Dream High

Dream High

Cast
Kim Soo Hyun – Song Sam Dong
Taec Yeon – Jin Gook / Hyun Shi Hyuk
Ham Eun Jung – Yoon Baek Hee
Bae Su Ji/ Suzy – Go Hye Mi
Jang Woo Young – Jason
IU – Kim Pil Sook
Park Jin Young – Yang Jin Man
Bae Yong Joon – Jung Ha Myung
Uhm Ki Joon – Kang Oh Hyuk
Lee Yoon Ji – Shi Kyung Jin
Ahn Kil Kang – Ma Doo Shik
It has been a while since I reviewed any dramas and I must admit, ‘Dream High’ was not a drama that I expected to watch beyond the first 4 episodes. As a drama co-produced by KeyEast, JYPE & CJ Media, the only reason why I planned to watch at least the first 4 episodes was the fact that Bae Yong Joon (as one of the producer) would be appearing in the drama from Episode 1-4.

Bae Yong Joon as Jung Ha Myung in Dream High

Helmed by mostly singers from K Pop bands, I did not place much hope nor expectation on it.
Indeed, upon watching the first 2 episodes, I seemed to have been right. The cast were a little stiff with rather weak characters and storyline. I didn’t feel any chemistry or magic as well. Compared to ‘My Princess’, the chemistry between Song Seung Hun and Kim Tae Hee (both attempting rom-com for the first time) was refreshing and enjoyable (unfortuantely, it suffered in the hands of typical K drama plot and went downhill halfway through).
But slowly, slowly, the show began to grow on me. The characters and and storyline became better. And although I wouldn’t say the cast are the best actors around, they too improved as the show went on. When did it start? Perhaps from the point when they performed SNSD’s ‘Genie’ on the street for Jin Gook’s friend or perhaps when Hye Mi sang ‘Winter’s Child’ so beautifully for Jin Gook.
Whatever it was, I found myself enjoying the show and interested to see how it would develope.
Gist
6 teenagers enter Kirin Art High School, a school specifically, for training pop stars. Each has their own reason for being there. Each has their own dreams which may or may not lie within the school compounds. But before they could even become students of the school officially, there are obstacles and fears to overcome.
In their quest to fulfil their dreams, they experienced heartaches, tears, laughter, love and hope. They matured and became stronger for it, but will they achieve their dreams?

Kim Soo Hyun as Song Sam Dong

Song Sam Dong was one of the special student specifically picked out by Jung Ha Myung, the chairman of Kirin Arts High School to join the school (without audition). Coming from the countryside, he never once thought of going into the bright lights big city. Indeed, despite his beautiful voice, he did his best to hide it from his mother going to extreme measure of disguising himself in silly çostumes and singing offkey when he joined the National Singing competition.

Song Samdong at the National Singing competition

It was all to change when Hye Mi appeared.
He was star strucked, he was enamoured, he was in love. But in the beginning, I think it was more like in love with a goddess, because I’m sure this must be how she appeared to him. But slowly, that became more than love for the unreachable for the unreachable shiny star, it became real love and more. In a moving speech towards the end, he said: “To me, you are music, music is you.”
I think if someone said that to me, I’d follow him anywhere. ^^
If Hye Mi was his shiny star, then he must be Hye Mi’s shiny knight in armour, protecting her again and again.
Sam Dong had the least character change (well, he became less of a country bumpkin) but underwent one of the most drastic physical change (the other one being Pil Sook). His hair went from really bushy to wavy to short, sharp style. In typical K Drama, he suffered from an illness. Thankfully, it was not non life- threatening (meaning he wasn’t going to die). And yet, perhaps, the possibility of going deaf would would have been just as devasting to a young boy who loves music. But to the credit of the scriptwriters, it did not descend into wailing and whining. Instead, it was used to show how he overcame everything to continue doing what he loves (after a brief spate of depression of course, which he acted out brilliantly) and eventually became The Star.
.
Kim Soo Hyun is the only non- singer amongst the 6 of them. He is an actor and a pretty good one too. Having wowed people in the drama, ‘Will it Snow for Christmas?’ and ‘Giant’, this drama only affirms that he will have a pretty bright picture ahead of him (provided he doesn’t act in too many dud dramas/ movies). Apparently, he trained for 3 months in JYPE learning how to dance and sing.
Though his dancing was just passeble (he no Woo Young definitely), his singing actually surprised all, including me.
This song is actually sang by 2AM’s Changmin and Jin Woon and became the only official MV.
Many fans were rooting or rather ‘shipping’ as they call in the fandom world, for Sam Dong and Hye Mi. And so was I. ^^
Kim Soo Hyun’s next work will be the movie, ‘Thieves’. With it’s already strong cast, I think it will be one of the most eagerly anticipated movie for the second half of the year. In the meantime, you can catch him in the SPRIS CF with Eun Jung.
Now, I’m just wondering, if he were to ever come to Singapore, would he create any ripples and waves? What do you think? ^^

Taec Yeon as Jin Gook

Jin Gook was the other special student picked by Chairman Jung. As the illegitimate son of a politician, he was understandably and supposedly rebellious, with a huge chip on his shoulder. Fights were common to him. But he is no meanie or bully. In fact, he is a real gentleman. I actually wished he was ‘badder’ in the drama as it’s would have made the storyline a little more interesting. But then, I don’t write the script. Hehe!
His love for dancing made him enter the audition but he almost gave it up as his father wanted him to go to US, where he would ‘do’ better and be out of trouble. Of course he realised finally that dancing/ singing was his dream and decided to stay on to prove to his father that he can make it.
Between him, Sam Dong, Hye Mi and Baek Hee, there is a 4-sided love relationship. Thankfully, that didn’t become too complicated. What I enjoyed most about his character was his brotherly love and interaction with the other guys in the drama. No, no, he is not gay but there is what they call ‘bromance’ (brotherly romance). Between him and his ‘hyung’ (the one thay sang ‘Genie’ too) but most of all with Sam Dong.
This was one of the more hilarious scene- where he ‘went after’ Sam Dong upon finding out that the latter was wearing his underwear.
Credit: can’t remember but it was from soompi…. sorry!
There should have been intense rivalry between him and Sam Dong over Hye Mi but I didn’t really sense it. Perhaps both were too much of a gentlemen to get into cat/ dog fights? But I must say I was impressed with his running skills and the view of his body. hehehe!
This is the second drama for Taec Yeon (the first being ‘Cinderella’s Sister’). Has his acting improved? Yes. Is it good? Let’s just say he still has some way to go. More facial expression would have been better (his agony of being being misundertood, his disappointment of not being accepted by his own father, his joy of finally realising his dream) because his character is alot more complex. Still, it was not totally bad and I’m sure he will get better.
Personally, there is one matter I have been impressed with- the fact that he gave up his American permanent residency and volunteering to be enlisted into the army. ^^ 2PM has released their Japanese debut single lasts month. I’m sure they will be very busy in Japan for a while.

Woo Young as Jason

Jason is an overseas Korean (America I think), who entered Kirin Arts High School due to his talents. But perhaps he was so talented, he doesn’t really have any real burning ambition. He’s quite a happy-go-lucky guy, who hates conformity and unfair treatment. He started off as being a friend and a gentleman to the roly-poly Pil Sook, which slowly developed into friendship and later into a love relationship. It was a gradual and natural change…so much so that the Milky Couple as they are called, received as much interest as the main couple. And I too find myself rooting for them. Thankfully, there was no real 3rd party (only imagined one) and no major setback or obstacle to thwart the love between this ultra cute couple. It was really funny and sweet to see him rush back to Korea from Japan on the mistaken believe that Pil Sook was seriously ill.
This candy (which Pil Sook often left on Jason’s locker) was sold by Tous les Jours as a limited edition especially on White Day (Korea’s version of Valentine’s Day). It’s really sweet and cheerful but errr….how to finish huh?
This was the debut drama for Woo Young, another member of 2PM. Initially, his character wasn’t a mjor one and little screen time. But the relationship between Jason and Pil Sook was so sweet and heartwarming, that the fans requested more ‘Milky’/ ‘Candy’ time. Hehehe!
The role of Jason wasn’t very demanding but Woo Young managed to convey it well and naturally. In fact, I felt that in some aspects, he was even better than Taec Yeon. Oops! Anyway, I will definitely be on the lookout for him in the future.
2PM is likely to back in our little red dot before long. ^^

Suzy as Hyae Mi

Hye Mi is a self-centred, well-off girl with a gifted voice. Having never suffered any setback in her life, she was arrogant and contemptuous of any art that is not classical. She has been accepted into the Juilliard, a famous and prestigious school for the arts in NY. But her world came tumbling down when her father had to run away because of bankruptcy. Forced to repay her father’s debts, she auditioned and failed to get into Kirin Arts High School. For probably the first time in her life, she had to beg to be accepted.
Defiant and proud intially, she ‘grew up’during that one year in the Kirin….because she had friends and teachers who believed in her. I guess having 2 cute guys ‘fighting’ over would have boosted any bruised ego too. ^^
Off topic- Hye Mi usually dresses stylishly but there was that one time when I thought…’Aiyoh….what were they thinking of??????’ The culprit? This spotted green sweater. Can get headache just looking at it….Really!
Suzy’s acting wasn’t great in the beginning. Not terrible (I have seen terrible-cringe-in-your-face type) but definitely not deserving enough to be the main lead….as many of the fans felt during the initial period. I’m sure it must have been terrible for her reading all these negative comments. And yet, she ploughed on and slowly, managed to improve. In the last scene, I could actually feel her sadness at the parting. So kudos to her.
She will be performing together with the rest of her Miss A memebers on the Korean Music Wave 2011 concert on 15th July. Who’s going? ^^

Ham Eun Jung as Yoon Baek Hee

Baek Hee was a follower/ friend of Hye Mi. She was rather naive, had no self-confidence and most of all, thought the world of Hyae Mi. The moment Hyae Mi ‘abandoned’ her at the audition, this world came tumbling down. Never in the world did she think she could be better than Hye Mi and now, she is going to prove to herself, her mother, Hyae Mi and the world that she has what it takes and she, Yoon Baek Hee, is not just a lowly nobody. She was going to change.
And change she did… from the pig-tail, sweet little girl to the bitchy, claws-out cat. And I like the latter image much better. Hahaha! Even when she was bad, she was never wicked. I think this is one aspect of the drama that was appealing…none of the characters were ‘I-want-to-murder-kind’ people.
And I’m guessing those leopard spots sweater must be from one of the sponsor company (though I don’t know who), coz Baek Hee is wearing something similar. But hers look a little better because of the cut and the colours. Still, I wouldn’t rush out and buy them.
Eun Jung is not new to acting. She started off as a child actress before eventually debuting as part of T-Ara in 2009. Prior to ‘Dream High’, she had previously acted in ‘Coffee House’. So it is no wonder that besides Kim Soo Hyun, her acting was commendable. And it is also one of the reason that she had to be the second lead (ie, not getting the main guy). Suzy could never have pulled off the complications and changes that were required of the character.
She is now on a roll— she is in another drama now, a sageuk this time. Together with her band mate, Qri, they will appear in ‘King Geunchogo’, which stars Kam Woo Sung. As a hint of just how popular she is becoming, she will also be in the ever popular reality show, ‘We Got Married’ with Lee Jang Woo. Singapore fans can look forward to see her for real at the K Pop Heals the World concert on the 4th June as well as in the reel. Her movie, ‘White’ should be screening around that time too.
Watch her Spris CF with Kim Soo Hyun. I like. ^^ Pssst.. I think Kim Soo Hyun looks better with her leh.

IU as Kim Pil Sook

Pil Sook has a beautiful voice. Pil Sook is plump (ok, fat if you want to be cruel). Pil Sook is determind to break into the entertainment world for the love of her idol Kim Hyun Joong. Pil Sook loves to eat. And Pil Sook loves Jaeson. I love this girl. She is not complicated and the moments between her and Jaeson are breaths of fresh air. One of the scene that I really like was when she had to force herself to leave the karaoke session with Jaeson for the showcase rehearsals. She really displayed that dilemma of wanting to stay on with the love of her life and knowing she had to be responsible to the rest of her teammates very well.
Besides Song Sam Dong, Kim Pil Sook was the other character that underwent extreme physical makeovers. ^^
IU surprised me as much as Jaeson did in terms of acting. Perhaps it is their chemistry together that made them one loveable couple. It would seems their friendship goes beyond just the drama. Catch Woo Young pretending to be IU’s fan by calling up during the radio show, ‘Lee Soo Young’s Music Show. Click here and here. Hilarious!
I love her voice. ^^
Overview:
I really did not expect to enjoy this drama. I have my doubts about the acting abilities of these K Pop artistes, not to mention that there have been an onslaught of Korean Music/ K Pop as the background in Korean Dramas with more to come (‘You Are Beuatiful’, ‘Marry Me Mary! etc). But it proved me wrong…at least halfway through, it proved me wrong. Perhaps because the romance factor was not the main focus. Instead, it was about the dreams and hopes of these 6 teenagers. I know it sounds corny when I write it because when you mention ‘dreams’, ‘hopes’, ‘teenagers’ in the same breath…the show normally tends to be a bit preachy.
But through cleaver editing and fast-pace story, it kept me and lots of other people glued to our computer week after week. What was interesting to note was that many of these people who enjoyed the show, belong to the slightly older demographics (read: a bit more auntie like me) and would never, ever have watch an idol drama. The drama was uplifting without being too goody-goody. Even inspiring. Good for watching when you are slightly down and feel that dream is getting out of reach (like getting that out-of-reach HDB flat and you have to be a Singaporean to understand this statement).
Besides the story, the extended cast all helped to make the show totally enjoyable. From the comical loan shark, Ma Doo Shik to the teachers to the Principal Shi Bum Soo and the rather fierce sister of Teacher Kang, Kang Oh Sun- these veteran actors helped to make the drama helped to give that extra flavour to the drama. Of course, JYP (acting as the English teacher, Yang Jin Man although I’ve hardly heard him speak English in the drama) provided much of the comic relief by continuing his exaggerated self that he first displayed in the Wonder Girls MV- Nobody. Somehow, it didn’t seemed out of place in the drama. But then, I would have trouble accepting him in a serious role. Hehe!

Park Jin Young as Yang Jin Man

I also like the ending. Is it consider as a happy ending? Yes, even though the main leading couple were apart. I’m glad they didn’t have a typical ending where the leading couple is living happily ever after together. Afterall, it is about realising one’s dream. I would have been so disappointed if Sam Dong didn’t go and pursue his dream as a singer. And the rest all achieved their dreams in one form or other.
And of course, cameo appearances by other artistes is very much the norm for Korean dramas nowadays. In fact, I’m wondering if it has become a sort of body-count. So do you think they added spice to the drama? Do you know who they are?
And besides the main couples…other coupling in the drama was a joy to watch too. Which couple did you like best? ^^

Kang Oh Sun and Ma Doo Shik (I love the fact that they were playing Winter Sonata’s theme song)

Teacher Kang & Teacher Shi

Milky couple- Jason & Pil Sook

Last note:
The drama did so well that KBS, JYPE and KeyEast have decided to do a Dream High 2, which will air early next year. I don’t know, sequeals tend not to work but this could be an exception perhaps? And they will be auditioning for people to act as students in the drama (the audition will also become part of the drama). This is getting too complicated. Still, I’m sure alot of fans will be anticipating the sequel eagerly.
There were 2 higlights in the show for me.
The kiss between Hye Mi and Sam Dong as he was on his way to America. It has come full circle from the first kiss between Hye Mi and Sam Dong when she was on her way back to Seoul.
And now I woud like to end this with one of my favourite in the drama- the fash mob. Read the lyrics to the song. I think it really makes the song meaningful.
“Dream High” Lyrics Translation (Suzy, Wooyoung, Taecyeon, JOO, Kim Soohyun)
I dream high I dream a dream
When it’s difficult I close my eyes
And I wake up imagining the moment
When my dream will come true
At the end of dread I am shaken again today
In case I fall, like a baby bird that can’t fly
Over and over again, can I do it, will my dream come true
Whenever I dread each step that I’m taking
I dream high I dream a dream
When it’s difficult I close my eyes
And I wake up imagining the moment
When my dream will come true
I can fly high I believe
Someday up in that sky
I will spread my wings
And fly freely, higher than anyone else
I need the courage that will lift me up when I fall
The courage that will allow me to wipe off the dust and run one more time
I will believe in myself again Believe in my destiny
And I will risk everything and jump over the wall that is higher than my height
I dream high I dream a dream
When it’s difficult I close my eyes
And I wake up imagining the moment
When my dream will come true
I can fly high I believe
Someday up in that sky
I will spread my wings
And fly freely, higher than anyone else
Dream high a chance to fly high
Bye bye now to all the pain
Fly high now like those stars in the skyIt’s time to unwrap your dreams Time for you to shine
It’s the start now Gotta make em mine
Don’t dread your future that will be created with your hands
Now walk away with strength and confidence
Destiny it’s fate The unstoppable destiny
Is being revealed right now in front of our eyes
This is a whole new fantasy for you
So now hold my hand here
We now have one goal
Don’t give up your dream and future
Young passion Everyone here Dream High
I dream high I dream a dream
When it’s difficult I close my eyes
And I wake up imagining the moment
When my dream will come true
I can fly high I believe
Someday up in that sky
I will spread my wings
And fly freely, higher than anyone else
(translated lyrics was taken off soompi thread. Much gratefulness to the person who did the translation)
The Dream High merchandise should be in next week. You can still your orders now. Check out the link here
Dream High concert anyone?

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