not really a disaster movie type of guy. Sure, I liked Titanic, but I
am one of the few people who would prefer not to watch 3 hours of it
again. Haeundae is a disaster movie and South Korea's first. So I
approached it with trepidation but it did surprise me in a few pleasant
ways. The title of the movie comes from Haeundae, Busan, a place full
of picturesque beaches and where tourist flock to soak up the sun. It
is here that the many small threads of the story start.
Man-sik is in love with Yeon-Hee, but hasn't told her that her father
was killed in the 2004 Tsunami because of his mistake. Hyeong-Sik, Man-Sik's
handsome younger brother, rescues a wealthy student and their friendship
is frowned upon by a jealous suitor. Kim Hwi, a scientist, notices
measurements indicating a possible mega-Tsunami about to hit Haeundae,
but also has feelings for his ex-wife. Their daughter does not know that
Kim Hwi is her real father. There are a whole lot of other fragments of
stories, and all of it is a little superficial, as there really isn't
enough time to evolve each one before an incoming Tsunami hits.
is a lot of sentimentality and strange slapstick comedy thrown into the
middle, but when the Tsunami hits, it's CGI all the way. This is one of
the reasons why Haeundae is one of the most expensive Korean film
productions. The CGI is great and is equivalent to any good Hollywood
movie, with people being washed away, whole buildings being destroyed,
mighty explosions with people jumping at the last minute. It does make
good watching but I thought that the Tsunami didn't hit soon enough. It
felt like 2/3 of the movie was over before the Tsunami hit.
I personally found this film unbalanced, with annoying underdeveloped
sentimentality, designed to tug at the heart strings but evoked a lot of
sighing. Perhaps because I knew what was coming up and was looking
forward to it. Korean audiences will appreciate the family values, light
hearted courting, community interaction while western audiences may
appreciate peeking at Korean everyday life.
All audiences will
appreciate the magnificence of the tsunami wrecking all in its wake. As
disaster movies go, Haeundae isn't too bad. The DVD features trailers
and a making of featurette.
Recommended for disaster movie
DVD Special Features
Making of HAEUNDAE