Thursday, March 8, 2012

Movie Review: Antique (2008)

For the past three days, I've been reviewing movies I've watched recently and  that were released in the past few years. By the past few years I mean in the new decade. Today, I'm going to talk about one of my favorite movies, Antique. This movie was released back in 2008 and has been one of my all-time favorites. The following piece is something that I wrote three years ago for a journal assignment from school. I think the overall writing is okay and still reflects my feelings towards this movie. I can't believe I sent this in to my professors, though. As you can tell it's only a blog-worthy article. Anyways, I hope you enjoy!

The story rotates around a French cake shop named Antique. This shop is run by four charming men: cranky owner Kim Jin-hyuk (Joo Ji-hoon), genius patissier Min Sun-woo (Kim Jae-wook), cake-lover apprentice Yang Gi-bum (Yoo Ah-in), and clumsy bodyguard Nam Soo-young (Choi Ji-ho). The four main characters each have a different interesting background. Owner Jin-hyuk was kidnapped during childhood and often has nightmares at night because he couldn’t remember what happened. Patissier Sun-woo is a “gay of demonic charms” who had a crush on Jin-hyuk during high school. Apprentice Gi-bum was an ex-boxing champion who had to give up his boxing life because of an eye condition. Bodyguard Soo-young had an abused mother, moved to the Kim household and soon became a part of the family as his mother was made into a house-keeper. Throughout the story, the four men had to deal with different situations happening around the former antique shop turned cake shop. It includes dealing with Jin-hyuk’s hatred of sweetness, Sun-woo’s problematic gay life, Gi-bum’s boxing history, and Soo-young’s klutzy self. Towards the end of the movie, the attention shifted to the search of a case similar to Jin-hyuk’s when, as a child, for two months kidnapped and was fed with cakes everyday while he “stayed”. The two-decade long mystery will be solved with the help of none other than the Antique cake shop itself. Of course, being this a movie that centers in a cake shop, amazingly done shots of mouth-watering cakes can not be missed.

Antique is actually a film rendition of a manga or Japanese comic named Antique Bakery. Director Min Kyu-dong did an excellent job remaking this great manga. How should I know how good he did? One of the problems remakes have is the lack of similarity with the original. Usually a movie remake of a book will have more or less half of the scenes altered or even deleted altogether. But Antique is actually very similar if not almost similar to the manga. The way the setting is set, the order of the scenes, even what the characters are saying are precise to the manga. Even when there are language differences, the Korean movie version of the Japanese comic did a very good job. I can probably say that this is one of my favorite movies out of all the (very limited) movies I’ve watched.

Besides having excellently remaking this famous manga, Antique also has many other charms. One that I really appreciated was the cinematography used. The coloration of the final movie was full of bold, eye-catching colors and represented the colorful cakes themselves so beautifully. The colors turned out so great, it’s as if the cakes are actually right there behind the screen, like you could almost smell their sweetness and taste their delicacy. It’s truly a treat for the eyes and a desire for the tongue.

The way they had scenes come in and out is also pretty interesting. The way the flashback scenes are literally flashed in front of us rather than the usual story-telling manner also made this movie quite efficient. This way, we get an overall idea of the scenes without having to go through the trouble of watching the full version of it. When you first watched it, you might have wondered about some of the scenes which might seem to not make sense. But you’ll realize that each scene has a meaning. One example is how the prologue has scenes that are told in the movie itself but not actually shown the instant it was told. They also had some parts of the movie in musical style so the movie doesn’t get boring, even if it sometimes ended up being somewhat out of nowhere.

An important aspect of the movie that definitely can not be missed is the amazing cast. The four main actors actually suited their character’s image beautifully. Their acting skills are also something to be admired. I was really drawn into this movie and actually believed that Joo Ji-hoon was an up-tight and grumpy perfectionist, Kim Jae-wook was a gay with mad baking skills, Yoo Ah-in was a rebel who just wanted to fill his days with infinitive cakes, and Choi Ji-ho was a clumsy, short-minded, yet warm-hearted man. Besides, I just can’t deny how handsome these men are. Half of watching this movie is staring at the awesomeness of the four totally hot guys. Besides the delicious looking cakes, you just can’t help admitting the fact that the four men are a treat all on their own.

One way I could describe this movie is sugar, spice and everything nice. The sugar refers to the cakes and the four handsome men. The spice is for the problems and mysteries that have to be solved in the movie. The everything nice is, well, everything! The combination of great camera work, capturing story line, awesome cast, and of course, the cakes (we can’t forget about the cakes!), just makes this movie such a treat to watch. I definitely recommend this a must-watch for those gloomy, rainy days.

Final verdict: 8.5/10

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