K-drama & movie

Near-future questions about separation and death ‘Wonderland’

A career woman, fund manager Byri (Tang Wei), has one thing on her mind ahead of her death.

Under the pretext of being busy, she failed to be nice to her young daughter, Jia (Leisure Center). After much thought, Byri applies for a service named Wonderland and dies.

Jia, who is living together with her grandmother (Nina Pau), can have a video call with her mother just by accessing Wonderland. Byri, who is living a new life in Wonderland, has become an archaeologist.

Airline flight attendant Jeong In (Suzy) applies for Wonderland service when her boyfriend Tae-ju (Park Bo-gum) is unconscious in an accident for a long time. If Jeong In accesses Wonderland, she can have a pleasant conversation with Tae-ju, who is in good health as an astronaut.

This is what Kim Tae-yong’s new movie “Wonderland” looks like in the future. These days, when artificial intelligence (AI) technology is developing at an alarming rate, it doesn’t feel like a very distant future to the audience.

Wouldn’t an AI that has learned both a person’s mental and physical data be able to reproduce it in a video as if it were alive even after his death.

In addition to Byri and Jeongin, “Wonderland” consists of a variety of stories of people who use Wonderland services.

At the center of their attention are planners Harry (Jeong Yu-mi) and Hyun-soo (Choi Woo-sik), who run Wonderland services. Harry also makes video calls with his late parents.

The Wonderland service seems to be operating without much trouble, soothing the pain of those who have lost their precious existence, but as unexpected things happen, they begin to expose the problem.

“Wonderland” is faithful to the grammar of science fiction (SF) movies in that it sharply reveals our reality by imagining the future of science and technology.

This is notable in Jeong-in’s story. Jeong-in gets used to astronaut Tae-ju while receiving Wonderland service, but when Tae-ju, who was lying in the hospital room, miraculously wakes up, he faces a new reality.

Tae-joo in Wonderland seems to have realized Jeong-in’s dream as it is, but the real-life Tae-joo keeps saying and doing things that are annoying to Jeong-in. When I see Jeong-in in conflict between the two, the question of what love naturally comes to mind.

Some scenes seem to ask if virtual reality can replace reality. Harry, who lives alone, accesses Wonderland at night and talks to his mom and dad, but the moment he logs out, the video of the two disappears instantly and Harry is left alone in the dark.

Byri’s story is quite different from that of Jeong In. This is because it follows the point of view of the person who died and went to Wonderland, not the person who uses the Wonderland service in real life.

This is why Byri’s story comes as a fantasy about the world of the dead rather than science fiction. Like the Grim Reaper, Seong-jun (Gong Yoo), who plays the role of Byri’s guide in Wonderland, also appears in the movie.

The appearance of Byri, who tries to return to reality by forgetting what she did not do well to her daughter, stimulates the fundamental sadness of human beings, who are bound to die.

It seems that there may be differences between likes and dislikes over the structure of the story that unfolds by intersecting the cold SF and the warm-sentimental fantasy.

Kim’s talent in the movie shines in this movie as well. The scenes where Jeong-in and Tae-ju sing duet song and Byri dances to the music in Wonderland are also beautiful, just like in a musical movie.

The movie boasts splendid casting, and it is also fun to watch actors act. Tang Wei, who is also Kim’s wife, draws audiences to the story with her charming acting, and Suzy and Park Bo-gum, who star as lovers, get along well.

“Wonderland” is Kim’s first new movie in 13 years since “Manchu (2011)” starring Tang Wei and Hyun Bin. Kim reportedly conceived the movie after making a video call and questioning whether the other person on the screen actually exists.

Released on June 5. 
running time : 113 minutes.  
Rate : 12A

Director: Kim Taeyong
Starring: Suzy, Park Bo-gum, Tang Wei, Gong Yoo, Jung Yu-mi, Choi Woo-sik

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