Quick Review: Memories Of Alhambra : R/Kdrama

The Alhambra is a church & fortress in Granada, Spain. The look of the town, full of cobblestones and two-story buildings, is about as old country as it gets. So where better khổng lồ set a Korean romantic drama that involves an amazing virtual reality game? That’s the premise of Netflix’sMemories Of The Alhambra.

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Opening Shot:Barcelona, Spain. A Korean teenager makes a panicked phone hotline from a public phone lớn an executive, offering him the công nghệ he developed, so he doesn’t sell it to lớn a rival with bad intentions.

The Gist: The teen is Jung Se-joo (Park Chan-yeol), who has created a very realistic virtual reality game that can be played via a contact-lens VR device developed by the company run by Yoo Jin-woo (Hyun Bin). Jung tells Yoo lớn meet him at a hostel in Granada that he sometimes goes to, but the teen disappears en route.

Yoo shows up at the Hostel Bonita in the middle of the night. It’s run by a young woman named Jung Hee-joo(Park Shin-hye), who reluctantly rents the exec the rat-infested, dirty sixth floor room, & is wondering why a man with wealthy tastes like Yoo is renting out room in her hostel.

After unclogging his toilet và stuffing rat holes with nhà vệ sinh paper, complaining to lớn Jung Hee-joo the entire time, the chagrined Yoo wanders the streets of Granada, và eventually comes lớn a public roundabout with a menacing statue in the center. He looks up, & he sees the statue come alive, slam down his sword và start to bởi vì battle. With the help of his tech guys back in Seoul, he starts khổng lồ understand the game that he’s playing, taking all night to level up.

When he gets back to the hostel, he finds out that Jung Se-joo is underage & would need a guardian lớn sign over the rights to lớn the incredible VR game he’s developed, which is also being pursued by a rival. He also finds out more about why Jung Se-joo stays there; it’s owned by his grandmother. That’s right: Jung Hee-joo is Se-joo’s sister. Let the charm offensive begin!

Photo: Netflix

Our Take: Let’s acknowledge one thing:Memories Of The Alhambra is ambitious, especially for a series from South Korea. It’s not only trying to tell a complex story, but one that spans locations. Most of the kích hoạt takes place in Granada, not Seoul, which means there are some cultural clashes it can address, while maintaining the love story that will likely develop between Se-joo và Jin-woo, because Jin-woo runs a hostel that is geared towards South Korean travelers.

Of course, it seems lượt thích whatwon’t happen is that we’ll see Spanish characters enter Se-joo and Jin-woo’s universe except as extras or, in the case of the waiter at a bar where Jin-woo continues lớn enter in order to lớn find the game’s first weapon, will just be reacting to what the Korean characters are doing. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it seems lượt thích a missed opportunity lớn examine that clash in more depth.

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Other than that, the first episode spends far too much time showing Jin-woo trying lớn defeat the first cấp độ of the game. We get it; corporate intrigue is baked into this show’s DNA. But we don’t care if the VR trò chơi goes to lớn Jin-woo or his rival, & we don’t care about the CGI bells and whistles that show Jin-woo playing the trò chơi on the streets of Granada. The romance, started under devious circumstances, is where the rubber meets the road on this show, and the first hour spent way too much time getting khổng lồ that.

Sex và Skin:Pretty chaste.

Photo: Netflix

Parting Shot: After berating Hee-joo for the dumpy quality of her hostel, Jin-woo finds out about who she really is, then gives her a smile as she stands on the kitchen counter with a broom, bashing the screaming smoke alarm.

Sleeper Star:She only had one scene, but we want to see more ofKim Yong-rim as Oh Young-sim, Hee-joo’s no-nonsense grandmother, who thinks all the nice stuff Jin-woo is wearing is all knockoffs.

Most Pilot-y Line: Maybe we’re just not used to lớn Korean production values, but there were far too many music cues that hammered the mood of a scene over a viewer’s head. During the extended scene where Jin-woo is disgusted by his room at the hostel, there are so many “plink, plink, plink” musical cues it drove us nuts.

Our Call: SKIP IT. Despite the great visuals from Grenada, the acting is a bit broad & the corporate intrigue piece isn’t interesting enough lớn wade through the silliness và get lớn the meat of the story.

Joel Keller (
joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting & tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the new york Times, Slate, Salon, VanityFair.com, Playboy.com, Fast Company’s Co.Create và elsewhere.