If I’ve said it one, I’ve said it a million times– Korean cinema and TV has been an important voice in the entertainment industry for a long time, but over the past 5 years, it’s the source of some of the best material around. In the modern era, a road was paved in the film world by the likes of Park Chan-Wook and Bong Joon-Ho. But after the worldwide success for shows like Squid Game and The Kingdom there is a glut of new Korean produced TV shows that are vying to be the top dog. The new Hulu/Disney+ show Moving is trying hard to be that new show to engulf your interests, but does it succeed?
Kim Bong-seok (Lee Jung-ha) certainly has some strange “habits.” He sleeps with his comforter anchored to his bed frame, he eats large quantities of food at record speeds, and carries around multiple bags that are seemingly filled with bricks. He is about to start the final semester as a senior in high school and has developed an immediate crush on the new transfer to the school whom he meets when they are both about to miss their final bus to school. As the two get to know each other, strange incidents are happening in the world around them.
A mysterious man, Frank (Ryoo Seung-bum) has arrived in their town. With a stack of confidential envelopes, he is on the hunt to find and take out a select group of people with special, superhuman powers. This world is filled with characters who once worked for a secret society and while they thought they were out and done with this type of life, their extinction has been ordered. As the story unfolds, Kim Bong-seok’s world is about to collide with Frank’s, and a showdown of epic proportions is on its way.
It’s hard not to at first be immediately intrigued by Moving. The show’s first episode opens up with Kim Bong-seok dreaming that he is soaring high in the sky. He thinks to himself that he sees things that he needs to remember as he questions where he is going. It is almost a carbon copy of the dream sequences from the under appreciated Joe Dante sci-fi classic, Explorers. The comparisons are almost shocking, but it flooded my mind with nostalgic memories of glee. And just to note, that is where the comparisons end. It was a fleeting moment, but noticeable nonetheless.
Moving isn’t a perfect experience, at the end of the day. While the day to day lives of teens at school and the almost vindictive murder spree at the other end of the pendulum shouldn’t mirror each other, they present an awkward imbalance. The almost bubblegum nature of the majority of the opening episodes lead to no set-up for abrupt bloody and fairly twisted action that lies at the end of the road for Kim Bong-seok and his friends. I’m all for seeing both sides, but there needs to be a better way of handling the transition from one world to the other.
Now, I’m also no expert on the Korean school system, but the small day-to-day lives of these students is awfully confusing and strange. Sometimes it seems they are beholden to traditional school standards in terms of the length of their schooling day. Then the next week they all of a sudden seem to leave for a few hours around the middle of the day and return at night for more schooling with no teachers? While Kim and his crush Jang Hui-soo (Go Youn-jung) are often saddled with detention, where they have to clean after school. There are times students seem to be running around and in their homeroom classes at the same time.
There is more and more to unfold as the first season adaptation of the Kang Full webtoon of the same name goes on. But even as some things seem obvious, you’ll need to bide your time and pay close attention to the opening episodes to keep yourself in the right place to experience all the show has to offer over its entire run. This is not the shining star that some other Korean shows have become on the worldwide stage, but it has plenty to offer fans of the genre.
Final Grade: B-
Here’s the trailer of the series.