Friday, May 8, 2009

'Cyborg She' : My Sassy Girl-Turned-Robot

Director Kwak Jae-young urges viewers not to compare his Japanese movie "Cyborg She" to his previous production "My Sassy Girl". But the latter comes to mind when watching "Cyborg She". The robot-girlfriend in the film, played by Japanese star Haruka Ayase, is like an updated version of the "sassy girl", who was played by Jeon Ji-hyeon. This bizarre character seems to have no limits when it comes to eccentricity.

Jirou, played by Keisuke Koide, resembles the innocent boy who was played by Cha Tae-hyeon in "My Sassy Girl". His naive behavior, silly facial expressions and the way he responds to the erratic behavior of his girlfriend mimic those of Cha's character.

Though "Cyborg She" is a fantasy movie, its emotional aspect is in many ways similar to that of "My Sassy Girl". The female characters of both these movies are proactive in their relationships but don't want to invest their feelings, whereas the male characters are very dedicated to their girlfriends despite being kept under their thumbs.

"Cyborg She" is about a woman from a distant future who buys a cyborg – the spitting image of herself - at an auction. She uses the cyborg's memory to travel back in time using a time machine to the year 2007. She meets Jirou, a student, and falls in love with him, but disappears without notice the next day. One year later, she shows up in front of Jirou again, but this time she talks in a strange way and is unusually strong. The reason for this is that she is not a human but a cyborg. She brings Jirou a video message from his future self and the two decide to live together.

"Cyborg She" is a combination of the fantasy, melodrama, sci-fi, tragedy, action and comedy genres. Events that occur between Jirou and the cyborg are depicted in a comical and funny way, while the portrayal of their romantic relationship is reminiscent of a melodrama. The movie also contains scenes about the future and a powerful earthquake. Because too many eye-catching elements are included in the movie, its story flow is often interrupted.

Blending sci-fi with melodrama seemed to be a bad idea from the very beginning. The sad background music does little to move viewers, while the appearance of the human version of the robot-girlfriend only adds confusion to the movie, as her story is simply redundant.

The only thing that makes this movie attractive is the charm of its cast. Just as Jeon Ji-hyeon and Cha Tae-hyeon played a decisive role in making "My Sassy Girl" a hit, so too does the cast of "Cyborg She". Haruka Ayase perfectly plays a cute and vibrant robot, while Keisuke Koide skillfully portrays a naive and simple-hearted boy.

"Cyborg She" opens on May 14. Not rated.


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