The Host

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Remo D
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The Host

Post by Remo D » Sun Mar 25, 2007 4:23 pm

Just like the rest of you, I'd been soaking up all the hype for this South Korean monster bash. Quite an accomplishment--I haven't seen a Korean monster movie since YONGARY, MONSTER FROM THE DEEP (unless you REALLY want to count the YONGARY remake REPTILIAN... sheesh). I can see why this was such a smash hit in its native land, and the reviews had me slobbering. Add to that the anticipation caused by the delay of the release of THE HOST in my area for several weeks (not to mention the fact that I actually sat through THE HILLS HAVE EYES II in the meantime), throw in superlative reviews from all corners, and you've got me hepped up for one of the greatest monster movies of all time.

Well... it's certainly GOOD, but, you know, I sort of wish I'd just stumbled across this one by accident.

Now, the first half of the film? No question we've got something special. I've seen enough toxic mutant monster movies to last a lifetime (literally), but there is simply NO substitute for the way the creature makes his debut in THE HOST. Just the way it hangs from the bridge... only to suddenly come galumphing down the boardwalk? Oh, you'll see. It's hysterical. First-rate time at the monster movies.

And then there's the government conspiracy and the dysfunctional family (one critic labelled this "JAWS meets LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE") and I can certainly see why. In the midst of grief, in the midst of chaos, there's still disbelieving laughter to be had--enough to make you forget how little the monster is actually on screen.

In the end, though, there came a point for me. A point where I realized that things were moving much too slowly. And that the deadly serious material didn't quite gel with the satire. And while any legitimate satire comes with a price, I was not truly convinced that the finale was the only true option for such a film (we are NOT talking about PAN'S LABYRINTH here, after all).

And that hands me a conundrum. Absolutely nobody is talking about an American remake of PAN'S LABYRINTH, and they never will. But they're all over THE HOST. It would be SO easy to dumb it down, beef up the effects and emphasize the action. And you might even get a decent monster movie out of it, for all that. And it would be my job as a critic/historian to point out the differences. To emphasize that the makers of THE HOST were after a different effect. Unless they really shocked me with the remake, I'd be likely to invoke the Matthew Broderick GODZILLA and ask the heavens why people still hadn't learned their lesson.

But I'd be wishing that I hadn't grown impatient with the original. That I hadn't thought that the original filmmakers could have pulled it off with tighter pacing and a more satisfying fadeout without sacrificing any of the points they were trying to make. That while it was undoubtedly a groundbreaking accomplishment for the nation that created it, that didn't automatically make it one of the greatest monster movies ever made. Or, perhaps, that I simply hadn't heard all the bloody hype to begin with.

I bought my ticket today convinced that I'd be ranting and raving two hours later--that I'd be pointing at American efforts such as the HITCHER remake, HANNIBAL RISING and THE HILLS HAVE EYES II, saying "Why can't WE make great movies like THIS?"

And yet by the time the end titles of THE HOST were rolling, I just couldn't do it.

It's a good movie, all right. But it is NOT the monster movie to end them all.


Remo D.
My dog's breath smells like peanut butter...

...and I don't even have a dog!

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Post by Kimberly » Tue Mar 27, 2007 2:27 pm

Going from the movie, I guess we're all fucked, as formaldehyde goes right down the sink, along with other things.

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Griff [Mola]
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Post by Griff [Mola] » Tue Apr 03, 2007 7:55 am

Fucking strange film this one. I liked it, it was unique but... I think Remo nailed it. Its pretty out there.

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