Eternal Happiness

Reviewed by: laugh

April 15, 2008

Rating: four

Man Lai Kuan - Michelle Yip Suen
Wong Bo Siu Wah - Raymond Lam Fung
Tit Muk Yi - Joe Ma
Fuk Zhen - Natalie Ng
Weng Nan - Rain Lau
Ying Suet/So Wan - Tavia Yeung
Lau Yin Yuk - Myolie Wu

-some spoilers!!-
I really had a lot of doubts about renting this series when it was released. I mean, Michelle Yip as the main lead totally turned me off *stark shivers at the thought of her appalling performance in "Gods Of Honour" (GOH)!*, and I'm hardly familiar with Raymond or Myolie. In fact, I only took the risk due to two factors: Rain Lau (who is, in my opinion, one of the best comedic actresses around), and Raymond's great performance as Shih Huang Ti in "A Step Into The Past".I guess I was more curious about the scope of his acting abilities than anything else, seeing that his character here is totally different from his previous one.

And what an enjoyable ride it was!!! Being so used to mediocre TVB ancient series of late, I was taken aback by this vehicle. Although the storyline is rather predictable sometimes, the fresh faces of the cast, as well as the good acting, really push the plot along! Did Michelle take some acting pills or something? Her performance in here is so good that I could hardly recognize the annoying actress of GOH. However, a note of advice to her: she should stay away from roles that require her to act feminine/elegant/polite/helpless because she just couldn't pull it off. Her Man Lai Kuan in man's disguise was a joy to watch because she had such personality in her face, such a fierce sparkle in her eyes, and so much radiance in her smile! I love the way her dimples twinkle whenever she smiles. But when she reappeared in female form and sashayed in at the ending, she looked plainer somehow and acted really woodenly. Even her love scenes became rather more forced and her crying scenes were indescribably unconvincing. However, given my previously poor opinion of her, an excellent improvement on the whole!

Raymond Lam as Wong Bo Siu Wah (WPSW) was a total delight! This boy really has a lot of potential, in ancient series anyway. I can't help noticing how much depth and thought he put into each of his characters. Here, WPSW is supposed to be such a straight-minded person that he cannot think in twists and is easily confused. Raymond portrays him by speaking softly and slowly, each word clear but not too firm. Even his every gesture is slow but steady, successfully portraying a kind young man who has solid martial-arts skills but little ability to understand deception.

At first he seemed dull compared to the more prominent Joe Ma, but as I got to know him, I couldn't help warming to his silent charm and truly noble character. I also noticed that he (and Joe Ma) played the flute according to tune...or at least his fingers moved correctly and his mouth was pursed for the correct length of time. Compare this with Natalie's playing of the flute. The woman simply blew at the instrument anyhow and her fingers moved constantly; giving a very unrealistic portrayal of a lady playing and enjoying the music. I'm not a flautist myself, but such obvious errors really annoy me!

Joe Ma and Rain Lau are excellent as always, especially Joe, whose performance is something else again. He was really convincing as the emperor who turned ruthless in his pursuit of Lai Kuan's love. I adore the way he acts with his eyes to reflect his every mood, be it mischief, spite or envy.

Favourite Scenes

1. Whenever WPSW appears, especially when he is with Lai Kuan.

2. When both WPSW and Lai Kuan are sleeping in the same bed on the night he was switched into the wrong room while drunk.(soooo romantic!)

3. Whenever Rain Lau appears, especially with Lai Kuan or Ah Song Gor.

4. Whenever Joe Ma is plotting to win Lai Kuan's love and separate WPSW from her.

5. When WPSW found out his 4th brother is Lai Kuan all along. (I cried here)

6. Whenever the flute or harp music is played (especially at the end)

7. Whenever the theme song or sub-themesong is played....lovely!

I especially like the ending! It is so meaningful! I'd noticed that whenever Lai Kuan appears, the harp music is played, while whenever either Joe or Raymond appears, the flute music is played (even though it is the same theme). At the very end, both the harp and the flute are played together, signifying that the parted lovers are united at last. The sceneries are beautiful too and particularly romantic!

However, the last episode is really rushed. I mean, all of a sudden Lai Kuan is rescued and the real Lai Meng Tong is put forward as Ying Suet's husband by the Dowager Empress. It goes to show that however powerful the Emperor may be, the Dowager Empress is the real force to be reckoned with. She solved all problems in the end, even though she is hardly a main character. There are annoying people in "Eternal Happiness" (EH) as well, but my vote for Most Irritating and Untalented Actor/Actress goes to either Natalie or Myolie. I'm inclined to give it more to Natalie though. Not only because of her flute/horse-riding fiasco, but also for her unconvincing portrayal as the maligned Empress. Myolie is pathetic, but not terribly so, and while I wish she isn't in EH, she is barely (but just barely!)tolerated.

The presence of the Song boy-emperor and the general protecting him are a puzzle to me. I don't understand their significance in the story at all, other than taking up space. At least, the Bandit-Queen and her four totally-ridiculous-and-unfunny followers are there to supply Man Zhi Yun with a love interest. Now Man Zhi Yun is funny. His expression at all times is totally hilarious, and his performance is consistent! Not bad at all for an actor I barely noticed before.

On the whole, this series is light-hearted and entertaining. The script is superb! I really adore all the metaphors they insert in it to 'imply' all that could not be said, such as the 'tea-flowers' and 'white rabbit' incidents. There is so much depth in the dialogue that I particularly enjoy, although the plot may be a little predictable. Eternal Happiness is well worth a watch, if not a second or even a third look!

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