A Review of the SciFi Korean Drama Memories of the Alhambra

Memories of the Alhambra

Korean Drama Review

 

SO I’m going to say something here that might be a bit controversial. As much as I loved Memories of the Alhambra Korean drama as a whole, my main problem with a lot of Kdramas are their fantastical premiere episodes. They deliver so much hype and excitement – so much promise that I feel like they set themselves up for an inevitable failure  disappointment.

 

This was exactly how the drama played out. I found the first two episodes really promising and I was thinking at the back of my mind that if this was done right, it could be one of the best dramas this year. Memories of the Alhambra was very ambitious and unique – you definitely has got to give that to the writer.

 

Great concept – great execution but ended with not so great writing.

 

 

By no means am I saying this was a bad drama. As opposed to quite a few comments I’ve seen about this, I really enjoyed watching this one and don’t regret watching it at all. It was fast paced and exciting. It was scary how his world that seemed enviable at first to many suddenly turned horrid.

 

Memories of The Alhambra has done a great job on keeping the pace throughout most of its run. I loved the first half so much that I waited and stopped watching until the drama is finished so I could binge-watch this. Things turned out to be a bit less favourable by many by the second half and I did see what they were talking about.

 

 

For all its mystery and questions looming over our heads throughout the drama – it never fully answered those questions and led the viewers stitching each piece together themselves. And that doesn’t even really assure you if that’s actually what the writer intended. In short, I felt like the writer got confused in the end as to where to go and how to tie the story up.

 

CHa Hyung Seok as a NPC

 

But I really have to dispel the negativity that I felt shrouded this drama towards the end and say to all those that want to start watching this but are skeptical because of that, is that it really isn’t bad. I mean it’s not really bad – it was fantastically done, albeit with a few loose ends. There was so much effort and work behind the drama and it really showed. I mean they filmed for seven months!

I loved the actors  – they did a great job at what they’ve been given especially Park Shin Hye. I truly thought the way her character was written was really fitting for their situation. Yes, compared to her male counterpart, she could’ve been more developed but I still liked her the way she was.

I don’t know what he’s doing here, but that background makes this picture really stunning 😍

 

 

I honestly wasn’t too bothered with the romance by the time I saw the first episode.

It was evident that this was heavily focused on the game/AR side of the drama and on Jin Woo’s journey through it rather than the romance. And I found that I was fine with that and I wanted them to focus on the game too. That was how interesting and thrilling it felt.

The storytelling I really liked too. We had Hyun Bin narrating throughout the drama and then the scenes given to us at their climax, only to be given more background about it later. We’re left to wonder what’s happening and it’s only when they give us the back story to those scenes that they actually made sense. The drama really made use of that technique really well for most of its run. It was unique in that it’s the first time I’ve seen this kind of storytelling being used so much.

 

        Park Shin Hye as EMMA

 

 

I really enjoyed Memories of the Alhambra Korean Drama. It was definitely a breath of fresh air and a nice addition to the Sci Fi genre. And also, the Granada was shot so beautifully! They definitely did the place justice – it made me want to go see it. There were ofcourse, a few plot holes that were glossed over and conclusions implied rather than showed clearly. There were quite a few instance of this in the show that I honestly lost track and didn’t really care. It felt too intense for me to actually even really notice those  – and overall, I could kinda make up what could’ve gone on in my mind that I wasn’t too concerned about that.

 

Granada

 

I was pretty satisfied with the ending too, surprisingly. I don’t know if its because I didn’t get too attached that much or if it’s because it’s implied clear enough. I can understand people’s complaints with wanting more detail though. I did too.

 

 

But really, there was just a lot to absorb in those last few episodes that everything else seemed to just pass over my head.

 

 

Overall, Memories of the Alhambra Korean drama certainly deserves to be given a try. I feel like quite a lot of people’s negative comments has overridden how good this drama actually is. The scenes were stunning – Park Shin Hye was convincing as a Spanish local, the thriller scenes delivered (I could actually feel anticipation whenever I hear the guitar strumming playing in the background).

 

 

I really felt like the writer really has got a creative imagination but Memories of The Allhambra felt like it could’ve been polished a bit more. There were details that could’ve been finer and I felt like the story got out before it’s actually ready. BUT, to her credit, this was such a unique and a brave take on something different.

 

 

It promised to be fast paced and immersive – and to the drama’s credit, it did just that right up to the end.

 


Memories of the Alhambra Korean Drama Review

– longer review

 

*SPOILERS AHEAD!!!*

 

 

Things I Liked:

The Concept The Characters

and 

relationships

  • AR Game

A new deeper delving into the world of Augmented Reality, Memories of The Alhambra Korean drama offers SciFi fans a thrilling watch. Fast paced and immersible – it draws you in to their world, regardless of the flaws.

 

One of my favourites from that genre, Circle, was amazing and what a ride that was! Memories of the Alhambra Korean drama I’m relieved to have seen lived up to that pacing. Although it used flashbacks a bit too much in the end than was effective for the drama, they really achieved a great pacing throughout that kept you watching more.

 

 

I loved the whole ensemble. Hee Joo’s family – her grandma and her little sister Min Joo ligtened up the modd and lent us a familiar feeling. A light and much needed reprieve from all that heaviness.

  • Min Joo and Jin Woo

Probably my most favourite relationship in this drama, Min Joo(played by Lee Re) was the perfect character. I was always looking forward to her interactions with Jin Woo because it was always unique and refreshing.

  • Jin Woo and Secretary Seo Jung Hoon

Who doesn’t love a loyal person? I just loved when he became Jin Woo’s ally and him coolly saving him from Director Cha.

 

  • Park Seun Ho (Lee Seung Joon)

Co-founder of J-One Holdings and Jin Woo and Cha Hyung Seok’s friend. Towards the end, he could’ve passed off as one of the male leads for the amount of screen time he’s got. Which was fine for me because he’s such a nice person. The uncertainty with Jin Woo’s situation was believable and understandable too.

 

  • Park Shin Hye as Emma and Hee Joo

Park Shin Hye really did well in my opinion. Especially playing two characters, the contrast was even more visible. She was so stunning as Emma. You can’t helped but be drawn to her. She looked great in that costume she’s wearing and with her playing the guitar, there’s no wonder why Choi Yang Joo of J One Holdings wanted to keep her.

 

And as Hee Joo, despite the flaws in her character, I still really liked her especially in the earlier episodes. She definitely has more personality and individuality there and it’s a shame that wasn’t developed more. She was convincing as a Spanish local and I just loved her angry rants. I’m one of the few that really liked how their ‘relationship’ started in Spain. It was short but the connection was there.

 

 

 

 

 

Bits that weren’t as smooooth

 

The mystery of Sejoo

From the get go – See Joo was the central character of the. He was the developer of the game and it was from him that all this stuff happened anyway. Yoo Jin Woo even risked his life to find him. But for him to finally come out and be found after all that and it turns out that he doesn’t have a clue about what’s happening? A major bummer. Good thing there was a lot more going on in the drama that I wasn’t able to fully reflect on that point. Which was good otherwise this would’ve been just really disappointing.

 

 

Unnecessary trope – The Second Wife

 

Memories of the Alhambra Korean Review of the characters
     Han Bo Reum as Go Yu Ra

 

There wasn’t much conviction or purpose behind Go Yoo Ra’s (Han Bo Reum) character in the end. At first I thought there’d be more to her and it made Jin Woo seem a bit more mysterious. In the end though, she appeared more obnoxious without much reason to make us understand her, even if we still dislike her. The mystery behind their divorce ended up to be nothing much and I felt her character was very under utilised – and again, like the writer didn’t know what to do with her. I also think we could’ve done without her at all. We’ve seen her a lot more than needed towards the end which could have been better used to explain a lot more of the plot.

 

The romance

 

 

I really, really liked the subtle and blooming relationship of Jin Woo and Hee Joo in the beginning. I’ve read a snippet of the writer’s interview regarding the criticism of Hee Joo’s character and she said that she was inspired by My Mister’s Lee Jin An. The thing was though she was caught off guard by Hyun BIn’s and Shin Hye’s character that she had to do a double take. Meaning, she tried to adhere to what she felt viewers wanted and make the most out of their chemistry.

 

 

Which I think where everything went wrong. She seemed like she had a concrete story about them in mind but wavered in between.  Had she stuck on her original plan, I think it could’ve been even better.The beauty of Lee JI An ad Dong Hoon’s relationship was that it was subtle and the understanding deep. That was the main selling point of it. So yes, Hee Joo could’ve made more of an impact but it turned out that didn’t happen.

 

 

It was really believable at first but it felt a bit more forced – but amazingly, the chemistry was still there – towards the end.

 

Memories of the Alhambra Korean Drama writer interview
Snippet of the writer’s interview

 

Memories of the Alhambra Korean Drama OST

 

Again, one of the dramas that have a great collection of OSTs. I can’t choose which one stands out to me the most because each one really went well with the scenes. If I really, really have to choose – it would be Yang Da Il’s I’m Here. It was played more towards the last episodes and I think it made more impact because it was when Jin Woo was at his lowest. The part where he goes “Hmm” in the beginning really sounded haunting and captured the essence of the scenes so perfectly. And I knew it was Ailee when I heard Is You playing. I feel like you can’t go wrong with Ailee in the OST.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQI7s0jumZE

 


Memories of the Alhambra Korean Drama:

The ending and the questions

 

I don’t have so much qualms about the ending apart from the questions everyone already raised. There were quite a few of them unanswered and just left like that. I ofcourse believed all the way that Jin Woo was alive but it was all about the hows and why. But oh well. I am pretty satisfied and happy that Hee Joo can finally be relieved and her year long wait over.

 

 

AS to how things could turn out for them later, it still didn’t seem promising. The overall question in the game (I feel like it’s a collection of questions lol) isn’t fully answered and there’s still the possibility that it’s not over yet. So season two? Possible but only if the script and story is solid and sure. I really would like to see a drama made from what the writer intended from the beginning to the end. After all, we are the viewers and we came to see what they have to offer. It’s really getting annoying seeing how public pressure/opinions have effect on the outcome of dramas so much.

 

 

Had the writer stuck to her original plan, I think many would’ve loved their relationship, be it subtle or a bit more out there. Take for example, Jin Woo and Hee Joo’s sister. They’ve got to have one of the most adorable and fun relationship in the drama. Again, I loved that for what it was. So just imagine if they left the transition or the nature of relationship the main leads witll have as it is, how much more would we have loved it?

 

I mean the writer obviously have it to pull of fantastical premises – so hopefully they could just follow the script without much influence from the public.

 


Thank you for reading! And if you want to know what I thought about this drama at first, my first impression is up.