Boys Over Flowers
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Geum Jan-Di comes from a poor family and she got admitted into the prestigious Shinhwa High School after stopping a Shinhwa student who was being bullied from committing suicide. Shinhwa High was established by Shinhwa Group, the biggest conglomerate in Korea , and is attended by the scions of the wealthiest families. Here she meets face-to-face with the notorious F4 members (Flower Four Boys), the four richest and most privileged students who reign over the entire school. Goo Jun-pyo is the leader of F4 and is also the heir of the Shinhwa Group. He issued a dreaded ‘red card’ to Jan-di and makes her life miserable after she humiliates him. The only person who seemed to have sympathy for her was Yoon Ji-hoo, one of F4 who saved her numerous times. However, Jun-pyo developed a feeling towards the spunky Jan-di, the first person ever in Shinhwa to declare war against the elitist F4! It turned out to be a twisted love triangle between Jan-di, Jun-pyo and Ji-hoo.
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So, to discuss the DVD details. The video is in 4x3 format, which is a HUGE strike against it. Since i've already seen this on Viki in it's beautiful HD 720P widescreen format, this DVD is unacceptable. I can't believe they would do that to this great show. You will lose a lot of the environmental feel watching this in the cropped format. I can't speak much for the music, as I was so annoyed with the 4x3 format, that I basically returned it without watching much more than a few sections.
I ended up searching for the YA version, which I fortunately found on eBay, albeit at around $230. IMO, it was worth it, as you get almost the same version as you would on Viki (subtitles are a little different, but are still very good). The music also seems to be similar to what you get on Viki, so i'm very happy with that as well, since some reviews suggest a different soundtrack depending on which version you get. Since my gateway to KDrama is through Viki, i'm pleased that the YA version is very similar.
If you just want a copy of BOF to own purely for casual watching, then this DVD might be sufficient. Since I love this show, I value watching it in it's true widescreen format, which is the only way to really enjoy it. There are scenes where Jun Pyo's head and helmet hair, is in close up, and in 4x3 format, it just overwhelms the entire screen...it's not a good image.
Lee Min Ho stars as the arrogant, wealthy King bee at an exclusive high school. He and his 3 friends (the "F4") rule the school with cruel ruthlessness. The heroine is a poor commoner who is given a scholarship to the high school for an act of bravery. She is subjected to relentless bullying instigated by the F4 boys. Over time, they realize that she has a heart of gold and they become her staunchest supporters.
The hero gets 5 stars for his acting in this 25-episode series. He is perfect as the teenage high school king bee, sneering and snobby and filthy rich. He was very charming and endearing as he learned the pleasures of commoner food such as ramen.
The heroine's acting in the first 7 episodes was hard to watch. She has a very narrow face which was usually scrunched up in pouts, sneers, and snivelling expressions that caused her chin and cheeks to have dimples and lines. Combined with the bags under her eyes, her slapstick overacting, her bowl cut hair with straight cut bangs, and deliberate stomping, clumpy gait, she overdid the petulent, childish, ugly duckling part and looked like a 35 year old in a bad wig with bad acting, rather than a spunky but sweet 16 or 17 year old.
The initial episodes are about her difficulties fitting in at the new rich school. As the plot progresses, the characters slowly mature. As the heroine endures hardship after hardship, her character learns wisdom, stops pouting and snivelling, and as she becomes more reflective, serene, and wise, her acting improves immeasurably.
The plot is like a teenage fantasy, a cross between Cinderella and the Ugly Duckling. Poor girl, neither smart or pretty, goes to rich school full of pretty rich people, ends up with the friendship of the four most swoon-worthy guys, and falls in love.
Unfortunately, there are many, many, problems with the plot. It jumps from location to location without much explanation. The heroine keeps on starting new jobs, but there is no explanation about what happens to those jobs later on. Does she keep all 5-7 (I lost count) jobs until the end? There are many plots and it's hard to know which character knows what's really going on. Does the hero know half of what his mother is doing to the heroine? Most of the misunderstandings could have been avoided if the main couple just talked to each other like normal people or friends. Instead, it takes a very long time for the heroine to finally tell the hero what she decides to do after high school, or for the hero to tell her the problem with his mother. Even the last hour of the series was hard to believe. In the real world, you need ongoing communication to have a decent relationship.
The first half of the series, every 1-2 episodes the heroine would fall unconscious (from beating, drowning, being drugged, exhaustion, etc.) or would need otherwise need rescuing from the F4. Really? How much of a damsel in distress can she be? The only time she stands up for herself is if she is protecting someone else. Otherwise, she just stands there and waits to be hurt. It helps that one of the F4 has an internal emergency bell that alerts him to go to her whenever she needs rescuing. No, really, he says that in the story.
The first half of the series, the hero is the absolute ruler of his little world. The latter half he becomes a helpless victim, which was hard to believe. Also hard to believe is that just having graduated from high school, with no further education, at the age of 19 or 20, he is appointed managing director of the most powerful Korean conglomerate? Really?
Initially, the heroine's family was very vulgar, low class, and social climbing in intent. They were also badly overacting. It's only as the story unfolds that I could appreciate their love, bonding and generosity with each other. As they endure poverty, starvation and hardship, they became a prime example of what a family should be.
I toughed it out and watched all 25 episodes. It was worth it to watch Lee Min Ho, but the storyline and plot were hard to swallow. I liked that the heroine learned wisdom, acted kindly under fire, and brought a lot of happiness to other people. The storyline is pretty unrealistic though.
For a better series, I'd recommend Secret Garden. Even though it has a body swap premise, it is more realistic and better acted than Boys Over Flowers.
otherwise the product is very good with a very slick and clear resolution, quality is optimal, but how have the dvd in the package, is not practical, can be damaged during shipping to the customer, although the box that contains them is tough, no others would be to think of a better way to package the dvd case inside the pack.
One more thing, it would be good to offer a distributor of Korean dramas, a version with subtitles in Spanish, would do a great service to the Latin American audience that likes this type of novel, because not everyone who bought these versions know English perfectly. I wish to take this suggestion.