A Werewolf Boy: Bit, But Not Fully Transformed

It has been a while since anything has hit me this hard emotionally. I’m always extremely weary of things that make me like that. I’m a sucker for hard hitting emotional dramas whether they are good or not. If it makes me cry, I’ll keep watching it. For example, Boys Over Flowers. I cried so hard when Jan Di is rejected by Jun Pyo in Macau.

Aw.. who am I kidding. I still go back and watch episode 14 when I’m having a really bad day and just need to cry it out.

Back to my point. I didn’t like Boys Over Flowers (don’t hate me!!!!). I thought the script was a mess, the acting sub par, and that camera work atrocious. Seriously, it was so bad. Yet I watched the whole thing and marathoned quite a few episodes and still to this day have no idea why.

There were a lot of things I liked about A Werewolf Boy. It wasn’t a completely terrible of a film which. It had all the makings of a spectacular movie if it had only been done a little cleaner. Had some loose ends tied up, the pacing a little less rough, and the acting polished a little.

A Werewolf Boy stars Song Joong Ki and Park Bo Young. Two actors that I knew relatively nothing about coming into this movie. I’ve started Nice Guy staring Joong Ki but haven’t finished it yet. I have never seen anything that Bo Young has been in. These two were the stand-outs in this movie for sure. I can’t wait to see them in more productions. It is really too bad that Joong Ki will be in the military for the next two years. *heart starts to break*

The movie starts in Modern times America where we see our heroine Su Ni (played by Bo Young) as an old lady. She goes to Korea to meet her granddaughter and sell her house that she lived in as a young women with he Mother and two sisters. Once there we start into the story that is told through flashback.

Her family has moved to the country side after her father has died and she herself is being afflicted by her health. The first day there, the notice that a boy (played by Song Ki) is living near their barn. But he is not a boy at all, but a young man about the same age as Su Ni.

The boy cannot talk or communicate like normal humans. He acts just like a wild animal The family decides to take him in anyway and name him Chul Soo. Not knowing how else to communicate with him, Su Ni finds a book on training dogs. She teaches him to obey and how to play with her younger siblings and the neighboring kids. In return he is extremely loyal to her. This leads to only trouble for him when he attacks Ji Tae–the rich son of their deceased father’s business partner, the guy that wants to marry Su Ni, and the only thing keeping her family from being kicked out of the house.

The “werewolf” concept in this film was quite refreshing. I liked the idea of having a human that acted like a wild animal. It brought an interesting perspective on the idea of love and loyalty. It didn’t hurt the film that the Joong Ki and Bo Young’s chemistry was amazing.

My favorite aspect of this film was the cinematography. This is where I get to go on my little rant about how much I love Asian filmmaking, if for nothing else, because of the cinematography. They know how to create some beautiful shots. The picture above is a prime example.

Whenever there is an intimate moment between Chul Soo and Soon Yi they bring the frame in really tight on the two. So tight that at times the tension can be uncomfortable. But that is the point. Chul Soo has an unnaturally unfailing loyalty to Su Ni. One that makes you yearn for more but at the same time realize that there is something off with this boy.

Then other times they would show them at such a wide shot it reminded you how much different and far away from each other they were. Beautiful!

I thought that Soong Ki did an amazing job with Chul Soo. I just wish I could have loved Su Ni more. She was a strong character and I wouldn’t have wanted her any other way. There was times, though, that the character got a little whiny and unbearable. I don’t think that was entirely Bo Young’s fault. Part of that lies in the script that could have been written a little tighter. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

For the most part, I liked Bo Young in this film. When it came to the feisty moments, she was spot on. When she had to get down and dirty for the more subtle moments, she fell quite flat. She does just fine with big expressions but when her acting needs to be small, you miss it all together. This is something I find is missing in a lot of Asian cinema period, though. I’m starting to wonder if this is just a HUGE cultural difference. What do you think?

The biggest problem I had with this film was the script. There were so many loose ends. When the credits started to roll, I sort of sat there and went, Wha??

SPOILER ALERT!

How did Chul Soo not age at all? Where did he learn to speak/read Korean after he was isolated from people again? Bo Young did not teach him THAT much. Where exactly did he come from anyway? Were there others like him? How come he didn’t know that Su Ni was there until she went out into the barn? Was that whole part a dream?

I’d like to add here that all of my questions are from a scene that I’m pretty sure was added in the directors cut. Normally I like directors cuts. In this case, not so much. It left more questions than it could have answered and the film was fine without it. I liked not knowing what happened to Chul Soo. I was ok with that because you didn’t need to know what happened. Su Ni can never go back to that time in her life and really shouldn’t.

SPOILERS OVER

The other problem I had was the pacing. The beginning was great. It wasn’t until you learned what exactly Chul Soo was that the pacing started to go awry. There were so many things happening one right after another but there was no build to it. A bunch of events would happen and speed up the pace. Then all of a sudden they’d slow it down.. For example:

We know that Ji Tae is trying to get rid of Chul Soo any way possible. After a night of partying he runs into a neighbor’s sheep pen. He then blames in on Chul Soo which sparks interest in the boy and Ji Tae brings in experts to hopefully take him away. It all seems to unnecessary and only put there as a way to bring the plot to were the filmmakers want it to go. Not as a way to actually tell the story.

Having all these characters randomly show up and added plot lines took away from Su Ni and Chul Soo’s time on screen. We needed to give them all back story now and a reason for them to stick around This could have been ok if they had worked the experts in earlier to the film and not have them be random characters that just show up near the end story.

I don’t really care how Chul Soo got the way he is. It really isn’t that important to the central story which is Chul Soo and Su Ni. If you wanted to tear the couple apart, there were plenty of other ways to do it that didn’t drag in unnecessary character and drag down the plot.

Overall, I liked the film and I will be watching it again. It was everything I wanted and more, even though there were some definite flaws.

What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

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