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[TVB drama] [Drama Critique] The Conquest

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发表于 2009-3-21 17:06:09 |显示全部楼层

Review from:

http://www.spcnet.tv/TVB-Series/The-Conquest-review-r1463.html

Feel free to discuss, I copied this from the above site, all copyrights and perspective belong to the author

Year:
2006
Section:
TVB Series
Average Rating:
      (out of 1 review)

 

 

Reviewed by: InfinityOnHigh
Rating:      

 

 

 

 

Cast
Joe Ma - Fu Chai
Damien Lau - Gou Jian
Chen Kun - Fan Li
Sonija Kwok - Xi Shi
Power Chan - Wen Zhong

The rest of the cast consists of Mainland actors and actresses.

 

Foreword
This series is a collaboration between China's CCTV and Hong Kong's TVB, touching on the storyline of the famous historical event that took place during the Warring Periods 490 - 473 B.C. This is the story of the infamous enmity between King Fu Chai of the Wu state and King Gou Jian of the Yue state and how Gou Jian was willing to suffer extreme humiliation by Fu Chai in order to keep himself alive and restore his empire, with the help of Fan Li and Wen Zhong. Interestingly, that was how the idiom "Wo Xin Chang Dan" - "lying beside the cauldron and tasting the gall" - came about, which depicted how Gou Jian had a taste of the impoverished peoples' lives during that time. The actor who played Fan Li is Chen Kun, a very famous actor in Mainland with the nickname of the "Depressing Prince", as he has the ability to emote melancholic expressions and feelings through his eyes.

 

Story
The story begins with the death of Fu Chai's father, 3 years before Fu Chai ascended the throne and successfully defeated Yue. As events advance, the timeline is fast-forwarded to 3 years later when Gou Jian, being complacent with his own victory over Wu, suggested taking the initiative to conquer Wu. He was met with the objections of Wen Zhong and Fan Li who thought that, as Fu Chai still harbours deep hatred towards Gou Jian for causing his father's death, it wasn't the right time to launch an attack on the angsty Wu. However, Gou Jian went ahead with his own desire and ended up suffering a major defeat. The true story unfolds here as it depicts the journey of how Gou Jian became Fu Chai's slave and rebuilt his kingdom discreetly enlisting the help of the famous beauty Xi Shi to seduce Fu Chai and making Fu Chai indulge in making merry with Xi Shi every day and neglecting the state affairs as a result - even killing his most loyal subject Wu Zixu under the insinuation of Xi Shi and Zheng Dan. And there begins the demise of the Wu kingdom.

 

Performances of the main cast:

Joe Ma (King Fu Chai): In this series, the image of Fu Chai is portrayed more vividly and, of course as usual, the historical image of the ruler is beautified a little here, as you notice how Fu Chai seemed to admire Fan Li a lot and treated him as a real opponent - even to the extent of asking him to be his advisor, which Fan Li of course declined. His demise began when Xi Shi came into the picture, where they first met at the Yue borders in Episode 3.

Joe Ma looked much older here, I swear. But he gave a really good performance in the series. I was looking forward to the scenes with Fu Chai in it every time, and kudos to TVB which made Joe's character so likeable somehow - even though he's supposed to be the wastrel ruler in the series. Joe has improved, to my delight, as he was able to evoke the fiery emotions of Fu Chai through his body language. Along with his role in "Triumph In The Skies" and "Revolving Doors of Vengeance", his rendition of Fu Chai has got to be one of my favourite Joe characters too. 4.5/5

 

Damien Lau (Gou Jian): He soon became the underdog after Wu conquered Yue. Along with the anguish he harboured inside his heart after the remorseful decision to invade Wu hastily, he displayed his inner-born courage and determination when he became Fu Chai's slave and even tasted his poo for him - this is a true event. Thanks to the constant encouragement from his Queen and the trustful aides Fan Li and Wen Zhong, he picked himself up and eventually turned the tables round.

 

Damien Lau - what can I say. A veteran, he kept his usual standard acting in this series. But perhaps because his character is a rather one-sided person, his character fails to stand out among the likes of Fu Chai and Fan Li and Xi Shi. Or rather, Gou Jian's spirit of perseverance entwined throughout the whole serial, which makes you really admire this character. Gou Jian isn't as complicated as compared to the other main characters but I'll rate it according to Damien's performance. At his usual best. 4.5/5

 

Chen Kun (Fan Li): Lots of emotional struggles for this character, who has to bear the heart-wrenching moments of witnessing his beloved Xi Shi in the arms of another man. He was mentally torn apart, as on one side, it was his duty to aid Gou Jian in restoring his empire - which was to send Xi Shi to Wu to seduce Fu Chai. On the other hand, he had to send his beloved away to another man. Who could ever stand it, especially after witnessing their romantic scenes? Fan Li was originally born a Chu person. He rose to prominence after Gou Jian made him his advisor, hence, Fan Li was fanatically loyal to Gou Jian because he was his benefactor.

 

Chen Kun - Famous Mainland actor. I felt quite comfortable with his Cantonese dubbed voice. Fan Li could be categorized as a more "melancholic" character in the series as he often had to act with his eyes and body language rather than touching on words. I liked him a lot in the series, although Fu Chai is still my favourite! But Chen Kun delivered a great job here in my perspective. Not much flaws about him, just that Fan Li can really be a tad too "boring" at times, but that's okay. 4.5/5

 

Sonija Kwok (Xi Shi): One of the famous four beauties in history. According to most, Xi Shi is supposedly the "leader" of the four, possessing the most charming looks ever. The idiom "Chen Yu Luo Yan" by Chen Yu referred to the fish sinking to the bottom of the water out of shyness after witnessing how beautiful Xi Shi was. She developed a really fast romance with Fan Li after Fan Li only saw her for the first time washing silk by the stream.

 

Sonija Kwok - I was a little skeptical about the choice to cast her as Xi Shi - she definitely had the looks to pull it off but Xi Shi was supposed to have a sweet voice and Sonija's was miles apart. Nevertheless, that didn't deter me from evaluating her performance. There was a significant improvement in her acting in this series and her costumes were really gorgeous. I especially loved how her hair was braided or tied up after she became the concubine of Fu Chai. She carried the dainty and elegant disposition of Xi Shi well. I loved her scenes with Fu Chai and Fan Li in the series, and nothing much to pick on her really, except that she can't really cry. There wasn't a drop of tear coming out of her eyes when she was supposed to cry! Maybe the crew should have given her Eye-Mo? She has to brush up on her crying skills, it's really important. 4/5

 

Power Chan (Wen Zhong): Another trusted aide of Gou Jian. A really serious person by nature, he's really serious ALL the time. One of the most hilarious scenes was in Episode 1 when Gou Jian and Fan Li had too much to drink and Fan Li accidentally slept on Gou Jian's bed. When Wen Zhong saw that, he was in a fluster and immediately apologized to Gou Jian constantly! Then when Fan Li commented that he had muddy boots which was also considered offensive, Wen Zhong was even more flustered and kept bowing his head! He was also a good buddy of Fan Li - he was the one who recommended Fan Li to Gou Jian.

 

Power Chan - At most he's a major supporting actor, so I can't really say much about his performance - But for sure I enjoyed his dialogues with Fan Li - they really set you thinking deep, and as usual he was great here. TVB should give him bigger roles, as I believe he has the ability to carry it off. 4.5/5

 


Just some random ramblings and facts....
-The chinese idiom "Chen Yu Luo Yan" was used to describe the striking beauty of Xi Shi and Wang Zhao Jun. For Xi Shi, it was said that the fish in the waters would sink to the bottom of the water due to shyness upon witnessing Xi Shi's beauty. "Luo Yan" was used when flocking geese were so captivated by Wang Zhao Jun's beauty while she was blowing a tune as a farewell to her country that they accidentally bumped into some obstacles and fell to the ground.

 

-The chinese idiom "Bi Yue Xiu Hua" was used to describe the striking beauty of Diao Chan and Yang Gui Fei. It was said that on one night Diao Chan was sitting by the window and that night was a full moon night. However,the moon soon got blocked by the dark clouds as it was described as the moon was too ashamed of its own beauty after witnessing Diao Chan's that it hid behind the clouds. On the other side, the pretty flowers all looked down on the floor as they were not up to match to Yang Gui Fei's beauty.

 

-There were 3 versions of Xi Shi's ending. The first version was that Xi Shi was ordered to drown herself in the river by Gou Jian after Wu was destroyed as he himself didn't want to be enamoured by her beauty and end up having the same fate as Fu Chai. The second version was that the other concubines of Fu Chai were jealous of Xi Shi gaining so much favour from Fu Chai that they killed her shortly after the demise of Wu. The third version was that after the defeat of Wu, Xi Shi reunited with Fan Li and they travelled the country, disappearing behind the horizons.

 

-Interestingly, there was said to be a woman called Dong Shi who was miles apart from Xi Shi, albeit almost having the same name. Dong Shi was an extremely ugly woman with hideous looks, however, she always wanted to emulate Xi Shi in terms of behaviour and actions, believing that she could turn beautiful too by copying Xi Shi's actions, especially when Xi Shi was at her most charming whenever her chest pains acted up and she pounded her chest with her hand. Hence Dong Shi tried doing the same action on the streets and immediately all people ran off at the unsightly sight. Hence the chinese idiom "Dong Shi Xiao Pin" came about to describe one emulating someone else but having futile efforts.

 

Conclusion
I guess it's still worth watching, with the accurate listing of history events and the charms of the main leads. Not as boring as it seems to be, quite a stellar production, especially with the charming Chen Kun and pretty Sonija as eye-candy. Just make sure that you do have the patience to watch through the 42 episodes.

小豬這周一定要中Mark 6


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发表于 2010-5-16 18:02:17 |显示全部楼层
TVB Xinghe is showing this series starting this weekend. I started watching the series and now reached episode 15. Those who have not watched this, it is definitely worth watching. Although Damian's character does not stand out as much as the other main lead, he bring his own flavour into the series from Episode 1 onwards.
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发表于 2010-7-22 00:43:43 |显示全部楼层
Credits to http://www.yesasia.com/us/the-conquest-dvd-end-tvb-drama-us-version/1022986374-0-0-0-en/info.html

According to YesAsia, the US version of this series will be release on DVD on August 15, 2010 (no English subtitles though).  Unlike, the Chinese version, it looks like the US version will be released in 1 complete set rather than 2 sets.

Note: Not trying to be a seller for YesAsia, just referencing them for the information. 

P.S. I already have this series on DVD in the Chinese version.  However, one of the disc is scratched :( and I bought it in Hong Kong (can't return it since I don't live thousands of miles away).  So depending upon whether the scratched disc is playable or not will determine if I will be buying the US version.
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发表于 2010-7-22 07:30:52 |显示全部楼层
Thanks Awm, but even if you dont have one of the disc, it is nit too bad and you can still follow the drama until you get the disc because many of the parts, there is no Damian in it and it is basically quite long and repeating the same story line.
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发表于 2010-7-22 13:42:40 |显示全部楼层
The drama series had lower viewership ratings first broadcast on tvb in 2006 than the other ones starred by Damian. Maybe, quality of collaborated series are not satisfactory.
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发表于 2010-7-23 04:52:34 |显示全部楼层
Penny, thank you for your suggestion! I will keep that in mind when I starting watching it (after I finish "The Great General" and "Growing through life").   :)  There is only so many that I can watch at a time.

丁香, maybe.  I hope "Growing through Life" will get better ratings! :loveliness:




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发表于 2010-12-19 16:18:09 |显示全部楼层
Just finished this series a few minutes ago. The most interesting feeling for me is that I found that I like almost every character in the series except for Damian's and the girl who faked pregnancy to live a rich life.  I don't like those characters not because of their acting or anything. In fact their acting was brilliant especially Damian. :$:[42] I also thought the rest of the cast did a great job with acting their characters too.  The reason why I dislike the girl who faked pregnancy to live a rich life is obvious.  As for why I hate Damian's character it is because of how he treated his loyal advisers, family, and friends.  In fact, I have never dislike / hate a character so much.   When his character was first introduced, I dislike him for being overly too aggressive and for how much of a loser he was after he has lost.  I did start to respect him for his sufferings and determined will to restore his country.  But later on in the story with how he treated his loyal advisers, friends, and family made me hate him. Although I understand why he did it, I was not able to be as forgiving like I did to other characters that Damian has acted in.  I guess like his son and Fan Li I am not made to be a king or queen in that era.  

Overall, I enjoy the series.  I like the battle of the wits theme throughout the series.  The middle of the series was a bit dragging some times but it was not that bad.  Some of the battles were done well.  The scenery of the mountains and waters were very pretty. I don't have an extensive knowledge of Chinese history but from the looks and feel of the series it made it seem like these characters and events truly existed.   There might be some fiction here and there but I won't know what is and what is not.  


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发表于 2017-6-8 08:29:11 |显示全部楼层
Damian has collaborated with Joe Ma 4x (Catch Me Now, DOL, Conquest, and a bit in Awakeing Story) .... I wish Damian can role with other artist that he has never collaborated : Ruco Chan.

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