Myeongnyang and the Anatomy of a Korean Blockbuster

The recent Korean historic epic Myeongnyang has been shattering Korean box office records like an ironclad turtle ship through Japanese lines, achieving an unprecedented 15 million viewers in just four weeks. I saw it last week and thought that although it had some technical issues (choppy slow motion sequences and some questionable editing) and took some liberties with the details, it was competent depiction of one of the greatest naval battles in world history (13 Korean ships versus a Japanese fleet of over 300 ships) and arguably the greatest naval commander who ever lived. But even a competent movie can be enough to achieve box office success in Korea, so long as it has all of the necessary elements. Continue reading