Sunday, November 25, 2012

"The Last Steep Ascent" Review (by Lynne)

The story behind it all
"The Last Steep Ascent" is based off of a true story of a couple who eloped to the mountains. The man is 10 years the woman's junior and to add onto that, she was also a widow with children. This was not accepted by society back then. Then up in the mountains, the man spent 50 years to carve a trail of steps for his wife. This is a truly inspirational love story that touches all it's readers.

TVB's remake, "The Last Steep Ascent"
No doubt Lee Tim Shing successfully brought back another couple that managed to make my heart ache for them again. It was indeed a touching love story between Sun Yuet (Maggie Cheung) and Miu Tin (Moses Chan), yet it didn't fulfill what I expected it to. Of course as a remake, I will forgive that, and won't link it to much of the original story.  Besides the idea of a younger man loving an older woman and the stone steps from the original, it's a typical TVB series.

So let's talk more about the series!

Maggie Cheung as Sun Yuet
There's a reason why Lee Tim Shing insisted to use Maggie Cheung for the role and nobody else, since she fitted into the role perfectly. She has the elegance that suits the pre-modern period and her eyes delivered the emotions of Sun Yuet perfectly, especially the scene in episode 19, where she walked away from Miu Tin. That scene teared me up there.

 As for the role of Sun Yuet, I like how she endured everything with a smile. I wouldn't describe her as a "strong/independent" woman though, as I feel that she's rather weak and trusts too easily. Overall, not the type that is career-minded or with the capability to resolve issues that I had initially suspected her to be, but rather an ordinary woman who only wants a simple life with children and a partner.  That's why I found it easy to connect to her character: not much complications.

Moses Chan as Miu Tin
Once again, not a role that shines or that interesting to watch as these characters are the typical main leads. What saved Miu Tin's character from becoming incredibly boring is his dedication and faithfulness and care for Sun Yuet that spanned for over 20 years. As for the portrayal by Moses Chan, it's the usual Moses Chan we see...nothing outstanding.

***Oh!  One scene that cracked me up:  Sun Yuet climbed up the hill in order to find Miu Tin.  And when she did...haha the expression on Moses face.  I know that it's suppose to be touching and all but I couldn't help but laugh!  Maybe it's just me?  Moses expression was really odd haha.

Miu Tin and Sun Yuet
Their relationship took a smoother turn than I had expected.  Of course there were obstacles, but they were not as "dramatic" since Sun Yuet got a loving mother-in-law behind her.  As far as the issue of age, it wasn't the talk among the people but rather an internal conflict within Sun Yuet's.  I am surprise that "society" didn't get more involved with this, since age difference like that between a man and a woman would have been a big deal right?  Not to mention she's from a well-known family, so things should've been more intense....leading into why they had decided to live in seclusion.  Let's just say, "The Last Steep Ascent" turned out much happier than I initially thought.

 Overall, I really enjoyed seeing them together.  Their relationship was bitter at times, but in the bitterness there was also some sweetness.

 ***In the original story, Moses character is ten years younger than Maggie's but the age difference is nowhere noticeable at all.  I personally think that they should've replaced Moses with someone else.  BUT then in one episode, Miu Tin said something related to that and it cracked me up.

Sun Yuet was wondering how the boy (Miu Tin) that she touched the teeth of on her wedding day grew up to be like, and was thinking of how old he may be now compared to her (she also kept on referring to what an "old" lady she was).  In reply to that,  Miu Tin told her that, maybe she's not as old as she thinks.  Since she lives in a wealthy family, he said that the guy may also look as old as her since he had to work on a farm...therefor aging more than he should (in terms of looks).

 So that's how TVB explained that!  I like how they put that part in though, because it does make sense when you think about it....?

Kenny Wong as Cheung Kiu 

Cheung Kiu is just like his friend, Miu Tin, a guy who will whole-heartedly love one girl and would do anything for her.  At first, Cheung Kiu was rather hot-headed and I did not like that as it is a similar characteristic to Kenny's roles.  But of course, he's still a good guy and therefor is quite likable, especially how protective he was of Oi Tai.  I am not particularly a fan of Kenny's but I still like to watch him.

***Whenever I see Kenny, I think of Moses.  Whenever I see Moses, Kenny pops up!  Lols  They've had so many series together! 

Aimee Chan as Oi Tai 
Oi Tai is indeed a very, very tragic character and you can say that Aimee improved in here.  She gave a decent performance.  Still, even though she's improving in her emotional scenes, I don't think it's up to the level where such a tragic character like Oi Tai is meant to be at yet. 

Something else that I'd like to talk about is Oi Tai's miscarriage.  Her pregnancy is brought upon by the rapist, so I can understand why Oi Tai may should I put this...want to think of the baby too much?  So maybe that's why there was not much talk about the miscarriage?  Honestly, I really wished that TVB could've shown how Oi Tai felt about that miscarriage.  Afterall, it was still her baby....

Cheung Kiu and Oi Tai
I like the pair but their relationship seems more like friendship than anything else.  Still think that the person Cheung Kiu loves the most is his wife.  Overall though, I was very happy that they got a happy ending.

Edwin Siu as Sai Ho
Edwin plays the main antagonist of the series, who wanted to destroy Ho Ching Tong.  Surprisingly, Edwin did not have much screentime since the series was pretty focused on the couples (especially Cheung Kiu and Oi Tai).  Anyways, after this performance, I would love to see Edwin in another evil role.  He has this charming smile that he often shows in his sweet and nice roles, but he can also use them in this evil role!  Very nice!

  ***Yvonne Ho plays as Edwin's wife.  I really like the actress, but just found it odd how she played as Sai Ho's wife since she looked abit older than him.  Look wise, it's not Moses and Maggie who have the age difference, but Yvonne and Edwin.

Joel Chan as Boss Chai
I'll say that this role can represent as Joel's breakthrough role, as it was the most eye-catching of the whole cast!  Boss Chai is neither a good or bad guy, but likable in a sense because he's got a dictating yet loving personality.  When he cares about someone, he does not tell them because he wants "face".  That is his greatest fault, but I think his sense of "brotherhood" can make up for that.  Whenever Miu Tin was in trouble, Boss Chai was willing to let go of his pride to help him out and that's what very sweet of him.  Boss Chai can be arrogant, but towards the ones he cares about, he cares for them whole-heartedly.

  ****There are rumours of Joel taking a "break" from acting for awhile since he's getting married soon.  Such a pity, because I enjoy watching him onscreen alot....

Samantha Ko as Madame Yim
Madame Yim is Boss Chai's third wife.  Even though she still has to work on her crying scenes, Samantha definitely surprised me as Madame Yim.  Not to mention she also rocks her attire!  I like Madame Yim alot because she's not the "traditional" kind of woman you'd see, so we get to see the fun side of her, but at the same time she's not the kind of woman that goes after men for money.

Boss Chai and Madame Yim

They're going into my top 10 couple list of 2012!  Unlike the others, they're not so serious but rather funny though still sweet.  Then there's this mutual understanding between the two, making them an even lovlier couple.  As I stated before, Madame Yim likes to flirt but Boss Chai never gets mad, not because he doesn't care, but because he knew that it's her personality, and that she's faithful to him.  On the other hand, Madame Yim reads Boss Chai like a book, understanding when he's upset, etc.

I personally found them to be quite a touching pair, especially towards the end where they continued to support each other through the roughest time when Boss Chai went blind.  With Boss Chai's bad attitude at that time, I honestly wouldn't blame her for leaving, but she didn't.  She stood by him the whole time and endured his attitudes.  My eyes got teary when he finally gave her a ring and told her to be his wife (I'm guessing that she was just a mistress before?  I don't know, but don't care either.  Just know that it was a very sweet scene).

Helena Law as Granny Ho
I've been wondering why Helena Law came back to TVB (starting in The Hippocratic Crush)?  For whatever reason though, it's TVB's fortune to have a veteran like her back!  She pulled off the role of Granny Ho effortlessly, and was great in her emotional scenes.  As for Granny Ho, she's also a great and fun character to watch onscreen!  Unlike the usual arrogant mother-in-laws we see, Granny Ho was very understanding and considerate towards her daughter-in-law, Sun Yuet.  I admire her complete trust for Sun Yuet despite the negative rumours, and the interactions the two shared.  If only I could have a mother-in-law like Granny Ho, I would be very happy.

***The scene where Granny Ho asked Sun Yuet to leave.
I think this was one of the most touching scenes of the story, and I'm glad that the two got to share this one last scene together.

After the family got back their business (thanks to Miu Tin), Granny Ho decided to pass on the business to her son-in-law (Matt Yeung) and move out to live with her son (Benjamin Yuen) at a different place.  She did all that though because of Sun Yuet.  Granny Ho wanted Sun Yuet to go live a life she wanted (with Miu Tin) and be happy.  The most touching part of the speech was when she told Sun Yuet to take her children with her too.  It's obvious that Granny Ho loves her grandchildren alot, but at the same time...she knew that they had to be with their mother (Sun Yuet).  It as heart breaking to see her leave Sun Yuet and the grand children.  Despite how much she loved them, she was willing to let go in order for Sun Yuet to find true happiness.
Sze Hang's POV
I'm glad that the later generation (Sun Yuet's kids) got a say in what they think of their parents' relationship.  I thought it was really cute how Sze Hang (little Raymond Wong) complained how his "parents" (Miu Tin and Sun Yuet) always looked lovingly at each other.  "I mean...what is there to look at?" -Sze Hang

Then there's how Sze Hang grew up (Raymond Wong appears as a guest star).  Like his "dad" (Miu Tin), he thought he could love one woman for his entire life but instead his relationships failed one after another.  That's when he realized how hard it was to keep on loving someone.

I particularly like these scenes very much because they reflected on how loving someone is not as simple as one may think.
The Ending
What Miu Tin said to Sun Yuet before he died was touching, but the scene could've been better if Moses actually sounded like a dying man.  Honestly, his voice was the same as the other scenes he was in...

This series was nice to watch, even though you may have to be a bit patient with it.  Recommended for fans of Maggie Cheung, Law Lan, Joel Chan and Samantha Ko.  Maybe Edwin Siu's fans too since you get to see an evil side of him, but I thought there were just too little screentime of him.

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