Posted by : Jasmine Cornejo September 05, 2013

EXO MV Drama Episodes 1-2 Review

So here is a new addition to K-Pop Ranter. I Jaemin am recently learning video/audio producing. I have been watching so many videos my past four years and it time to set the experts up, to set ourselves thinking about music videos a different way. You may agree with me and you may not. Comment below and tell me what you think of my critiquing.

SM Entertainment has released 2 EXO music video drama episodes by far. 2 episodes is definitely not sufficient content for me to chew on and give a verdict. But as of now, while I can't say that the drama was anywhere near captivating, it wasn't horrendous either. Since none of them have ventured into acting yet, let's cut some slack on their acting skills and concentrate more on the plot. I wouldn't think that this music video aims to provide a visual aspect to EXO's title songs, which most drama versions of music videos do. Rather, I would think that the purpose of these drama episodes is to show a different side of EXO to us through their acting, and at the same time, promote some of their songs beyond the title tracks. And to some extent, it worked. 

Recap of Episodes 1-2
A quick summary of episodes 1 and 2 first. Luhan is the new student in class, and gets to meet a bunch of new buddies (yes, the EXO members) and a beautiful girl (the female lead) as his classmates. They play together, and get involved in gang fights with a group of masked guys too. But during one of the fights, something happened to him that confused him and drove him to attack one of his buddies. It is found out to be due to a symbol on his hand, and while the symbol eventually disappeared when it came into contact with the girl's tears, it was that very same symbol that appeared on the hand of Kris since the beginning, who is finally shown to have bloodshot creepy eyes. We know that the 2 of them are related because they had a face-to-face encounter, and have a photograph of the 2 of them together in the girl's house, but how?

Comments on Plot
There are many layers to the drama already revealed in the first 2 episodes, but not sufficiently delved into as of now. Some of the more prominent themes would be the love triangle between Luhan, Kai and the one and only girl in the drama, the conflict between EXO&girl and masked gang, and most importantly, the intertwined mysterious pasts of Luhan and Kris which is the origin of wolf-spirit-in-human-body concept.  

To first talk about the love triangle, we see that both Kai and Luhan have fallen for the same girl. Luhan protects her from the masked gang when she was alone one night, whereas Kai flares up at Luhan upon discovering that Luhan had been at her house. While Kai and girl seem to be an item (no other possible reason for Kai to flare up at Luhan in front of her simply because Luhan had been with her), her feelings are currently leaning more towards Luhan in the way she takes care of him when he is injured and cried when he was hit hard during a gang fight to rescue her. Little of this sort of two-way affection is present between her and Kai. But all in all, it is adorable how even when they are fighting to win the same girl, nothing changes the fact that they are ultimately best friends. They both strive to protect her when she is captured by the gang, but when Luhan was hit hard (as previously mentioned), Kai immediately rushed to him out of love for a fellow buddy.   

The conflict between EXO&girl and the masked gang keeps recurring throughout the 2 episodes as well - Luhan chased by the masked gang as an individual from the start, and EXO fighting against the masked gang during 2 instances, one of which to rescue the girl. What do they have against each other, such that masked gang would even want to use girl as bait to lure Luhan? 

As for the intertwined mysterious pasts of Luhan and Kris, I think that this is what is keeping many of us on the edge and is probably key to understanding everything that has been going on now, as mentioned in the summary. 

Overall Comments
There are still many mysteries in the story that have yet to be explained - whether Luhan and Kris are wolves, how they are related etc. I do believe that these will be brought up in upcoming episodes so I won't consider them to loopholes in the plot. Rather, I thought the way cliffhangers were utilized at the end of both episodes was quite appropriate and effective. They slowly led us in into the wolf theme and kept us curious. Since the immortal-meets-human concept is typically seen in many dramas, I like how the pasts of Luhan and Kris gives texture to the otherwise potentially boring plot and gives us something to look forward to. 

But what I didn't like is how these 2 episodes are completely centered around Kai and Luhan, with bits of Tao, Kris and D.O. here and there, and the rest of EXO having barely any scenes.   

There were also many redundant and highly exaggerated scenes as well. They were ostensibly added in to depict EXO as macho men, by allowing them to showcase their stunts and moves. And well yes they may be cool, but they are unnecessary. Fighting scenes have never been easy to film, but given that much of the 2 episode involved fighting, more effort should have been put in. The intensity and ferocity of the fights wasn't well shown, and in addition to the fact that fighting scenes were centered around mostly Kai, Luhan and Tao hence the awkward shots of their faces in the midst of 'highly nerve-wrecking fights', I found the fighting scenes mildly amusing. 

Because there are barely any said words, development of characters and plot can only be shown visually. In this aspect, I though that EXO's acting wasn't all that bad - the story line could be easily followed. Plot progression, though, felt kind of slow. Much revolved around the fighting scenes including the solo shots of Kai / Tao flipping their hair for exaggerated effect, but we barely know anything about the symbol, which should be central to the plot. As for the music in the background, I thought that it was mostly quite effective in creating the atmosphere and mood for the scene, even if the lyrics of the song didn't necessarily link to what was going on (e.g. Baby Don't Cry playing when nobody was crying). The only song I could find much fault in was Growl which really stood out, in a bad way.

All in all, the drama version wasn't disappointing, but there were its bad points too. Hopefully, I'll be back again some time to recap on future episodes. 

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{ 4 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. yea the this MV sucked almost as much as the first one. The story didn't make sense and the action scenes were cheesy and ridiculous.SM needs to watch B.A.P's one shot and take notes on how to make a proper drama MV.

  2. I just understand.. I, earlier, thought it was Luhan's house where the picture of Kris n Luhan was -until you said reverse-, but how could Luhan or Kris come to the girl's house? Did Kris knew her too? Besides, It's impolite and non sense.
    Second, I even thought Kai and the girl are siblings. The way he waved to the girl, or kissed her, is like brother did to me. No chemistry at all. Or just "sibling" chemistry. Speak of it, I did not see that kiss scene. Or did I just not watch it carefully?
    Last, I think this drama version has not finished yet. Or I just dont get it, the plot? No offense, but If the label has just planned until this 2nd part, it will leave no impression at all, not like Before You Go of TVXQ.


    The background
    music in the drama MV and how it relates to the plot of the MV

    Black Pearl: Used
    in the beginning, where Kris and Luhan seem to have some sort of meeting.
    Generally the lyrics of Black Pearl do seem to tell its own story, of starting
    a new voyage, or finding new hope and overcoming hardship. We can say that
    here, the task Kris is assigning Luhan, can bring Luhan both hardship, yet give
    him something to hope for (his love interest).

    Heart Attack: Here
    Luhan is shown to be running away from a mob, and his love interest is well sun
    gazing (?). When Luhan saves the girl from the mob, they catch eyes. We can say
    that here, there's a feeling of a "heart attack", however not a very
    negative feeling here. Think of it as love at first sight.

    Don't Go: This song
    can be used as a foreshadow of what is to happen in the end. We can use this
    song in Luhan's perspective, where he finds friends, and the girl he had saved.
    I feel as though Luhan may never had, had company like this, so he definitely
    doesn't want them to go [leave him].

    Wolf: As the fight
    scene commences, Wolf then has it's turn to play. Being already familiar with
    Wolf and it's concept, we can already guess what this could mean. In this
    scene, Luhan releases his inner wolf, after seeing his own friends risk their
    own health and lives for him. When Luhan injures D.O after being unable to
    control himself, his new found friends abandon him. We can say that no person
    wants to be friends with a monster, the song "Don't Go" being played
    earlier to foreshadow the fate of this friendship.

    credits: byuns-bakery


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