to the realization that this did not take it beyond just another TVB entry (start by removing the crappy ending). Next time, give us more carnage, more love and more twists–putting them in the final 30 minutes does not count. 

Verdict 

An all round competent series that won’t keep you guessing, but will keep you tuning back for more, especially if you like endings that make you laugh out loud- lol. 

   

Obligatory Disclaimer: The writer of this article wishes to remind all readers that this article goes beyond the rating, which means you should READ it before you comment, and if after reading it you disagree, please ENSURE you read it properly, because for every instance you misread this article or espouse what is merely your fandom, a TVB employee gets axed,  demoted or possibly a wedgie, and we wouldn’t want that.

This review was written by SDS, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com.

JayneStars Media LLC reserves all copyrights. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. By using the JayneStars website, you accept and agree to our Terms and Conditions of Use.


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Review: Bottled Passion (By SDS)

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  • 45 comments to Review: Bottled Passion (By SDS)

    1. siu says:

      I agree, this was an enjoyable series but a far cry from 巾帼枭雄 and 鐵血保鏢. Raymond Wong did very well as a main lead but the logic of his character was a bit tenuous. Eric Lee as 羅一 ended up being my favorite character; it was a small part but he played it well.

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    2. moon16 says:

      I love this series,,, I think Nikki and Raymond Wong is best on-screen couple,,,,

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    3. Liam says:

      Haha…sounds kinda disconnected to me.
      Niki and Raymond have no chemistry and they cried for crying sake???
      Whatever will be will be…
      As long as I enjoyed them.
      Good job, Niki and Raymond!

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    4. Funn Lim says:

      The chemistry part I sorta disagree. I find them rather romantic.

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      • Marianne replied:

        Hopefully there will be a sequel that will be more romantic of them…

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    5. smurf120 says:

      I thought Nikki and Raymond were separately good but their “romance” didn’t really click with me. I rarely saw joy when they were together. The crying throughout the series turned me off quite early on.

      However, it was really the ending that blew me away. He died in a really stupid way. End of story.

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    6. lol says:

      I sort of disagree with a few parts. Besides the ending the series is nicely written and the plot are touching to the heart.

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      • lol replied:

        I also think that SDS is underrating Raymond’s splendid potrayal and the chemistry with Niki. I think their love story is poignant and heartwrenching enough and they have good chemistry.

        Normally I find Niki so so but I think she’s better in BP because of Raymond’s strong acting potrayal

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    7. Lol says:

      SDS, no offense but I think your trying to hard. Blah blah blah….

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      • SDS replied:

        hmmm perhaps but for to achieve what? So I didn’t like a popular series as much as others, shoot me?

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    8. Jayne says:

      SDS,
      I think you did an admirable job analyzing the strength of the narrative and the characters’ motivations, especially Raymong Wong’s character.

      It is true that from your analysis, Raymond’s vengeance plot has some areas of illogicity, such as if his soul was so tortured and revenge was a motivation to continue his life, he would not have abandoned his vengeful ways so quickly in the end (given the 1 year time scope of the series).

      I think the problem lies in the intention that TVB had wanted to create a tragic anti-hero character, thus they did not make him entirely immoral and without conscious. Even the alias that Raymond adopts, Tong Bun Sin (while bent on revenge), is ironic because we are constantly reminded that our anti-hero possesses a kind heart. More carnage would not have added to the sympathetic effect that the producer wanted upon the audience.

      Although many people criticized the bloody death of Raymond in the series, it was again an ending that Producer Lee had crafted for Raymond, perhaps to add to the sympathetic tragic hero feel. He wanted his hero dead and perhaps the extended suffering of death (bleeding for hours) was intentional, which superceded the logic behind the sequence.

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    9. jayne says:

      I think many female audiences find Raymond Wong’s sort of male character to be highly attractive: a mysterious, brooding man with a tortured soul that has the capability to love passionately and tenderly. The tortured hero is found in 99% of romance novels and the design of Raymond’s character is a guaranteed success towards female reception.

      By meeting that special woman, the tortured hero learns to love and heals his own wounds. Yes, we love that sort of story as we like to believe that love can have that powerful, transformational effect. This is why Niki and Raymond’s love story had such a powerful effect upon the audience (perhaps a greater effect upon women). By design, it already has many elements of success.

      Not only is love transformational in redeeming Raymond’s soul, we also have predestined love (meeting when they were kids) and hints of the lovers reunited in their next lives. How much more romantic can it get?

      SDS, perhaps you are not a romantic and these elements didn’t leave the same effect as it did upon the majority of the audience.

      Raymond’s character reminds me of the tortured hero of Heathcliff from “Wuthering Heights.”

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        “Raymond’s character reminds me of the tortured hero of Heathcliff from “Wuthering Heights.””

        NOT THAT tortured.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        “By meeting that special woman, the tortured hero learns to love and heals his own wounds. Yes, we love that sort of story as we like to believe that love can have that powerful, transformational effect. ”

        Again not that deep. He already met that special woman when he was a child. Love didn;t transform him from vengeful to at least willing to move on. In fact he completed his revenge for the same of the woman. So frankly this series isn’t THAT deep.

        I think the effect is more from the fact of first love. You never forget your first love and in this series TBS and TS both met during childhood epitomises the ultimate of pure hearts, met again during adulthood which epitomises reunion and longing. It is more of a destiny and fate thing rather than falling by chance and healing through love. I didn’t see the healing part. It is more like what he would do for her and how she is willing to trust him despite whatever she hears. It is an all consuming sort of love but not as torturing as that in BBJX. Like I compared, TS is willing to ignore whatever TBS did, he asked her to wait and she did and finally he returned to her, even if briefly. She ignored the fact that he cheated a woman of her heart, misled another, destroyed a family, since frankly they deserved it. Same as in BBJX except RX could not stand by, she waited and in the end the man came to her but she realised he is no longer the same men. I find BBJX and BP’s romance similar except one is white wash and hopeful and the other painful.

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        • claimine replied:

          BP is more of a Harlequin novel that is very enjoyable to read but it’s no Wuthering Heights, and certainly TBS is no Heathcliff. Like I said, in real TBS would scare me with his lack of conscience and scruples and one track mind including “he cheated a woman of her heart, misled another, destroyed a family”. But then vengeance is destructive for all around. If TBS had it within him to so ruthlessly and methodically destroy other people’s lives, when things go wrong between him and TS, that same merciless streak within him might just rise its ugly head again, this time to strike towards her.

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        • jayne replied:

          Claimine,
          “BP is more of a Harlequin novel that is very enjoyable to read but it’s no Wuthering Heights, and certainly TBS is no Heathcliff.”

          Interesting that you compare BP to a Harlequin novel. I guess many TVB series can be compared to popular fiction, where the details are titillating, but may lack in artistic merit, from a writing and execution standard. Which is why SDS’ review dissected the weaknesses of the vengeance plot and how TBS’s methods for revenge have their weaknesses.

          I drew parallels to Healthcliff because as a classic tortured romantic hero, he set the prototype for current brooding, tortured heroes capable of loving deeply and fiercely that are found in countless Harlequin novels. On a very basic level, there may be some similarities.

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        • claimine replied:

          Deserved it? – like the debt of mother or father should be paid by the children?

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        • Kidd replied:

          Wuthering Heights is one of my favourite classic novels. I love it when I read it many years ago. But, I wonder if I will have the same feeling if I reread it now.

          But, I don’t really like Heathcliff or Catherine. I was more partial towards Linton. But, my favourite character is Hareton Earnshaw.

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        • claimine replied:

          @Kidd:
          OT: I remember when I first picked up the book to read late at night (was in middle school then), I couldn’t get past the first few pages because I got so scared reading the eerie narration on the haunting of Cathy’s ghost. It wasn’t all that scary reading in broad day but at that time late at night with the winds blowing outside and the night so still, the narration totally fed my fertile imagination. Haha! The second time I re-read that book was in college. I also watched the b&w movie and read biography book on the Merle Oberon who acted Catherine.

          The characters in the novel are all so tragic in a depressing story. I’ve no favorites. But the societal hierarchy is still very much in evidence.

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        • jayne replied:

          @Claimine @Kidd
          I was in high school when I read “Wuthering Heights” and I liked the book very much, would like to re-read it sometime as I’m sure I will pick up more nuances this time around. My deepest impression of the novel was Heathcliff’s passionate character, how his love for Catherine was so strong and consuming it went on a metaphysical level. The ghost of Catherine made the story more haunting and added to that atmosphere of the novel. I enjoyed the first part of the novel more as it focused on their love story. I have a weakness for star-crossed lovers, who due to various opposition forces, cannot be together. Healthcliff may not be likeable due to his selfish and destructive nature, but his veracity and passion made him to be a very memorable character.

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        • Kidd replied:

          @ Jayne @ Claimine

          I think I was too young to appreciate the deep passion and darkness of the lead characters. I was 12 or 13 at that time. So, I prefer the nice characters like Linton and Hareton.

          I’ve read the biography about the Brontes. The 4 siblings (3 girls 1 boy) lived a very secluded lives. It’s not that their parents won’t allowed them to mix with other children. They have gone to birthday parties of other children. But, they somehow, were just more comfortable to keep to themselves. In their childhood they wrote a lot of make belief stories to entertain themselves. Their stories are very elaborate. They created a fantasy kingdom and wrote a lot of stories on it. Very imaginative. I don’t remember the name of the stories, but, I think they have been published before.

          Too bad Emily Bronte died so young. She only managed to write 1 novels. I tried to read Charlotte Brothe’s Jane Eyre. But, it somehow it wasn’t able to capture interest like ‘Wuthering Heights’.

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        • Kidd replied:

          Tung Boon Sin is far cry from Heathcliff. TBS still care for Tsui Sum, Lo Yat, and Uncle Sek. He has the capacity to feel guilty towards the innocent people he harmed. But, Heathcliff didn’t have this conscience. He only loves Catherine and didn’t care about others.

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        • Funn Lim replied:

          I prefer Jane Austen. Bronte sisters are too bleak and tragic. Jane Austen is about economics except for Persuasion is about redemption of sorts.

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        • Kidd replied:

          Haha, Funn. Wuthering Heights is one of my favourite novels, but, Jayne Austen is my my favourite author. I’ve read all her complete works, plus The Watsons, Lady Susan and 1 of her juvenilias collections.
          I remember being really disappointed after finishing all her novels and have nothing more to read. I resort to reading her unfinished work and the work she wrote when she was a teenager. But, her juvenilia collections, I can only read one book because it’s too nonsense and wacky. You can see the changes in her thoughts and mindset as you read her books. Her later novels are more mature, but, missing wit of the earlier novels. Emma, Northanger Abbey and Pride & Prejudice can make you smile when you read them. But, Mansfield Park and Persuasion only contains serious moments. I prefer her earlier novels when I read them in school and uni days. I prefer her earlier novels such as NA and PP more at that time. But, if I reread Mansfield Park and Persuasion now, I might appreciate them more since I’m older now.

          One classic author’s novels I can never finish is Charles Dickens. Even my favourite book if his ‘A Christmas Carol’, I also only able to read the abridge/retell version. His writing style just wasn’t my cup of tea.

          I’ve also read the Red Chamber translation called ‘Story of the Stone’. My uni library has the whole set. But, I only manage to read 2 books. I find it too long winded. So, I found an abridge version and read the rest of the story from that book. I remember disliking Lin Daiyu and prefering Xue Bao Cai. My opinion of Lin Daiyu is same as Dayo Wong. Haha.

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        • Kidd replied:

          Awaiting moderation again because of the name of a famous author.

          Haha, Funn. Wuthering Heights is one of my favourite novels, but, Jayne Austen is my my favourite author. I’ve read all her complete works, plus The Watsons, Lady Susan and 1 of her juvenilias collections.

          I remember being really disappointed after finishing all her novels and have nothing more to read. I resort to reading her unfinished work and the work she wrote when she was a teenager. But, her juvenilia collections, I can only read one book because it’s too nonsense and wacky. You can see the changes in her thoughts and mindset as you read her books. Her later novels are more mature, but, missing wit of the earlier novels. Emma, Northanger Abbey and Pride & Prejudice can make you smile when you read them. But, Mansfield Park and Persuasion only contains serious moments. I prefer her earlier novels when I read them in school and uni days. I prefer her earlier novels such as NA and PP more at that time. But, if I reread Mansfield Park and Persuasion now, I might appreciate them more since I’m older now.

          One classic author’s novels I can never finish is Charles D!ckens. Even my favourite book if his ‘A Christmas Carol’, I also only able to read the abridge/retell version. His writing style just wasn’t my cup of tea.
          I’ve also read the Red Chamber translation called ‘Story of the Stone’. My uni library has the whole set. But, I only manage to read 2 books. I find it too long winded. So, I found an abridge version and read the rest of the story from that book. I remember disliking Lin Daiyu and prefering Xue Bao Cai. My opinion of Lin Daiyu is same as Dayo Wong. Haha.

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        • claimine replied:

          @Kidd: Googled Bronte sisters’ works -I’ve only read Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre and watched the movies too. Jane Austen: Emma, Sense and sensibility and of course PP, and the movies too, all which I enjoyed very much. Especially the BBC PP mini series with Colin Firth — going starry eyes — Colin’s Mr. Darcy is so deliciously scrumptious though oh so exasperatingly arrogant. Now that one conflicted man for you, Jayne.

          As for Dickens: Except for Dombey and Son (required reading in uni literature course) all other books I read were abridged versions — Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, A Tale of 2 Cities, and of course, watched the movies too. I enjoyed the stories. ‘Cities’ is such a romantic book for me…It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… For musical lovers, Oliver, the Oscar winning musical movie, is simply excellent and the songs, memorable rivaling Sounds of Music.

          The author whose books I cannot finish despite several false attempts is JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings but I thoroughly enjoyed the movies.

          Somehow, I stopped reading classic books once I left uni and started on the more commercial blockbuster novels.

          Talking about great insights into Chinese society in novels, have you read Moment in Peking (京華煙雲)? (Vicki Zhao’s tv series adaptation?) I found his writing ponderous but I thoroughly enjoyed his insights and details of Chinese society of his time.

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        • Funn Lim replied:

          Never quite liked Pride and Prejudice. Always thought Elizabeth Bennet was such a gold digger. I mean she use The Rules book sorta girl. BUT like the mini series, hated the movie starring keira knightley.

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        • Kidd replied:

          @ claimine

          I’ve not read ‘Moment in Peking’. My chinese novels reading so far mostly involved wuxia novels and Wisely novels. I started out late. I only start reading chinese novels in year 2004.

          Those D!cken’s novels you listed, I’ve read all of them, but, all in abridge/retell version. 😛
          Yes, ‘Tales of Two Cities’ is very romantic.

          I’ve also read ‘Scarlet Pimpernel’, but, I don’t find it romantic since I’m annoyed with the female lead for most of the book. Cannot stand the way she treated the male lead. At least, Louise was not awful to Clark Kent or look down on Clark Kent. I wonder if the term ‘kiss the ground she walks on’ come from this novel. The male lead actually did this. That’s the most romantic moment of the book (one of the very very few romantic moments).

          @ Funn

          I don’t think Elizabeth is a gold digger. If she’s a gold digger, she would have accepted Darcy’s first proposal.

          My favourite Austen novel is not PP, but, NA and Emma. Austen made fun of the Gothic novels’ convention of her time in NA. NA is partly a porady novel. I dislike Emma very much when I read the abridge version, but, when I actually read the full version, I love it.

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        • claimine replied:

          Actually, I believe Moment in Peking was originally written and published in English before being translated into Chinese. I think. I read the English original written by Lin Yu Tang.(林語堂) Don’t think I can handle the Chinese version.

          And yeah, Elizabeth is no gold digger. Scarlet Pimpernel — her conduct is greatly provoked by husband’s dishonesty over his real identity and his ‘disdain’ for her. I watched the movie before reading the book so loved the movie more than the book. (usually it is the other round with my preferring book over movie) I was so young then so easily affected by romantic fluff. Wonder how I feel if I re-watch the movie again. But not going to spoil that memory of mine.

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        • Kidd replied:

          When I read the novel, I didn’t find the husband disdain the wife. It’s the wife who disdain the husband for being weak and clumsy.

          Maybe I will try to read ‘Tales of Two Cities’ unabridged version again one day. It is very romantic.

          On Romeo and Juliet. I read some commentaries that R&J was actually not a romance story but a satire. Shakespeare was actually making fun or criticising the raging hormones of youth and the unreasonableness of their actions (when clouded by raging hormones).

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        • claimine replied:

          Never like Romeo or Juliet as characters especially when I had to study and analyze them for my literature class and had to memorize their quotes to boot. Silly teenagers with raging hormones. So maybe it was a satire then, not a romantic book. It could be that.

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      • SDS replied:

        @Jayne

        I agree with Funn that on my viewing, the romance is not at all that deep and its mostly drawn from a childhood past, which I may add intersect towards the end with the growing fondness for Tsui Sum over time end.

        There is a distinct (albeit widely disagreed :)) view I take about the love story component of BP, and that is, it’s nothing profound but mediocrity told well (now I’m basing this not on a comparison with just TVB, but stories from all other medium). A tragic anti-hero is the one to fall in love, because they are strong yet tender, complicated yet warm, mysterious but confronting. I understand that. Raymond’s character doesn’t fit the bill on a profound level, but tampers with it. Why it may be easy for viewers to see something more profound into the love story was, I think, amongst other things, from Lee Tim Shing’s sheer excellent story timing that made it all cause he never wastes a scene.

        I disagree that I’m not a Romantic 🙂 Maybe not as easily romanticized. I long to see a romance where both sides have suffered but aspire beyond that. Maybe like in Rosy Business between Wayne and Sheren. In BP, besides Raymond bringing the romantic stereotype, Niki just falls for him like any other normal romance and is touched by his misery? Another problem is that I tend to have a problem with people/characters who ‘wait’ for another longingly without fully knowing what their other half is doing or thinking. That’s a ‘blind’ love, and a love that seems to ignore all other morals. What is better is a lover who ‘waits’ because he/she understands, opposes but still walks ‘with’ with them. When two people’s minds, paths and choices intertwine, that is ‘romantic’. BP merely flips the sickly prince charming airy romanticism into a charming anti-hero romanticism while being slightly more grounded, but it’s the same cloak.

        In summary I would have found the BP love story much more affecting and romantic if Raymond is on a quest to find Milk Candy, finds out Milk Candy is dead cause of Rebecca less than half way into the series, goes berserk, yet is saved and brought back by Niki from things she does for him fully knowing his actions and motives. Meanwhile Raymond must also let go. This requires a stronger female character of course, one of action then mere patience. Of course how to wrap this kind of story up will be hard, because in my vision Raymond would have done far more foul acts, but this is a creators issue. Thus, I think Wayne-Sheren in Rosy Business has a much more profound romance than what’s offered here, not to say its weak, its still well conveyed, just not as affecting, to me, as others feel.

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        • claimine replied:

          One of the most romantic movies to me would have to be The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982)by Jane Seymour and Andrew Anthony. To me, it is the epitome of romantic angst and melodrama.

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        • jayne replied:

          Claimine,
          I can’t think of any romantic movies right now that had an extreme powerful effect upon me. Books tend to have a more powerful effect upon me than movies. I think the novel that I find to be the most romantic is “Dream of the Red Chamber” (紅樓夢), which I read in English under the published title of “The Story of the Stone,” (石頭記) which was one of the titles the novel was circulated in its early years after publication.

          The novel’s setting, offering us a look into the lives of an aristocratic family in imperial China, the lyrical poetry, predestined and metaphysical love, and star-crossed lovers had captivating elements, even if you are only reading this from the romantic angle. You can read it for the family melodrama alone, but the vivid details of “living through the years” with the characters from their early teens to adulthood was the most entrancing for me. I also highly enjoyed the scenes where Jia Baoyu plays poetry games with his female cousins the most.

          If you are looking for a novel to transport you to imperial China, this is the one! Highly recommend, although if you were to read it in English, I recommend “The Story of the Stone” translation by David Hawkes and John Minford. 🙂

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        • claimine replied:

          @Jayne: I too have read (紅樓夢) in English (must haven been the same book) and much later an abridged Chinese version (can’t handle the original). And have watched different old films on it too including the renowned TV series by CCTV (but not the recent one 紅樓夢). The novel is a book that one can really sick one’s teeth into.

          How about Gone with the Wind?

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        • jayne replied:

          Claimine,
          I have not read “Gone with the Wind” or watched the movie. Our taste seems to be similar, did you like it?

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        • jayne replied:

          SDS,
          “I long to see a romance where both sides have suffered but aspire beyond that. Maybe like in Rosy Business between Wayne and Sheren.”

          Agree, that would make for a much richer story. I think your suggestions in the prompting Raymond’s vengeance also provide a richer backdrop for storytelling. However, the childhood love is something which seems quite prevalent in TVB series. The concept of true love, as depicted in TVB, is something that will cross your path at multiple points in life, in childhood, adulthood, and old age (lover’s fate). Thus, this was likely the reason why Milk Candy Girl was Niki and Raymond only had only one true love.

          “I think Wayne-Sheren in Rosy Business has a much more profound romance”

          Do you mean “Rosy Business” or “No Regrets”? I didn’t find Wayne and Sheren’s relationship to be that romantic in “Rosy Business,” as the romance may have been underdeveloped and repressed. But they had an admirable chemistry, in which the relationship was marked by courage, loyalty, and an inherent understanding of each others’ tendencies. This I found to be more of a form of deep camaraderie rather than romance, similar to the men of “The Water Margin.”

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        • claimine replied:

          @Jayne: I loved both the novel and the movie — my all time favorite novel and all time movie == nothing else even comes close. I watched the movie before I read the novel which is the right way to do. Watched the movie 4 times – once with a group of my high school friends in our hometown cinema that showed old movies, 2nd in my uni theater auditorium, and 3rd time watched it on tv with my mother – 4 hours long, and 4th time on my newly purchased dvd. Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable were simply brilliant.

          The book itself is so rich with human emotions and with historical details, and so engrossing to read. And to think this was its author’s first and only book, and that she wrote the book all within a summer when she was incapacitated with a broken leg. Some people are just that gifted. Highly recommended for viewing.

          @I have a weakness for star-crossed lovers, who due to various opposition forces, cannot be together.

          Nothing gets more classic than Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and The Butterfly Lovers. And for me tvb’s “Where the legend begins”, Chow Yun Fatt’s Shanghai Bund. But that’s not saying much because of my sparse viewing of tvb series.

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        • claimine replied:

          Sorry, I neglected to close the italics code.

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    10. Addy says:

      I’m not much of a romance person, so I skipped all of the last episode and most Niki & Raymond scenes. Besides, I already knew since day 1 of watching this show that Tsui Sum was Milk Candy -_-

      The Ko family was the most interesting to me. They were the ones that got me through the show. I find Eric Li and Raymond to have great chemistry as best buds, and Elaine Yiu’s performance was excellent. I’m a bit disappointed at the development of Katy Kung’s character, because I could definitely see more going on, but I liked her ending.

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      • Larry 3 replied:

        Eric Li and Raymond Wong could be couple? I wonder how it will turn out.

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        • Addy replied:

          I don’t know about others, but if their bromance was more than just bro love, that would be pretty neat LOL. They were the best pair in BP, IMO.

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    11. Larry 3 says:

      This series could have been perfect 5 stars out of 5 if it werent the very bad ending episode 21!!!!

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    12. yina says:

      wow i had just submitted my review. and now reading yours, we share a lot of the same thoughts.

      i agree on its not like raymond to just accept life and die. and love story sucks. but MOST importantly, why an episode 21????????????????????

      http://www.onthezee.blogspot.com

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    13. MIchael says:

      As usual, you wrote another great review. I find myself reading your reviews because they usually provide much depth in analysis to both the characters and plot. Keep up the good work! Rare as it may be, it’s always refreshing to find someone that has something smart to say about TVB.

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