Movie Review: The Host
The Host (aka Gwoemul in Korean) was released in South Korea on July 26, 2007 and became the highest grossing movie in South Korea selling 13,019,740 tickets. Just like Godzilla is a metaphor for the nuclear tests on the bikini atoll, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, etc., The Host is inspired by true events such as the dumping of formaldehyde into the Han River, the "Agent Orange" chemical, and satire on violent college protesters. Because of the movie's themes was seen as being critical to the United States, the movie was even praised by North Korea, which is a rarity for South Korea.
The Host is about Park Gang-Du looking for his daughter, Hyun-seo, after she was taken during a gruesome monster attack. The monster captures people, takes them back to the sewer, and saves them for later to feed on and Hyun-seo tries to find a way to escape the sewer. During the time Gang-Du and the rest of the Park family are searching for her, they are also being hunted by the military who are trying to quarantine them because of a virus, which was being blamed on the monster. The story had it's good moments, bad moments, and odd moments, but I could not get into the story that much because of the bad acting in both Korean and English versions. The story and acting also hurts the characters as well as that I could not care much for them other than Hyun-seo. Sometimes the acting is good, but other times there are scenes that made me wonder why that scene was there in the first place and does not really quite fit.
The monster looks very original in design. It doesn't look like a Godzilla-esque creature and it isn't some space monster. It looks more like a giant tadpole with arms. The monster is not as big as a skyscraper and it doesn't have any flammable breathe, but it is terrifying in other aspects such as having a taste for humans. The first time you see the monster, it chases people down the Han River and goes on a feeding frenzy. It is aggressive, it is agile, limber, and amphibious. This is a monster that nobody should ever want to cross paths with.
The movie is more or less a mixed bag. I did like the film and despite the points I made, it is a well made South Korean monster movie. The film has some good moments, but not anything spectacular that is worth the praise that it gets. I say rent it if it is on Netflix or Hulu.