Hi, I’m back for another review. This time I’m gonna review Love O2O. I have done reading the novel as well. I have also watched the drama version (up to certain extend which I feel, there’s no need to watch further). I’m not gonna split movie-drama part but instead I’ll be reviewing it as a whole. Again, its just my opinion, you may choose to disagree.
— CONTAIN SPOILERS, PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK —
Looking from the novel perspective, I found that the novel is, just like others may have described it as romantic-fan service novel. Xiao Nai has always been described as devious, cool, popular, genius guy while Wei Wei is described as being a beauty, a bit tomboy-ish, smart. From the early episodes of the drama, hands down to the movie version of Wei Wei, as she is better for the role. Angelbaby played the role very well, portraying Wei Wei. She is a beauty, she is pretty quirky, a bit tomboy-ish, fits the definition as the 2nd beauty of her faculty. As for Xiao Nai, there is definitely a lot of debate in this matter. IMO, I prefer Jing Boran as Xiao Nai. A lot prefer Yang Yang (for the obvious reason). Being a gamers myself, I found that Jing Boran managed to show the gamers side better as compared to Yang Yang. I found that Jing Boran has that modesty in his word towards Wei Wei. In contrast, Yang Yang is pretty rigid while playing this character, with exception to certain parts, which seems to be natural for him- as in the smile, the kiss scene(?). I always felt that being number 1 player in the server, one would have such prideful, elegant sense. I remember the way Yi Xiao Nai He told off the Xiao Yu sisters. It was a bit too weak and does not possess such prideful aura. Though the devious side of Xiao Nai was not much being portrayed in the movie (due to time restriction I believe), but Jing Boran managed to show the prideful, devious, witty side of Xiao Nai as a gamer while he was playing the game (that is what gamers would do when they taunted someone, at least I would if I know I can win against someone).
Moving on to the next section, the supporting characters. Sorry, this might get a bit offensive, but I found that Er Xi in drama is much cuter and prettier than Wei Wei. Its almost as, are you sure Wei Wei is the 2nd beauty of her faculty? Then, what does that makes her friends? Xiao Ling in the movie seems much more tomboy-ish than Wei Wei, that I found myself wondering, perhaps she could play Wei Wei better. In the movie, it seems that they created a roommate that also plays the same game as Wei Wei. I have no qualms about that, she seems to be playing her character well. Moving to Xiao Nai’s roommates. Gotta admit, most would agree that drama version line ups were much better looking compared to the movie, otherwise its pretty subjective as well. But I found that the roommates in the movie represents the gamers community much better compared to the drama version (again, this is a view of a gamers). They seem to enjoy the game much more as compared to the drama version (you may refer the picture and compare with drama version pic- though picture may not shows everything eh?)
The main part for this kind of story is the CGI. Without saying, the movie has better CGI effect. The beauty of the game were shown very well. The mobs (non player character NPC version of enemies) were much better made. The world is much more realistic. While for the drama, I was disheartened the very first moment I watched the in game scene. If you call this the in game beauty, then you definitely didn’t do justice to many online games out there with extremely good graphic (Moonlight Blade Online, Revelation Online, XianXia 2 Online, Perfect World International Online etc) just to name a few. While I have no qualms about the game used on their laptops/pc shown inside the story, I gotta say that, its almost very rarely that a 2D games shown in the drama to have a control system that allows you to dodge and attack and do the manual control. Gamers use the term Action Combat/Hack and Slash for this kind of game, which almost completely absent in traditional 2D/3D games. In this case, I would say the movie picked the more realistic option to portray Dreams of Jianghu online.
Although most of my reviews are leaning towards movie, I gotta hands down the story line to the drama. It does follows the original novel (of course, with a slight change to make it more dramatic as in the involvement of game stealing, less bland and much more romantic). But of course, it was personally written by the author. The drama does not only follows the novel closely, it was also re-arranged according to the occurrence of events, which in the novel was written in flashback. Amazing work on that! The movie however, due to its only 2 hours air time, was only limited to certain period of events. With that limited amount of time, gotta admit, they did a good job delivering the story though there were changes in story (as in the event of Xiao Nai’s game got stolen by the company and he rebuilt a totally new game which is more futuristic).
I kinda think that while in the novel, Xiao Nai is portrayed as someone that seems oblivious to his surroundings but he actually paid close attention to it. Both version of Xiao Nai seems to pays attention of everything (Drama Xiao Nai paid attention to gossips while wedding march i.e, while movie Xiao Nai keeps looking over Wei Wei pulling her skirts while riding bikes. In the novel, I always portray Xiao Nai as the cool type that notices things but its never obvious that he notices. Short example I would imagine is the gossip part during the wedding march, I would imagine Xiao Nai to keep a straight face and keep marching without looking around as if he’s listening to it. It would actually be much more realistic if he did not do that.
Aside from that, I would say that Yi Xiao Nai He from the drama is much closer to the novel version. It is described that Yi Xiao Nai He has black hair (which is true in the drama) while he got painted white for the movie. Its not a big deal since both are acceptable but if you are looking from the novel point of view, then you would be looking for the intersection points instead of how sweet it will get, how many kiss scenes were added etc (but of course it is indeed sweet in the novel and a lot of kiss scenes).
That being said, I notice from the novel, what the novel trying to show is while many people enjoys online gaming, nobody should take online gaming seriously. No matter what other said about you in game, it will never affect you in real life. No matter how much they hated you or curse you, in the end, they are just strangers in your life, when you are out of the games. I kinda like how in the movie Wei Wei asked each and everyone of them, why they love playing online games. Its some sort of reminding and telling the audience about the message that they are trying to relay.
Though Yang Yang played his character well but I can’t find the natural feeling of someone being a gamer in him. It is quite noticeable that he is kinda rigid in this drama (he was very good in The Lost Tomb regardless). Jing Boran managed to bring out Xiao Nai’s character in the movie and still leave everyone with the cool feeling of Xiao Nai. Angelbaby is of no doubt the better Wei Wei. She is very beautiful, she got the feelings as Wei Wei very well. As for Zheng Shuang, sorry just gotta say this, but I feel that she looks anorexia. The very first moment I saw her inside the game, I just thought to myself, this is not gonna be good. And the thoughts just remains throughout the story.
You can write a long story, but its gonna be a drag after certain period of times. If you got time to spare and have not yet read the novel, you may wanna spend almost 30 hours of your time to watch the drama worth 30 episodes. But if you ain’t got time, might as well go for the movie. Its pretty much summarise the whole story in 2 hours, without a drag and pretty much spot on.
Drama or Movie, for me, I choose movie.~