Here is a review of the top K drama film, Pandora

IMDB: 6.6/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 62%

This contains the spoiler for the Movie, Pandora (2016)

Hangul: 판도라

Hanja: 판도라

Released date: December 7, 2016

Genres: Action, Drama, and Thriller

Distributed By: Next Entertainment World

Directed By: Park Jung-woo

Written By: Park Jung-woo

Produced By: Kim Chul-yong and Park Kyung-sook

Original language: Korean

Budget: $477,000

Box office: $32 million

Pandora – Storyline

Residents of a small town may view the nearby nuclear facilities favorably in terms of employment opportunities, but they are also aware of the dangers. Kang Jae-hyuk (Kim Nam-gil), in particular, lost his father and brother in a plant disaster.

Nevertheless, he is employed there as well, having failed in his attempt to support himself and gone bankrupt. A few reports have been withheld in order to allow the nuclear plants to continue functioning even though they are over their sell-by dates.

As a result, events eventually lead to a situation in which a significant explosion takes place. After warning everyone about the risks, Pyeong-seok (Jeong Jin-yeong) is now frantically attempting to stop a meltdown.

The president’s advisors have ordered the evacuation of all nearby localities due to the rising radiation level, but the public is unaware of the true risk or the precise circumstances because the media is kept in the dark.

Furthermore, since the firefighters are not given permission to utilize seawater to cool down the plant, a meltdown is imminent. Because of this, the cost to repair the reactor would increase.


Real Name Movie name
Daekyum Ahn Storage tank hazmat suit
Do-bin Baek Rescue team chief
Seung-Hoon Choi Young Jae-hyeok
Bae Gang-Yoo Min-jae
Jo Han-chul CEO of Simwon E&C
Kim Han-Jong Jin-taek
Kwon Hong-Suk Presidential spokesperson
Kim Hye-Eun First Lady (Korean president’s wife)
In-gi Jeong Firefighter chief (as In-Gi Jung)
Moon Jeong-Hee Jeong-hye (as Junghi Moon)
Hyun-Joon Ji Jae-hyeok’s older brother
Pandora cast during premiere

Pandora – Review

“Pandora” is a scorching disaster film that deftly addresses political concerns in a nation where cronyism and high-level incompetence have lately made their way into the public as a result of the ousted South Korean president.

The similarities and critiques that are drawn in this film are evident, and it is commendable at times how bravely director Park Jeong-woo handles the matter. Of course, this story’s turning point also stems from the Fukushima accident in 2011.

It should be comprehensible why Japanese filmmakers were unable to portray the events simply for a general audience because the disaster’s horror is still fresh, and Korea steps in to fill this void. And not without reason, given that South Korea is methodically continuing to construct nuclear reactors even while the rest of the world gradually decommissions them.

Hearing that there isn’t exactly a workable backup plan is horrifying, and the government leaders’ seeming impotence is perplexing. Naturally, the public is not intended to be informed of the actual happenings, and the president is not supposed to be given crucial information.

Even when the president finally wants to act and releases the puppet strings from him, he hardly appears to be any more capable than the others.

At least he gets off easier than the comparisons to the former president Park Geun-hye would suggest. In reality, though, the man in the movie’s focal point is just a regular guy.

Everything but a hero, even a loser and a good-for-nothing who wants to jump off the capsized ship at the first chance that comes along. Of course, as the novel goes on, he develops as a person, but he still has a long way to go.

A long way, but we are beginning to wonder exactly when he is intended to take that route. because the calamity already struck the residents of the town after 15 to 20 minutes. In contrast to what we are typically used to, there is no slapstick-filled opening before the action starts and continues until it all comes to a spectacular conclusion.

When the battle lines are set and the risks of a reactor accident are accurately illustrated, calamity already occurs. We must thus question ourselves what the remaining two hours of the film, or the rest of the image, are really about. Obviously, the disaster’s containment. Parallels to recent events are frequently drawn as well.

For instance, the firefighters’ passive waiting for orders as explosion survivors search among the debris for their coworkers obviously reminds one of the government’s (non)actions during the Sewol ferry incident.

The rest of the film is carried by Kim Nam-gil (“The Shameless”), but “Pandora” shows its flaws when it comes to its characters. There may be a complex personality here, but it is never made clear where the hero, who in a movie like this must finally reveal himself toward the conclusion, comes from.

Contrarily, Kim Joo-hyun lacks credibility, just like the rest of the female ensemble, and as a result, her and the mother’s scenes are frequently overdramatized and overdone to the point of being practically uncomfortable. Jeong Jin-yeong (“Ode to My Father”) at least has a respectable supporting part; nevertheless, had he portrayed Kim Myeong-min (“Spy”) as an incompetent leader, he undoubtedly would have found himself on the blacklist of artists maintained by former presidents. Therefore, the acting attempts should be situated someplace on a level that is below average. The movie is still exciting, though.

With “Big Bang” and “Deranged,” directed by Park Jeong-woo, he has already produced two compelling films, though the latter was originally conceived as a disaster film similar to “Pandora.” In a straightforward manner, the director demonstrates the effects of radioactive contamination, and the idea of being moribund is nicely brought into effect.

However, despite all of this skillfully executed criticism of the Korean government, which alternates between being subtle and being quite direct, Park ends up returning to a familiar landscape when he makes all the mistakes we have come to expect from Korean films. With a running time of 135 minutes, the movie’s length is obviously an issue, but the fact that 10 of those minutes are devoted to cheesy drama makes it an even bigger tragedy than the reactor accident. This is unquestionably a major negative point in the assessment. It’s just unfortunate. “Pandora” may have been a really unique disaster movie if some parts had been removed and others edited somewhat differently, given the courageous and shrewd critique that was offered.

Trophies and Awards

Year Award Category Result
2017 11th Asian Film Awards Best Production Designer Nominated
22nd Chunsa Film Art Awards Best New Actress Nominated
53rd Baeksang Arts Awards Most Popular Actor (film) Nominated
54th Grand Bell Awards Best Film Nominated
Best Director Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Nominated
Best Art Direction Nominated
Best Lighting Nominated
Best Cinematography Nominated
Best Editing Nominated
Technical Award Nominated
Best Planning Nominated

Also Read: Innocent Witness (2019) Movie Review

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