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"The Host" has a lot of hype - CinemaDave

Mar. 27th, 2007 08:11 pm "The Host" has a lot of hype

Arlene Garcia, Michael "DeVitto" Kelley and I are
doing our best to keep the spirit of Creature Feature alive in
Broward culture. DeVitto is a talented artist with a
love of classic monster movies like "Godzilla" and
"Jaws." Arlene produced Broward County Library's
First Animae Convention. This summer
the three of us will be producing a science fiction
monster double feature featuring "Them" starring James
Arness and "The Blob" starring Steve McQueen. The
three of us were thrilled to go to a special screening
of "The Host," a film which had a positive rating of
95/100 on Rotten Tomatoes.com

"The Host(or Gwoemul**)is a Korean/Japanese
co production about a giant monster that crawls out of
the Han River in South Korea. The trailer revealed
some great visual shots of a rampaging beast
disrupting people picnicking on the shore of the river.
The trailer also presented some slapstick involving
authoritative scientists and a family in peril. "The
Host" had all the makings of a fun Saturday
matinee serial with modern technology.

Unfortunately director and co writer Joon-ho Bong has
created a disparate motion picture that does not know
if it wants to be a political fable, a family drama or
a goofy cartoon. The nameless monster from the Han
River was created by American Scientists who dumped
chemicals into the river. When the monster attacks
Korea, those mean Americans scientists
determine that monster is the host organism of a
killer virus. Therefore anybody in contact with the
monster could be affected.

Of course, one dysfunctional family comes into contact
with the monster when a 7th grade girl is abducted by
the creature. The girl's father has some mental health
issues. The grandfather runs a small business while
his daughter is a championship archer who chokes under
pressure. Family values supersede government theory
when the family escapes quarantine to hunt down the beast
by the bank.

"The Host" works best when the monster makes his
entrance. The crowd exhibits stupid behavior that
leads to their doom. Selfish people get their
comeuppance and some victims find grace in those
moments. The creature itself is an athletic and spry mutant that runs like a bull with the flexibility of a frog. Unlike "King Kong," "Godzilla" or the "Frankenstein Monster," this creature lacks pathos or charisma.

Had "The Host" stayed focused as a giant monster entertainment, the film would have been a great success. Unfortunately the superficial politics and science contradicts the films intentions with subtle digs to American Culture. Apparently this film is a favorite of the Cannes Film Festival and "The Host" has won rave reviews from Kim Jong-il's North Korea, a rare event between the two Koreans.

There is a key moment in the climax
that takes the viewer so far out of the movie, that
one leaves "The Host" with a hallow feeling.
Grief is explored in a mocking way. There is a fine line between comedy and tragedy and "The Host" fell off this tightrope.

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