Are you ready for "Along with the Gods"?
During an intense rescue, fire-fighter Kim Ja-Hong finds himself in the Underworld, surrounded by three spiritual guardians. For living a virtuous life, Ja-Hong stands a chance to be reincarnated, as long as he passes through seven trials in 49 days.
"Along With the Gods" is the next star-studded adventure from director Kim Yong-hwa that is also a visual treat that comes from a place that has been going gritty for some time.
As Ja-Hong traverse though the Underworld with his trio of attorney, defenders and guardians, here are five reasons why you should follow "Along with the Gods" to see where fate takes you.
Director Kim Yong-hwa's filmography may be a very short list than most Korean directors, but it is also a proven track record that he knows how to make the most appealing movie. Starting with "Oh! Brother", Kim is also the man responsible for bringing "200 Pound Beauty", "Take Off" until 2013's "Mr. Go", all being blockbuster hits after hits. "Along with the Gods" appears to be his next ambitious project, and we can trust that he knows full well what makes his audience tick to see his movies.
Adapted from a webcomic by Joo Ho-Min, "Along with the Gods" is not one just fantastical trip through the Underworld, but a spiritual journey for the soul. As the main character has to stand trials for the things he has done in life and reflect on his actions, the story has plenty of space to develop the themes of family, friendship, and the reasons to live a life of virtue to tug on heartstrings and turn on the waterworks.
Even with a source material that packs an emotional punch, it could not be done without a standing cast to deliver it. Fortunately, the cast is far more capable in getting us invested in their characters and following their struggles. Perishing into the afterlife is Cha Tae-hyun who is best remembered from "My Sassy Girl", accompanied by upcoming actress Kim Hyang-gi ("Thread of Lies", "Snowy Road"), Ju Ji-hoon ("Asura") and "The Yellow Sea" Best actor, Ha Jung-woo ("The Handmaiden") as the Grim Reaper guiding the trio. Also rounding out the cast is Kim Dong-Wook ("My Wife is a Gangster 2") and Lee Jung-Jae ("The Face Reader") as King Yeomra.
The Visual Effects
There's no denying that "Along with the Gods" is banking on its massive visual effects to draw its largest appeal. After demonstrating what they could do with "Mr. Go", director Kim's Dexter Studios is off to showcase what they can do more of to become one of Asia's premier visual effects studio. This time creating entire landscapes with lava, deserts, waterfalls and ghostly effects for set pieces, "Along with the Gods" is ordained to be a visual treat at least.
The Crowd Pleaser
With all the elements combined, "Along with the Gods" has already become a runaway hit in its native South Korea, conquering the charts for three weeks since its release around Christmas. Trouncing the competition even from the likes of "The Last Jedi", it is the biggest success for director Kim. Meanwhile its release in Taiwan has already recorded numbers as the second highest grossing Korean film there. The bandwagon is not ending soon until the finale sequel comes out in 2018.
Cinema Online, 13 January 2018