Author Topic: MARS, The God of War  (Read 771 times)

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Offline RNIverson

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MARS, The God of War
« on: Feb 16, 2006 at 09:20 PM »
Mars, the God of War

After the incredible "Meteor Garden" (a must-watch for its beautiful stylistic direction, outrageous sense of humor, and pretty decent ensemble acting), the other Taiwanese shows that I watched generally proved disappointing, until MARS came along!

MARS is phenomenal. This show scores on the excellent storyline, fantastic soundtrack, and the gentle and sensitive directing style. The quality of the script astounded me; upon reflection, it shouldn't be surprising, actually, since this was adapted from one of the top-selling manga series (of the same name) in Japan.

This is not just any fluffy teenage romance series. It is sweet and riveting simply because the script handles certain darker themes - such as suicide, loss, and one's internal demons - sensitively and intelligently. It is about two different individuals who have to learn to face their past, and to trust in each other. Although the overall tone of the series is an optimistic one, it is also a realistic one, which makes the series all the more believable.

Cast:

Zai Zai as Chen Ling - This is a 180 degree change from his most famous role as the dreamy, quiet Huaze Lei in Meteor Garden (MG). Chen Ling is supposed to be strong, carefree and impulsive. In the first few episodes, I found Zai Zai's acting rather weak, in fact - he couldn't seem to portray Ling genuinely. However, his acting improves as the series progresses, and he handles several of the emotional scenes quite capably. At the end, I did believe that he was Ling.

Barbie Hsu as Han Qiluo - Her acting is by far the best of the entire cast. I thought she was awesome in MG, and here she proves that it wasn't a fluke. The tiniest nuances in her expressions are very well-emoted, and she was moving and so genuine in all her scenes that I actually teared up (not a frequent occurrence when watching other shows). The way she cries! It constantly amazes me with how naturally, and genuinely, and beautifully she manages her crying scenes.

An Jun Can as Fan Tong Dao - Pretty average acting...it was an appreciable attempt on his part, but I did get the feeling that he didn't manage to quite get into his role. He wasn't cold enough, or creepy enough...a large part of the creepiness should be attributed to the fantastically-suitable song that is played whenever he appears.

Xiu Jie Kai as Da Ye - A minor role which was quite capably handled. However, his inexperience does show alongside the other more experienced actors.

Lai Ya Yan as Qing Mei - She acted quite badly as the nasty Qing Mei...as the nice Qing Mei, her acting is far more natural and acceptable. However, she totally blew the scene in the final episode when she and QiLuo were crying in the hospital corridor.






Plot (*spoilers ahead!*):

With his tousled shoulder-length hair and trademark red jacket, Chen Ling (Zai Zai) is the quintessential laughing, careless, reckless young rebel who is adored by the female population in his university. In contrast, Qiluo (Barbie Hsu) is a quiet, timid artist who shuns contact with any of her fellow students, especially the male students. It is even rumored that she has a fear of men. One cool spring day, the two meet by chance in a park - and are drawn further together by Qiluo's sketch of a mother and her child. Ling, whose mother died when he was very young, is deeply touched by this sketch; Qiluo herself, though still wary of the unpredictable Ling, appreciates that for the first time, someone understands her art.

"I used to hate to go to school. Every morning, before leaving the house, I would say a little prayer: that no one would talk to me that day. But now...now I look forward to going there." - Qiluo to Ling

The two sense a connection, which they first try to deny, and then, accept. But each person has their own personal struggles with which to come to terms. Ling is haunted by his past - the tragic loss of his twin brother and the murky memories of his mother - as well as his tempestuous relationship with his father. Qiluo was sexually abused when she was younger, and fears intimacy. When the figures from Ling's past turn up and he is forced to resolve his nightmares, Qiluo stands by him; when Ling discovers Qiluo's fears, he stands by her.

"It's too late now. No matter how much I cry, it won't change anything...Sheng will never come back. I will never hear his voice again. Everything's too late...: - Ling, crying.

But there is a third figure in that of Fan Tong Dao (An Jun Can), a first-year student, who worships the reckless Ling. Tong Dao was released from a mental clinic (the same place Ling had gone to for treatment after his twin's death) and nurses an unhealthy obsession for Ling, whom he believes understands the same desire to kill, and to watch people suffer. Furious that Qiluo appears to be taming the wilder side of Ling's character, Tong Dao attempts to kill her; later, enraged by Ling's pity, he tries to destroy Ling.

"I told you - if I lose Qiluo, I will not let you off. No matter how long it takes, no matter what I have to do, I will hunt you down, and I will take revenge." - Ling to Tong Dao

NOTE: This is a very condensed version of the plot, and does not really do it justice. There are many scenes which are very well-written, and other skilful twists in the plot.

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Offline RNIverson

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Re: MARS, The God of War
« Reply #1 on: Feb 16, 2006 at 09:24 PM »
i guess the F4 fever isnt quite over yet. aired on Qtv everyday (i think) 730pm  ::)  (someone correct me if im wrong). i was a bit surprised they aired this on Qtv instead of mixing it with GMA's dramathon in the afternoon and evening. i guess it's a strategy to make viewers tune in to Qtv also. but i am surprised that it's not advertised well... i was just surprised last night to see this on air already

and of course its tagalized   ;D