- My Thoughts on SF in Korea (How and Why They’ve Changed)
- It’s Not Just the Lateness of Industrialization: How and Why Korean SF Doesn’t Quite Work
- Why SF Has Failed to Put Down Roots in Korea, Part I: To Start With, Questions…
- K-Raelians plus The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of: How Science Fiction Conquered the World by Thomas M. Disch, and The Men Who Stare At Goats by Jon Ronson
- To All SF Geeks in Korea With [Patient or Interested] Korean Other Halves
- PiFan Book Fair: SF/Fantasy/Horror/Thriller novels and Magazines… in Korean!
- The KOFA 괴수 대백과
- Star Wars ROK Rock
- 2008 SF&F Festival (Seoul)?
- Reading The Host in Context, Part 1
- Reading The Host in Context, Part 2: How I Read The Host
- Seoul 2008 SF&F Festival Report
- Trope Salad and Penis Guns and Indie SF Films… No, Really.
- Matt on Symmetry in The Host
- Done, Fun, Thinking Some
- More SF Goodness, Including a Bunch of Korean SF in Translation…
- How Candlegirl and V Took on 2MB
- From Mt. Sobaek
- SOAO Workshop 2009 Pictures Up
- The SOAO Workshop @ Sobaeksan
- My Research Plan Application (Argh!) and a New Korean SF Organization (Yay!)
- Worth Reading, March ’09
- No Surprise
- Korea Society Talk on Robo Taekwon V
- “SF in South Korea Today” — Article Live
- Guest Blog on Global SF & Translation @ Apex
- Party Last Night
- Star Wars: 스타워즈 프로젝트 컴필레이션 (2008)
- Outsider Writing
- Wackiest Korean Book I Ever Bought
- Geek Out
- Boyran, a novel by “World’s Youngest Fantasy Writer Wonje Song”
- 박민규의 지구 영웅 전설과 카스테라
- If Only I Were Part Robot…
- Dancing Stormtroopers in Seoul?
- [Literary] SF: A Social Phenomenon (Plus Some Detours)
- Addendum to [Literary] SF: A Social Phenomenon (Plus Some Detours)
- Addendum #2 to [Literary] SF: A Social Phenomenon (Plus Some Detours)
- Coming Soon: Gwacheon International SF Film Festival!
- More About Korean SF, and Some Dougal Dixon Links
- Forthcoming Papers on Korean SF, “Good Night,” and a Summary of “Another Undiscovered Country”
- Vampires, Confucianism, Christianity’s Latent Monarchism, and the Translation of Sociohorror
- 천군 (Heaven’s Soldiers) revisited: Hanmura Ryō’s Sengoku Jieitai (戦国自衛隊), 독재자 (Dictator), and more Korean SF News
- 7광구 (Sector 7) — Setting Korean SF Back Decades
- Some Notes For Korean Film Companies Considering an SF Film Project
- Coming Soon: “Invasion of Alien Bikini”
- Gunpla Advertisement Analysis, and 우뢰매!
- Invasion of Alien Bikini, or, I Feel Sick
- Cantico del Seoul
- New Korean SF Movie(s)! 인류멸망보고서 / Doomsday Book
- 미래경 (Futuroscope) #3 Has Arrived
- Seoul SF&F Library — Relocated!
- Upcoming Korean SF Film: AM 11:00
- Korean “Disaster” Films: 연가시 / Deranged
- Seoul Cthulhu Festival of Film: 28 Feb 2012
- 사이코메트리 [Psychometry] — The Gifted Hands (2013)
- Seoul Comics World Convention #114 (December 2012)
- Korea in English-Language SF
- Articles on Korean SF in _list Magazine
- Asia’s First Steampunk Art Exhibition
- A.M. 11:00 (11 A.M.)
- Korean SF Festival 2014
- An Evolutionary Myth by Bo-Young Kim
- Old Movie Promo Posters in Korea
- Readymade Bodhisattva, “The Flowering,” Los Angeles/Riverside, and More
- “The Peppers of GreenScallion,” and More
- Korean SF 2020: A Rushed Update
- Boyoung Kim’s “An Evolutionary Myth”: Reviews and Comments, and Audio Version
Well, I finally sat down and watched the Korean Sf film A.M. 11:00 with Mrs. Jiwaku last night. It’s a time travel outing I heard about (and mentioned here) ages ago; delays on film releases never bode well, but I thought the premise sounded promising, so we gave it a shot anyway.
Sadly, it was a disappointment, and for the usual sorts of reasons, when it comes to Korean SF films. Here’s what I had to say on IMDB.com about it:
Yet another disappointing Korean SF film, 11 A.M. starts out potentially promising, but devolves into a nonsensical mess of melodrama (so many tears!) and laughably bad science very quickly. It’s a shame that decent actors and such a great set–and budget–were wasted on such a turkey of a script. One only wishes that people in the Korean film industry would hire actual Korean SF authors (or even just science consultants) before greenlighting scripts like these.
That said, the sets and the special effects deserve recognition, and the actors did the best they could with what they had. Maybe the director was trying to appeal to a “mass audience” in Korea by including all the romantic-family-backstory melodrama, but plenty of foreign SF films (and even mainstream TV series) appeal to large Korean audiences without all that weepy family drama stuff.
Long ago, I was chatting with a student about the differences between American and Korean TV dramas; she was struggling to explain why, even though Korean TV shows had improved in terms of production values, they still felt “inferior” to her in terms of quality and story.
One of my own observations from that conversation was that the vast majority of Korean TV series (especially those set in the present day) have more in common with Victorian novels than with contemporary life: the inescapable patterns of plotting tend much more towards Austen than Auster. That is: the rich nasty young man and the poor girl who loves him; the abusive father and the long-suffering mom who occasionally throws a temper tantrum; or the abusive mom and the long-suffering dad, and the rich woman and the poor boy she falls for. When Korean dramas (those aired on the mainstream channels) are set in workplaces–as they often are–very little energy or attention is devoted to any kind of sensible depiction of the work that goes on there: it’s all about which coworkers are going to fall in love, or clash, or form a love triangle, or whatever.
There are of course exceptions. (Once again I’ll mention 네 멋대로 해라 (Ruler of Your Own World), as a positive counterexample. Also, I’ve heard the offerings on cable are getting more and more interesting, though ) But the counterexamples in large part prove the rules: as I noticed every time I was in the presence of a TV during prime time. There really should be a drinking game based on the ten most common tropes in Korea drama, but if there were, anyone playing it would end up in the hospital after an hour of MBC or KBS prime time programming.
In 11:00 A.M., the main problem is that the science is all window dressing. That might work when it’s just some research lab show, where the Stem Cell Expert is going to fall in love with the Chief Lab Director’s daughter. But in an SF movie? Where the science is key?
It’s not just the bad science, since after all you can make a very successful SF film with some extremely dumb science sandwiched into it: The Matrix is an important example, as Mike Brother explains nicely. Okay, the dumb science is, well… it’s here and there in The Matrix, and we can explain it away since none of the main characters are actually scientists. But in 11 A.M., the main characters are all scientists, and all say the most laughably stupid things constantly. Like, for example, “Look, this nuclear reactor is going to blow up, but okay, I’ll wait until five minutes before it’s due to blow before fleeing, okay?” Um… you can’t get far away enough to survive in five minutes, as any physicist–or, you know, person who can spell his own name–ought to know.
The crutch for Hollywood SF–which is pretty science-ignorant too, much of the time–is style. That just works as a much better crutch in SF than emotional melodrama. When more Korean filmmakers figure out that out (so far, only Bong Joon-ho and Joon-hwan Jang seem to have done so), the sooner these biannual big-budget Korean SF films will start cashing in. Any Korean filmmaker interesting in my advice need only look here. (Maybe I should get that translated to Korean or something…)
Oh, one more thing: this is the second Korean SF film set on some kind of scientific contraption in the middle of the ocean. (7광구 was the other one, and it stank too.)