K-Drama Review: Hotel De Luna. Maybe you will feel interested in this drama and the cast!
I had a pair of strange starts and stops over three months trying to observe and finish the Hong Sisters’ (Master’s Sun) fantasy romance K-drama “Hotel Del Luna“ (2019), starring gorgeous IU (“My Mister”, “Dream High”, “Scarlet Heart Ryeo”, “Producer”) and growing-more-mature-every-day Yeo Jin Goo (“The Crowned Clown”, “Circle”, “I Miss You”, “The Moon Embracing The Sun”, “Swallow The Sun”) an actor I had been watching since 2005’s Sad Movie, his first acting role at age seven, where he movingly and unforgettably played a bit boy whose mother was dying of cancer. After I saw that movie way previously I believed to myself, “This incredible little actor goes places”, and that I was right.
Part of that strange schedule of watching this drama in such an on and off again fashion was because I used to be more engrossed in several other Korean dramas airing at the identical time, so I ended up putting this one on the rear burner, but probably the largest reason for my fitful watching schedule on Hotel Del Luna was because I assumed I.U. had far better chemistry with the second male lead, played by Lee Do Hyun (who bore an uncanny resemblance to Kim Bum of Boys Over Flowers which Winter The Wind Blows fame), a personality she had loved in her past life.
Every time they were on screen together sparks were flying, whereas whenever she was on screen with lead male Yeo Jin Goo their on-screen relationship seemed rather forced to me, almost like an older sister bossing a younger brother around – just not very romantic. Not the actors’ fault, but the writers’. Yeo Jin Goo’s character looked as if it would be more of her lapdog, doing her bidding (often thanks to her threats); he was almost an afterthought to her character most of the time. The Hong Sisters played up IU and Lee Do Hyun’s relationship so heavily within the beginning of the drama, and so threw in a very surprise that made their relationship end badly, forcing the drama into a bizarre revenge plot rather than a spooky romance, which I assumed it absolutely was visiting be. I reasonably resented that manipulation of the audience by the Hong Sisters, but I suppose that they had no choice if they wanted to finish the series with a romance between the 2 main leads within the present-day instead.
The Story of Hotel Del Luna
Because of numerous sins in her past life as a lady warrior 1300 years earlier, including murders, beautiful but often petty and greedy Jang Man Wol (IU) is condemned through the resulting ages to be the resident CEO of the spooky Hotel Del Luna (“The Inn Of The Moon For The Dead”), located in what’s going to eventually become downtown Seoul, a hotel that caters mostly to ghosts, either working there as staff or passing through the place visiting their eventual eternal destinations. within the modern-day, humans passing by the hotel see what seems like an abandoned, antiquated building with just two stories, but spirits can see its true condition: an enormous high rise, ornate, gorgeous building with many floors and windows and two towers that glow at midnight. (I guess I should add here that the CGI and cinematography on this series were simply incredible!).
Man Wol’s hotel staff includes one human, a thirty-year veteran senior administrator-manager, No Joon Seok (Jeong Dong Hwan, who played the evil scientist mogul in “Nine: Nine Time Travels”); a ghost matron housekeeper Choi Seo Hee (Bae Hae Sun from “Exit”); a ghost bellhop and doorman Ji Hyun Joong (P.O., “Encounter”) who doesn’t love his job but who often manages to sport a contented grin despite his feelings; a ghost general clerk, bartender, and host named Kim Sun Bi (Shin Jung Keun, “Pinocchio”) who wont to be a scholar within the Joseon era, and a reasonable ghost hotel intern named Kim Yoo Na (Kang Min Na).
In the present day, we soon learn that the one human on staff, No Joon Seok are “moving on” (read: dying) and he doesn’t want to stay around the hotel anymore, at the same time as a spirit, but go on to heaven (everyone whom we see visiting heaven during this drama goes there by way of a limousine traveling through a tunnel, LOL).
That means that Man Wol will find another hotelman quickly. She interviews several candidates, on the other hand, settles on a Harvard MBA Graduate (but of course!) named Goo Chan Sung (Yeo Jin Goo) who really doesn’t want the task, however, he has little choice because of Man Wol’s general threats to shove scary ghosts in his face constantly, and also because his broke father (cameo role by Oh Ji Ho from Chuno), back when he was a baby (Kim Kang Hoon), had promised handy his son over to Man Wol’s control when he became an adult, as payment of a debt.
Goo Chan Sung reluctantly accepts the work as a new decision-maker, is introduced to the staff, and so tries to work out a way to deal effectively along with his intense, beautiful, yet very mysterious boss Man Wol. He wonders why she has this penchant for getting rich cars and other luxuries when she’s often in debt herself to stay the hotel running and servicing ghosts/spirits. He tries to work out why she becomes very sad when she stands under a very beautiful tree outside the hotel at midnight and stares longingly at the moon.
He starts to possess dreams about her then realizes that he might actually be seeing her past in these dreams, and her relationship with a young warrior named Ko Choeng Myung (Lee Do Hyun), which started violently then again, after he saves her brother-in-arms named Yeon Woo (Lee Tae Sun, excellent though short performance) from death she begins to fall soft on with him.
However, eventually, it seems that he was only trying to urge her to be told her warrior group’s secrets, so he can eventually kill all the rebels who fight together with her. Then he has Yeon Woo executed by hanging. Man Wol vows revenge … but will it’s hundreds, perhaps over one thousand, years before she will get her chance?
While the backstory is played in flashbacks, we then often leap ahead to the current day too, and that we are aware of the lives of certain ghosts staying at the hotel, or transitioning from earth to heaven. there have been some stories that were lifted out of other movies and dramas, just like the schoolgirl who desires the necklace of a classmate and is willing to kill for it: that plot point was taken right out of the 2011 Korean film Spellbound! The Hong Sisters must try to be more original in the future like they were with their masterpiece “Master’s Sun”! Please! Their next drama shouldn’t be about ghosts. Try something different, ladies! 🙂
I think my favorite ghost story was in episode four, when an old man who died in his sleep at his run-down apartment, didn’t want to go away for heaven without his beloved, faithful dog by his side, therefore the Amanita phalloides (Kang Hong Suk) allows them to travel into the limo to heaven together. That doggie was so cute and jogged my memory of my very own dog named Dixie. 🙂
There are some cute cameos during this series by Lee Joon Gi and Lee Si Eun and Nam Da Reum and therefore the lately departed Sulli (RIP), and even Kim Soo Hyun, recently released from his military duty, made an appearance, and people were fun to work out, but really too brief. the center of the show should are the link between IU’s character and Yeo Jin Goo’s character but honestly, I had to do really hard to “feel” it. Most of the stress on this drama gave the impression to be as a model and acting showcase for I.U., and her gowns sure were beautiful, but that alone can’t satisfy the future K-drama fan like myself who is trying to find the following masterpiece.
After watching this drama I still feel that I.U.’s real acting triumph was in “My Mister” (2018) and for Yeo Jin Goo it absolutely was “The Crowned Clown” (2018-19); both of those dramas were unique, intelligently written, compelling, humanistic, and exquisitely acted as total ensemble pieces, rather than showcase pieces for a specific performer alone. They also had a million times better OSTs! a minimum of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, which might occasionally crop up at odd moments. 😉 I might strongly suggest you watch those dramas first before you watch Hotel Del Luna. Luna could be a nice hamburger at a good restaurant but My Mister and therefore the Crowned Clown are top sirloin steaks at a 5-Star restaurant. 🙂 many styles during this drama, sure, but I prefer Substance.
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