Sunday, August 06, 2006

This is my movie review for the Korea film, "The Host"

its a rather long one and I was angry when I saw the film.

Imdb Link.

Han Cinema link.

The incident which the director stated created the monster.

Today’s Korean Box Office
Host’ Breaks 6-Million-Viewer Mark.

The Korea Times Review.

How I saw it. CGV DLP

Plot: The film revolves around Park Hee-bong (played by Byun Hee-bong), a man in his late 60s. Park runs a small snack bar on the banks of the Seoul's Han River and lives with his two sons, one daughter and one granddaughter. The Parks seem to lead a quite ordinary and peaceful life, or maybe a tad bit poorer than the average Seoulite.

Hee-bong's elder son Gang-du (by Song Gang-ho) is an immature and incompetent man in his 40s, whose wife left home long ago. Nam-il (by Park Hye-il) is the youngest son, an unemployed grumbler, and daughter Nam-joo (by Bae Du-na) is an archery medalist and member of the national team. One day, an unidentified mutant suddenly appears from the depths of the Han River and spreads panic and death, and Gang-du's daughter Hyun-seo is carried off by the monster and disappears. (Korea Times)

One of my flaws as a film buff has always been my love of the “Monster Movie” I was a little child when I saw my first Godzilla film and I have loved the monster film ever since. I have no real explanation why I like these monster films but I just do. I try and collect these types of films so I can just watch them and love them, as I did when I was 7 years old and watching them on a lazy Saturday afternoon.
So when I heard that Korea was going to release a monster film, I was quite happy about it. I had only seen one Korean monster movie in my past. It was called, “ Yongary, Monster from the Deep” It was not that great of film, but I liked it because it was a monster flick. My opinion changed fast when this came up on GI Korea Blog.

USFK Bashing Movie Set to Debut in Korea
The long awaited USFK bashing Korean movie, The Host is about to begin screening in Korea:

Now the industry pins its hopes on "The Host," which opens on July 27. The film has been screened to high praise at the Cannes Film Festival, increasing the expectations of Korean audiences but leaving the film with a lot to live up to.
The first private sneak preview on Tuesday did not disappoint. A mutant creature created by toxins secretly dumped into the Han River by the U.S. Forces Korea now haunts the waterways. The creature makes off with a young woman, whose rather ordinary family then engages in a mortal struggle to rescue her. In "The Host," the traditional fun of a monster flick coexists with a twisted sense of humor. Sometimes being pursued and sometimes pursuing, the protagonists¿ situation is much the same as in every other creature movie. The film also borrows some tricks from the horror genre, for instance a scene where the monster's "snack" has escaped into a small space leaving it snarling at the entrance. The special effects used to depict the comings and goings of the monster are an astounding technical accomplishment that proves what Chungmuro can do.

I wouldn't put to much credence in the fact that this movie received high praise at the Cannes Film Festival when any US military bashing movie would screen well at the Cannes Film Festival. I'm a big fan of Korean movies especially this directors former movie, Memories of Murder, but it definitely reprehensible that USFK gets blamed for polluting the Han River when Koreans do a great job polluting it themselves. The river flowing through Seoul is full of garbage and refuse though I do have to concede that it has gotten better in recent years. It is too bad that the movie had to turn to typical America bashing instead of focusing attention on the real problem which is Koreans polluting Korea.

When I read this, I stated thinking, “Ok here we go again!” I call this the “Korean Inferiority Movie Complex.” It’s a very simple statement in which, Korea blames everyone else for their problems, but themselves. I saw it a few weeks ago with the film, “Hanbando” blaming Japan and being totally very anti-Japanese. “Welcome To Dongmakgol” was very anti-Us Army and blames everybody for the Korea War, except North Korea. Then we have this crap from, “The Host.”

Then I received this from our friends at the Korea Times, in their movie review of “The Host”

More interestingly, as the story unfolds, it also tackles current-day controversial issues. In the film's prologue, a high-ranking U.S. officer oversees the illegal dumping of toxic chemicals into the Han River, and it is not only a hint to how the mutant is born but also a criticism of the real accident in 2000. In the film, American scientists claim the mutant is spreading a deadly virus, which turns out not to be true in the end, and it can also be seen as criticism on the U.S.'s false accusation that Iraq possessed biological weapons, a claim that the U.S. used in part to justify its invasion of Iraq.

To be honest, I was not surprised by this article, what they have reported to be truthful news and having to admit that they have made another mistake, time and time again. I decided not to write them. I knew that I had to see this film.

It was opening day and there was a huge crowd at 1030 AM. I then watched the first 3 minutes of the film and, for the first time since Fahrenheit 9/11, I damn near threw my popcorn and coke at the movie screen! To blame the US for this, I thought, was a joke! This was one very stupid incident that happened, I noticed that the director did not show any dumping done by any Korean Companies nor did he mention the fines that they got for it.

Typical anti USFK (United States Forces Korea) crap!

I did not say anything but I was very ticked off after this scene. The film then went to show a very lazy man, who had a very nice daughter. When he gave her a Cass Beer to dink, I was laughing out loud. It just looked too funny. Then we get our first look at the monster and then I was pleased by what the director did, He showed an American and a Korean both being the heroes. The American died but he died trying to save lives. I thought that was a very honorable death.

The film then goes into a typical monster movie plot, a big monster has carried of a little girl, the girl call and the family goes out to rescue her. I was thinking, OK only this 1 stupid scene involving anti US, well once again the inferiority complex kicked in.

Near the end, they claim that it’s a virus, which the American, states that it’s a false virus and they do brain surgery on the father of this little girl. I, once again, damn near threw my popcorn and coke at the movie screen. What they showed was that the US was doing A Nazi type medical experiment on an innocent man.

The film ends as most monster films do, it was sad and people that you liked in the film died. I just really thought, “What a great film this would have been if they would not have stood on their soap box and just went anti-USA.”

Now, believe it or not, I actually liked the film, For an 11 million budget, they did a great job on the monster and Hollywood could learn a few ideas on how to direct a summer blockbuster. (At the time of this review 6 million tickets have been sold so far and this film has the highest screen showing in Korean with it being shown at 620 screens.)The film will be shown in the USA and Magnolia Pictures will distribute the film with a fall 2006 release date.

If you want a good film to see then please see this one, As an American and as a Vet who helped to defend this land, the anti USA B.S. should have never been included and should not be believed at all cost. Take that out of the film and you have a great plot, a very believable cast and one hell of a scary monster.
There is already talk of an USA remake of this film. It should be a very interesting film, if it ever gets made.

Grade. A

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