Updated August. 09, 2014 06:15
Frankly, the movie Roaring Currents is rubbish. This is what cultural critic Jin Jung-kwon said of the movie, sparking controversy. A movie does not necessarily make a masterpiece just because everybody watches it. Someone can call it "rubbish." Culture often earns extremely different responses depending on viewers tastes. Nonetheless, Jins criticism appears to be overly harsh, when compared with his commentary on the movie The War. Popular culture including films is a genre of culture that people enjoy to entertain them and relieve their stress, eating popcorns and drinking soda. It is good enough as long as people enjoy it, and critiquing if a movie is a masterpiece or trash makes little sense.
Jin claimed the success of the movie "Roaring Current" titled after the naval battle of Myeongryang is due to Admiral Yi Soon-shin. After the tragic sinking of the ferry Sewol, Korean society aspires for exemplary leadership of Admiral Yi. Despite this, it is unfair to claim that the new movies success is due solely to Yi and little, if any, to the quality of the movie itself, when compared with boring movies of the past on Yi, such as Great Hero Yi Soon-shin. The success of Roaring Currents stems not only from description of Admiral Yis humane agonies showcased in it, but also spectacular battle scenes featured in the second part that back up potentially boring proceedings in the first part. A critic who is overly obsessed with ideology can often fail to see such things that look very obvious to the general public.
Jins criticism of the movie rather implies his twisted psychology. His criticism of "The War" stemmed from his antipathy towards alleged chauvinistic nationalism, which caused people to give unconditionally positive comments on the movie just because it was produced by Koreans. The fact that he raises issue with "Roaring Currents" for no reason alludes to his sense of antipathy towards a movie inspiring patriotism. Not all patriotism constitutes chauvinism. Jins criticism might be expression of mental status unique to someone who has never had sense of patriotism.
This is not part of what Jin claimed, but some analysts said that the success of Roaring Currents derives from the power of CJ, the movies distributor. Some even say that Admiral Yi is great, but CJ is even greater. As if illustrating the strength of CJs marketing strategy, a commentary lecture on "Roaring Currents" by a teacher identified by his last name Seol was widely circulated on the Internet prior to the movies release. It is reported that because "Roaring Currents" is being screened in all the main screening halls at multiplex cinemas, fans have little access to other movies even if they want. Even Jins openly anti-nationalistic criticism of this movie seems to be being buried as if it is part of "noise marketing."