Ancient Love Poetry follows Shang Gu, once a leader of the four immortals, who falls into a deep sleep after sacrificing herself in a trial that lasted 60,000 years. Shang Gu wakes up many years later, and memories of what happened 300 years ago were completely wiped. But her former lover, Bai Jue, never forgot about her. Sacrificing his reincarnation for her life, he waited for her for 60,000 years. Even when his soul disappears, Shang Gu will wait for him forever. (Source: Beauty321) ~~ Adapted from the novel "Ancient God" (上古) by Xing Ling (星零). Edit Translation
Cast & Credits
Ancient Love Poetry: The Xianxia Drama of 2021Countless days of waiting weren’t for nothing. My anticipation was sky high for this Xianxia, and my patience was also tested to the maximum. With a lengthy list of countless words to describe Ancient Love Poetry, I can say without any hesitation that ‘disappointment’ is an excluded word.
I’m probably not lying if I call the Xianxia genre my soulmate. I am a sucker for this beautiful genre, and Ancient Love Poetry is a must-watch if you enjoyed/loved the previous famous Xianxias. The drama brings you into a world of magic and beauty that makes it terribly hard for you to take your eyes offscreen.
What may appear at first glance to be a Cdrama filled to the brim with Xianxia tropes, it is not false to say that Ancient Love Poetry has difficult tribulations, character reincarnations, and most of all, heartbreaking sacrifices. But with the addition of beauty and elegance, a Xianxia drama can take these tropes to a heavenly level. Adapted from the well-known Xianxia novel “Shang Gu”-Ancient God (上古) by Xing Ling, the drama followed the original piece evidently well, and maintained the tension, angst and beauty masterfully to the very end.
A Xianxia would not be very well-rounded off without world building and character introduction, which Ancient Love Poetry did magnificently with. As with the majority of costume Cdramas and even more with Xianxias, it can be difficult to attempt the memorization of characters and locations. With a helping hand that is the first few episodes of Ancient Love Poetry, the audience found less struggle with this concept. I could even call Ancient Love Poetry educational in terms of the Xianxia genre- From just 49 episodes alone, I, who has done extensive research on this fantasy genre, broadened my knowledge even more.
What comes with the introduction also comes with a slight impatience towards a rather slow-paced plot in the beginning. In easier words, Ancient Love Poetry did not entirely succeed to capture everyone’s attention at the beginning, resulting in the creation of let-down droppers. As many of us say, the story gets very interesting starting from eps 12-16. And as expected, the story only progressed towards more captivation. Longer dramas may provide more time for the background story, which may seem unnecessary and boring but are actually important for the story as a whole. The sheer level of love and angst in this drama is enough for one to cry out numerous waterfalls.
It was also a pleasure to discover that aside from the lead couple, romance spread across many lovable supporting characters, as well as familial love, long lasting friendship, and even hateful grievances. Although Ancient Love Poetry focuses heavily on romance, the story also kept the audience on the edge of their seats with a few major problems that spread throughout the four realms and that threatened the existence of the true gods.
Ancient Love Poetry’s production is such a gem that I decided to give it its very own section in this review. The production is simply gorgeous, and the drama’s high budget certainly paid off and was used to its full potential. The costumes look simple with its light pastel colors, but with its simplicity comes a wave of freshness and slight joy. The drama’s CGI is not a joke, either. Each strand of magic and spell is carefully produced to the most believable extent, providing a most magical experience for the audience. Each realm in the drama also gives off special vibes. The bright gold Heavenly Palace boasts its grandeur while the lighter-colored Qingchi Palace expresses its beauty in the form of nature and water. Inside the palace, rooms and props are delicately adorned with the uniqueness of its realm, from shimmering golds to billowing blacks. Editing was not a problem either, as traditions were neatly made without any distraction.
Please allow me to disagree to the fullest extent with the Chinese netizens claiming that Zhou Dongyu was not fit for the role of Shang Gu. She absolutely nailed this with astonishing talent. With the challenge of Ancient Love Poetry being her very first costume Cdrama, Zhou Dongyu portrayed Shang Gu perfectly, a playful girl who later grows up into the leader of the God Realm with a difficult destiny. Zhou Dongyu does exceptionally well with deep scenes, and Ancient Love Poetry gave her another chance to display this talent. Her acting was not forced at all, creating a lovable character with a heartbreaking history.
Believe it or not, Ancient Love Poetry is my first drama starring Xu Kai. As I watched this along with his first modern drama, Falling Into Your Smile, I got the perfect chance to compare his completely different roles and made the conclusion that he is an amazing actor who can portray almost any character. As a caring male lead holding unspeakable love, Bai Jue stole the hearts of everyone. He successfully made us cry rivers for him as we accompanied him on his grueling path of love and sacrifice. Xu Kai as Bai Jue and Xu Kai as Qing Mu couldn’t have been more different and heartbreaking. With contrasting personalities but the same passionate love, both characters gave way for the audience to experience their love and pain.
Shang Gu and Bai Jue are cute. Period. With cute chemistry and powerful love and care for each other, the director of ALP, Yin Tao (one of my favorite directors), did not make a mistake when he casted Zhou Dongyu and Xu Kai as the leads. I can’t think of anyone better.
Many of the supporting actors and actresses did phenomenally, to say the least. A drama is never complete with a complex range of supporting characters, all with different beliefs and lovable or hateable traits. Completely contrasting with Bai Lin in Love and Redemption, Liu Xueyi as Tian Qi was an absolute pleasure to watch. Liu Xueyi kept the balance between a playful and perky true god to a caring friend and master. Lai Yi as Gu Jun was one of my favorite characters. This righteous high god couldn't have cared less about power and the messiness of the Heavenly Realm, and lived life to the fullest. Even as a father, no one and nothing could stop him from protecting his daughter at all costs. Last but not least, I would also like to give a big round of applause to Zhang Jiani, actress of Wu Huan. This complex character is a major challenge for anyone, but Zhang Jiani did more than wonderfully, and was such a pleasure to watch on screen.
Even with characters of very minor importance, I was always invested in their own stories and their part in the drama. Character development was done so well in Ancient Love Poetry that some characters made quite a big personality change, while others never failed to keep our attention.
What more than breathtaking awe for the OST of Ancient Love Poetry? With songs sung by exceptionally talented singers, they truly brought out the magic and beauty of the drama. Along with traditional background music and propelling lyrics, what a gem of a soundtrack this is.
I will do another thing I have never done before in any review, which is listing the soundtrack, to show the very preciousness of the OST:
“Penannular Love”《绝恋》by Zhou Shen (周深)
“Yearning”《年岁》by Mao Buyi (毛不易)
“Sense”《感应》by Liu Yuning (刘宇宁)
“Twilight”《朝暮》by Deng Shenme Jun (等什么君)
“A Thousand Years of Searching”《千寻》by A-Lin
“Mountain Sea”《山海》by Zhuo Yao (灼夭)
“The Thought of Life”《执生念》by Ye Xuanqing (叶炫清)
Here is a verse from “The Thought of Life” that I deem most beautiful and heartbreaking:
“她, 化身飞烟, 生死离别, 他为她守护三界”
“She, turns into flying smoke, parting life and death, while he protects the Three Realms for her”
It is still quite hard to believe that Ancient Love Poetry might have just become my favorite Cdrama of all time. The title of Xianxia of 2021 is most fitting for this drama, if not enough. With tens of thousands of years of love and grievances, I was sucked deep into this moving love story. What started off on quite a good note only got better and better with a diversity of characters and relationships and a journey across the magical Xianxia world.
Beautiful xianxia drama that may have its flaws but overall is still worth the watchBefore I get into this, I would like to say that negative reviews have had no effect on me and I think Zhou Dong Yu looks the part.
This story follows Shang Gu as she lives up to her role as the leader of the four immortals and takes responsibility for the realms.
The story starts out somewhat stereotypical: Shang Gu needs to get stronger so she trains under Bai Jue. However, the character development was nicely done in this: Shang Gu grows from a mischievous, useless goddess to a powerful, self-sacrificing leader. Bai Jue also begins to open up, and the chemistry between the two is adorable. Shang Gu is like a puppy dog of happiness whenever she's around Bai Jue! The plot also begins to pick up around 4 episodes too, and the story becomes very interesting.
The second life is also neat, but one of my only criticisms of the show comes here: Shang Gu(or Houchi in this life) becomes a bit wooden. Zhou Dong Yu still acts out Houchi like she was the strong female ruler she was, but after 30 episodes it starts to get a little stale and unbelievable. In Xianxia dramas (or any drama, really) I wish to see a lot of character development and growth. Shang Gu experienced emotional and physical growth, but I'm not sensing a lot of emotional growth from Houchi where it feels like there should be some. She still faces problems and reacts to things in exactly the same way for 20 episodes straight. I find it hard to believe that her personality will change drastically when she becomes Shang Gu again too. Despite this, I still enjoyed the second arc.
The third phase (starting from the return of Bai Jue) was both the best and the worst phase. It was the worst because in some places, there were some cheesy and unbelievable scenes, such as (no major spoilers) when everyone stood in a circle around Bai Jue and Jing Zhao and watched everything unfold without reacting. There were some pretty shocking things happening, so the vast majority just standing there like statues kind of took the emotional impact out of that moment for me. Another thing is Shang Gu interacting with Bai Jue during the period when they weren't on the best terms. They basically said the same things for three encounters. Xu Kai's acting saved the day because he has the best despairing gaze, but I feel like they needed to switch up their interactions a bit.
Now for the best parts (and these override the bad parts by miles ). I said above that I may not like Zhou Dong Yu's acting in the third arc, but I was pleasantly surprised. Her acting, like in the first arc, feels lively, spirited, and quick-witted. The second great thing is actually the villain's development. I want to give props to Jenny Zhang for portraying Wu Huan's character with such depth. Her desperation and resignation of fate led her to her actions, and I can even relate with her a bit. Her story was well written and her ending was justified. And that leads me to the third thing. Ancient Love Poetry has one of the best endings that I've seen. All the characters were written off nicely, everyone got what they deserved, and the ending was beautiful. Nothing felt rushed or unsatisfactory. The ending sealed the deal for this drama being a great drama overall.
About the main characters: I sometimes felt Zhou Dong Yu could've acted some parts with more emotion. She's awesome at the cheerful/intellectual/imposing scenes, but her sad scenes aren't totally there yet. Xu Kai is great; he goes from an emotionless True God to a hot-blooded immortal, and he's great at subtly showing his emotions in his third form. Like Zhou Dong Yu, his acting is also a bit wooden at times, but his emotional scenes hit me where it hurts. He's got some great acting abilities. Despite their individual acting, their chemistry was adorable. I also liked the fact that their relationship was not a stereotypical guy-is-the-best-at-everything relationship.
The side characters are a joy to watch in this show. I love them all, from the friends to the villains. They are multifaceted and compelling, and I'm as invested in their stories as I am in the main couples'. Wu Huan is a dislikeable but understandable villain, Yue Mi and Feng Ran are friends with interesting backstories, the other immortals are all people with flaws struggling to do their best, and the Demon Tribe is just another group with its own troubles and stories. Tian Qi is actually one of my favorite characters. They are part of what makes this show charming.
For the animation: the trailer was beyond beautiful, but making every little part look amazing is going to cost a lot of money, and this drama is already CGI heavy. However, this show is the best-edited among long-length xianxia dramas up to and during its air. It really is dazzling and gorgeous.
Overall, Ancient Love Poetry is definitely a drama worth watching, and despite my criticisms, the number of great scenes vastly outnumber them. Also, once you get deep into the story, you want to know what happens next!