Descendants of the Sun & Oh My Venus

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Sound of Magic" Episode 6

Throughout "The Sound of Magic" the vibe has been very akin to that of a high school musical. That is, it's a musical performance that appears to have been specifically designed to impart certain simple life lessons to teenagers. At six hours of length, "The Sound of Magic" is a little long to work as an actual stage musical. But the influence is made quite explicit with the final curtain call, where all the characters appear in a stage epilogue.

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Even by the usual Netflix standards, "The Sound of Magic" is a weird project like that, given there's not a huge worldwide market for these kinds of musicals. "The Sound of Magic" does at least manage to do the genre justice. Kudos to copykumo for the original music. This project is probably the single most ambitious one of his whole television drama career, despite the fact that he, like everyone else, is undercredited compared to Ji Chang-wook.

Speaking of which- we find out Ri Eul's gloomy backstory. As per the greater themes of "The Sound of Magic" in regards to conformity, Ri Eul as a young man rejected expectations. Consequently this made him sick- but it's ambiguous as to whether Ri Eul was actually sick or had just become socially undesirable due to his lack of proper ambition. Ri Eul might be dangerous, as was seen with the muggings and the apparent murder. Yet the evidence for that has always been circumstantial.

As usual magic functions more as a metaphor than it does as literal magic in this context. The means by which Ri Eul's name is cleared are ultimately improbable- but not impossible. There's ultimately no way to tell how much of Ri Eul's disappearing and reappearing acts are due to illusion and misdirection compared to sheer dumb luck. Ultimately it's his sheer will to escape that allow Ri Eul to make his own life- and it's easy to see how such a power would be appealing to our leading teenagers.

Such a simple narrative arc nonetheless comes off as quite tedious compared to a high school musical mainly due to tedious editing. The musical sequences were the high point of "The Sound of Magic" as they conveyed, through music, emotions that are difficult to get across through the spoken word. But their impact lessens when surrounded by so many scenes of regular dialog. Nevertheless, "The Sound of Magic" does what it set out to do.

Review by William Schwartz

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"The Sound of Magic" is directed by Kim Seong-yoon, written by Kim Min-jeong-II, and features Ji Chang-wook, Hwang In-youp, Choi Sung-eun, Kim Bo-yoon, Yoo Jae-myung, Kim Hye-eun. Broadcasting information in Korea: 2022/05/06, Fri on Netflix.

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