WTK REVIEW: Cha In Pyo And Ricky Kim Are Part Of Life-Changing Journey In English-Language Fantasy Film “Heavenquest”

 WTK REVIEW: Cha In Pyo And Ricky Kim Are Part Of Life-Changing Journey In English-Language Fantasy Film “Heavenquest”

It’s a project that has been in the works for sometime, but “Heavenquest: A Pilgrim’s Progress” is finally finished and getting ready for its official release in 2020! In the meantime, fans of Korean dramas and films will be happy to know that actors Cha In Pyo and Ricky Kim take on important roles in the movie.

For a special two days, the new faith-based fantasy-adventure film was available to the public, so WTK took advantage of the opportunity and ordered the long-awaited film.

The movie is inspired by the classic 1678 novel “The Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan and follows the story of an individual looking for freedom and higher purpose on a life-altering journey. The film, which is set as a prequel to the book, modernizes things by inviting viewers into a fantasy world where two kingdoms fight against each other in the eternal battle of good vs evil. Through each step of the way, viewers will be inspired by the deeper meaning behind the plot, the places, and even the names of the characters.

Our hero Vangel (Greek word for evangelist) is a high-ranking judge in the Southern Kingdom and has faithfully served the dark, magic-loving ruler for years. The ruler Aamon (meaning Marquis of Hell) serves Apollyon, the creator of the dark powers. However, when Vangel comes under suspicion of treason, he is sent to be executed at the fires of Mauna. On the way, he is able to escape his captors, although he still bears the captors’ heavy metal chains upon his wrists.

Although Vangel desires to return to the Southern Kingdom and clear his name, he soon realizes that his plan is no longer a safe option. Instead, he decides to go to the Northern Kingdom, a place of which he has only heard rumors praising its bright skies and rolling hills. Rumors which he previously deemed as “fairy tales for commoners,” he now begins to hold out hope that the rumors are true.

Along the way, our pilgrim happens upon treacherous places such as The Lake of Doubts and The Forest of No Return. He also meets dangerous witches and worldly-wise people who would seek to keep him in the Southern Kingdom. Throughout his journey, he is also continually chased by the wicked henchman of the ruler of the Southern Kingdom. Fights, battles, and eerie opponents come out in full force as our hero struggles to advance and find safety in the north, as well as to find someone who can release the heavy chains from his wrists.

Along the way, however, Vangel also meets faithful servants of the Northern Kingdom who inspire him in his journey, as well as help him make it through the most dangerous of places. Elder (from the Greek word for shepherd) is the servant of the King of Eos and gives Vangel a book entitled “The Record of the Ancients” to help him along his way. Meanwhile, Ezera (Hebrew for help) comes to Vangel’s rescue and guides him on his journey.

As they travel together, Ezera and Elder tell Vangel about the existence of the one true King of Eos who reigns with his son, Prince Elikai (Hebrew for God is my salvation). Inspired by their stories, he becomes even more determined to reach the Northern Kingdom to see for himself if the stories are true.

An inspiring adventure movie, the film certainly had its struggles in coming to fruition. With a budget that one of the producers themselves called “tiny,” the movie almost didn’t happen at times. Regardless, things fell together wonderfully in order to create an inspiring and beautiful film despite such small financial backing. Many talented people ended up joining the cast and crew due to their belief in the project. The script was largely improvised, and people like writer and producer Rachel Tan also acted in the film. The gorgeous costumes were made by people who formerly made costumes for a circus. The editor of the movie worked on “Pirates of the Caribbean,” the VFX team worked on movies like “Superman” and “Captain America,” and many more talented people joined in as well.

With its international cast, the film also offers a little something for many different fans. Vangel is played by Patrick Thompson (known for his work on the dark comedy series “Living With Frankenstein”), Elder was played by the famous Korean actor Cha In Pyo (“D-Day”) who makes his Hollywood debut through the film, Ezera was played by the lovely Australian actress Peta Sergeant (“Snowfall”), Aamon was played by Alan Powell (“Quantico”), Prince Elikai was played by the popular Korean-American actor and reality star Ricky Kim (“The Queen’s Classroom”), and a special appearance was done by famous Mexican actress Karyme Lozano (“For Greater Glory: The True Story of Cristiada”).

The film also featured incredibly beautiful scenery throughout the film, taking full advantage of the film’s various shooting locations in South Africa and more.

Overall, the movie is well-done and well-written, offering a beautiful tale of redemption through a story that is as old as time itself. Inspired by the journey of becoming a Christian, the film is definitely an allegory of the Christian walk and has many wonderful points that will touch the hearts of those who share the Christian faith. However, even for non-religious viewers, I believe the movie will prove to be interesting enough to hold their attention. Although it doesn’t have the budget of a blockbuster movie, the genres are similar enough to faith-based adventure books and movies like “The Chronicles of Narnia” and “The Lord of the Rings” that the audience can enjoy the tale for its deeper meaning of looking for faith in a wicked world or they can simply enjoy it for the story, costumes, acting, and plot. Either way, the movie is a win in my book.

Watching it, I enjoyed the story as a lover of fantasy films and beautiful costumes. Yet as a Christian, I also had tears come to my eyes multiple times at the parallels drawn between Vangel’s journey and the deeper spiritual meaning in the experiences that I have had in my own life as well. When the terrifying, swamp-like creature crawled out of The Lake Of Doubts to drag Vangel under, I was impressed at how accurately that describes what doubts do to us in our own lives as well. I’ve been waiting on this film for quite some time now, and it definitely did not disappoint.

My only minor complaint about the film is that the ending seemed a little rushed in my opinion. After such an epic journey, I wish the finale of the movie had been a little more drawn out and the emotions of the ending brought more fully to the surface. However, the end story itself was perfect and brought a lovely conclusion to the story of redemption. In addition, I enjoyed the imagery that although Vangel’s journey in the film was over, his entire life still spread out before him. There are still more battles to come, a war to win, and others to help. This ongoing life is perhaps why the original book is not called the pilgrim’s “trip” or the pilgrim’s “destination.” Instead, it’s called “The Pilgrim’s Progress.”

“Heavenquest: A Pilgrim’s Progress” will be released officially in 2020. Until then, check out the trailer below!

Have you watched the film “Heavenquest” yet? What did you think of the story of Vangel and his journey to the Northern Kingdom? Let us know your thoughts by tweeting to us @whatthekpop1!

Media: King Street Pictures

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