[Movie Review] ‘Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds’

It looks like ‘Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds’ is this winter’s hottest Korean blockbuster film garnering millions of audiences with record-breaking box office rates. 

The storyline follows the afterlife of a man who must receive a trial in the seven circles of hell, opting to reach reincarnation with the help of three guides advocating for his well-spent life. The action-filled adventure flick stars EXO‘s D.OHa Jung WooCha Tae HyunJoo Ji Hoon, and Kim Hyang Gi, oozes with high-end CGI effects, and continues this year’s ‘The Goblin’ trend with 21st-century grim rippers wearing long trench coats.

After years of pre-production, this long-awaited adaptation of the original Naver webtoon springs to life with a star-studded ensemble cast. The character, along with many other supporting cast members, ushers the consistent flow of the narrative as the film dynamically unleashes numerous melodramatic effects unlikely to be associated with a typical action film.

The main reason to watch this movie surprisingly stems from its ability to make audiences laugh and cry, with the moods oscillating back and forth in mere seconds. From laugh-out-loud humor to heart-wrenching grief, the film touches upon the sensitive values that strongly evoke Korea’s traditional values of brotherly love and filial piety. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that at least 80% of the audiences around me wept throughout the film; this one is a strange mix of an up-to-date superhero action thriller and a tear-jerker drama endorsing historically conservative values.

Other than some sappy moments specifically designed to guilt-trip you as a son or daughter (that some parents will no doubt appreciate), the visuals in the movie are what really got my attention. As a global legend that takes you on a journey through hell, the visual depictions of each setting lathered with grand-scale natural landscape elements truly take your breath away. As such, anyone who has read Dante‘s Inferno, rather than the original webtoon, may find this film more mesmerizing, as what you would simply imagine what hell would be like impressively unfolds right in front of your eyes.

Overall, I would say that this film is a good family movie for all ages and social backgrounds. Even though the duration is over 2 hours, the film is quite fast-paced and balanced. Although some scenes are intentionally included to make you bawl your eyes out, the movie is a good holiday pick for anyone looking for ‘one hell’ of an adventure that will feed his or her adrenaline. Don’t forget to bring some tissues with you, though – you might need it in case you are attending a family dinner afterward.

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