Monday, February 28, 2011

The Host (2006)

The pollution in the Han River gives birth to Korea's greatest terror: a giant amphibian monster that is the host to a deadly disease! When the monster strikes the Wonhyogyo riverbank and captures a young girl, it is up to her family to band together and come to her rescue. While it appears to be a monster movie on the surface, THE HOST is a touching family drama at heart that is filled with plenty of fun characters and light humor. The Park family is by no means perfect, but they must each put their differences aside in order to save their courageous daughter Hyun-Seo. Director Bong Joon-Ho takes a far different approach to the monster movie and opens with an incredible attack sequence that is beautifully shot and choreographed, revealing the monster to the audience very early on. From here, the beast becomes a background player that is simply a catalyst for the family's struggle. Also unlike most traditional Japanese monster movies, the slimy creature is rendered entirely by computer, but its sleek design and interactions with the surrounding environments give it a life of its own. Bong infuses the plot with a strong sense of satire and biting social commentary as well, but in a way that is both relevant and entertaining at the same time. THE HOST is one of the stronger Korean exports in recent years, and a worthy addition to the giant monster genre!

Rating: 8/10.

If you liked THE HOST, check out:
ALLIGATOR, GOJIRA, GAMERA THE BRAVE.

9 comments:

  1. yeah, I love this movie! The very first monster attack is one of the most impressive scenes I've ever seen

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  2. Honestly, I think that 8/10 is too low for 'The Host.'

    The film has great special effects, good acting and a tale that manages to work in horror, action, a bit of comedy and some serious familial drama. Hell, they even throw in some social commentary about the job situation in South Korea at the time.

    That's 1 point higher than 'Conan the Destroyer,' a film whose 'empty plotting leaves much to be desired.'

    Yeah, not so much.

    This is also another reason why I don't do number rankings for films. If you want to know how I feel, read the review!

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  3. Yeah, I was really on the edge with this one. What brings it down a peg for me is the odd humor that feels inappropriate at times (the funeral scene always comes to mind) and the pacing. I think it's very good, but a step away from being great.

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  4. Really?

    The bit at the Funeral was clearly there to give a moment of levity after all of the death and human drama. Why is that bad, especially when it was so simple and quick? Had they done a whole bit there, I'd be with you.

    The pacing? Within ten minutes, you get a long, attack scene in broad daylight. Between monster scenes, you get drama- the escape, the dad's explanation- and a bit of action- the police chase, etc.

    You want a South Korean film with pacing issues- watch 'The Wig.'

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  5. I thought the comedy was great in this movie. Just enough to keep it from being overwrought. One of my favorite movies from the past decade.

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  6. I meant the comically over dramatic crying sequence in the funeral when the family is wrestling around on the ground, I may have misread it but it was odd and out of place for me. I just would have liked to have seen things move faster after the initial attack rather than the repetitive searching. I'm still a big fan of the film, there is just some room for improvement.

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  7. To be fair, they give you more total monster moments in the opening attack bit than in all of 'Cloverfield.' They are allowed to pace it out a bit after that IMO.

    I thought that they spaced it out well enough by having the monster attack random people- i.e. the government workers- in between & having the scenes in the nest.

    On the bright side for you, there is a sequel and remake supposedly in the works. We'll see what happens.

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  8. I still have not sat down and watched this movie. The implementation of comedy, horror, drama, suspense (what have you) all in the same movie is fairly commonplace for Asian cinema, particularly in the 90s. After you've seen enough of them like that, it's not quite as jarring, imo.

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  9. You haven't watched 'The Host?' For shame, Venom.

    See it before we get subjected to a studio-pushed sequel and an American remake!

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