Squid Game: Season 1 (Netflix) – 2021
Where can I watch?: Netflix – https://www.netflix.com/gb/title/81040344
Length: x9 episodes (x1 hour each).
You’ve probably heard loads about Squid game all over social media, on night talk shows like Jimmy Fallon and also perhaps seen the thumbnail for it in Netflix’s top 10 list if your a Netflix regular.
So what is Squid Game?
Squid game is a Korean drama, TV show on Netflix directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk, which was released earlier last month and has very quickly become (after just 10 days of airing) the fastest Korean TV show to take the #1 spot in Netflix’s top 10 globally.
There won’t be any spoilers in this review, as everyone really should watch it themselves, as its so well done. So what’s it about? In a nut shell, its about people, 456 to be exact, who are seriously struggling in life with debt issues, but they are offered a second chance to make a tonne of money to live a debt free life, by participating in a variety of basic, yet sometimes horrifically terrifying, ”kids” games. Think of it as a more barbaric version of Takeshi’s castle, a sort of, battle royale if you wish, where the last person standing ”wins”. If you lose, you lose with your life. Game Over. The rules are that simple. It actually reminded me of Battle Royale, a movie I watched back in university with some classmates which focussed on 9th grade students all taken to an island to basically kill each other in a ”game” under the governments revolutionary ”Battle Royale” act. If you haven’t seen that either, I’d highly recommend it.
So back to Squid Game, all 456 contestants are taken to this secret island off the mainland and are joined by similar characters, all whom are in some sort of serious debt issues. The island is run by guards with red / pink jumpsuits and black masks with shapes on them (denoting different ”ranks”) and all operations are overseen by the ”frontman”, the person dressed all in black and the 3d black mask. After each game, the total amount of people eliminated = money deposited in the piggybank for all the remaining players, the last player standing wins the 45.6 Billion won.
Although you could consider my viewing of this ”late to the party” since it aired back in September, I didn’t actually hear anything about this show – probably due to being off social media for a while. Scanning through Netflix last week though, I saw the Squid Game thumbnail and thought, hey, lets give it a watch, its something different after all. And….I’m so, so glad I did. The show’s pace was just perfect. Straight off the bat you get an insight into various characters day to day life, including their daily struggles. It quickly picks up and your soon watching them play their first game ”red light, green light” – a similar game to ”what’s the time Mr wolf?” (played here in the UK). The pace throughout is great and of course, almost of all the episodes end on spectacular cliff hangers, pulling you into that ”just one more episode” state of mind time and time again. There are x9 episodes in total, each lasting 1 hour and god I can’t wait for season 2 already ! (please let there by a season 2 !).
The voice acting in this is great, some say its bad, and ok itll never match the original voices right, but its overall pretty good. I read about someone saying the original Korean version of it, depicts it in a slightly darker way. But that being said, I still think the voice over actors (speaking English) all done a good job in this, easily conveying humour, anger and a whole range of other emotions in a very believable way. Its probably one of the best (and funniest, at some parts) voice over dubs for a tv show / movie that I’ve heard in a long time.
With the shows main social tone being tied to debt, humanity and survival, everyone can relate to this in real life, we are all dealing with daily struggles (most of us anyway), so I found the characters in this all very relatable. You have characters from all walks of life here each with their own distinct personality; the loser, the doctor, the smart uni student, the old guy, the foreigner, the gang member, the orphan and so on. Each of the actors played them with style, and the show does a great job of making the viewer tie different bonds with each of them throughout. You’ll find yourself getting attached to some of the characters and there’s also a load of twist and turns along the way; some very funny and extremely shocking moments from start to finish, it really is a rollercoaster of a ride and that’s all I’m going to say on that.
Art style – with truly gorgeous, intense and mysterious visuals that keeps you in suspense, at least initially, as the first game opens your oozed in curiosity and mystery. This tends to fade a little as each game comes and goes, but overall the music, visuals and so on are very ”artistic” and cleverly thought out, that fit the show perfectly.
Without delving into spoilers, Squid Game does a fantastic job of, I guess kind of reminding us we are all in life’s ”debt” in some way or another (capitalism, yay!). But most importantly, no matter what life throws at us, no matter how bad or rubbish it gets for us, there is always a different approach to life, this is the main message I took away from the show. Life as it is now will always happen, so is it not better to have fun and participate in this game we call life, rather than just watching from the sidelines of despair, worry and fear? Either way it all ends the same way, so we might as well take part and have fun along the way.
That’s my rapid review guys, not the best, but I’ve been awake for 20 hours (After watching a good 3-4 episodes last night, and the boxing) so if you haven’t seen Squid Game yet on Netflix, do yourself a favour and go watch it, its funny, sad, exciting and horrific all in one, so what are you waiting for? The next game is about to begin…