Thursday, December 28, 2006

movie review: The Host (Gwoemul )

Official Site:

The Host: This latest Korean monster flick is one of the most anticipated movies in my list in 2006; and, it didn’t let me down, it lived up to my expectation.

When I first saw the trailer on cinema, I knew it should be something. (Though I didn’t understand a single word they speak of).

Official synopsis is available here.

I just realized that I have watched 3 movies in a short span of 4 days: Eragon (22/12/2006), Curse of the Golden Flower (24/12/2006) and The Host (25/12/2006). All in three different languages, three different genre! And, I enjoyed myself the most watching The Host.

The Host is about a monster who came out from nowhere (maybe they explained its origin but I missed out on the opening cos I was late for the movie) and started feeding on human (Koreans).

It is tailored as one of the classic monster flick, where monsters came out from nowhere, kill people, mankind lives in fear, monster dies, and everyone happy.

Nevertheless, the entertaining value is still there. The Host production team managed to get WETA Digital, who shot to fame with their success with LOTR Trilogy, to handle their special effects in the movie. The effort paid off pretty well. The team, who had hands in creation of Gollum and the fantasy realm in LOTR, created the creature in The Host. It was unbelievable. The creature was fugly, hideous and a true bad-ass. I can assure you that this is no second grade CG creature, but a truly five-star monster.

I'm kinda late for this write-up, thanks to my tight personal schedule of late, as well as the disruption over the Internet due to earthquake in Taiwan. So, I'll quote this from a user from to aid on my review.

Author: Hoban-W from Sydney, Australia

What else is there to say? The Host elicits every feeling, every sense of urgency, dread, sadness and happiness with ease. And somehow it manages to cram all of that into the first fifthteen minutes. After that it speeds along and doesn't let up. I was with it till the end, laughing when I was supposed to, crying, and even cheering. It is one of those rare films that blends all the respective genres into one with an almost scary simplicity. I shouldn't be surprised, it is from writer and director Joon Ho Bong whose last films the equally brilliant Memories of Murder and the excellent black comedy Barking Dogs Never Bite featured a similar feeling.

How does the man do it? Like with his other films particularly Memories of Murder he manages to break the conventions of the genre by frequently poking fun at the rather stale "monster" genre and by taking a fresh, appealing perspective. It's funny at all the right moments and even in moments when you feel you shouldn't be laughing you cant help but laugh. It's full of vibrantly realized characters, who each have their "moment" that make you laugh at the ridiculousness or gasp at the coolness. It is written with care and love, the pace never stagnates and the dialogue is never forced. The CG monster effects are nice and appropriately unrealistic in appearance. Perhaps too unconventional for American audiences but it really works in the context of the films rather serious yet quirky atmosphere. The acting is excellent, Kang Ho-Song continues to impress, star in the making Ah-sung Ko gives a very good first performance, and the rest of the cast give great performances. All managing the frequent dips into serious and comical and even both at the same time.

The Host is a brilliant, brilliant film. I'm so pleased I had the pleasure of seeing it at the cinemas, the way it deserves to be seen. Despite fitting into a rather common genre, The Host is an original. It is a unique and refreshing film, full of charming characters, awesome action sequences and even an emotional poignancy that weaves itself into the film at the most appropriate of times.

The Host is undoubtedly my favourite film of the year and one of the most entertaining films I have seen in recent years. If you like your films to be highly enjoyable, but also smart and even emotional, you will love what The Host has to offer.

I was rather impressed by the performance by the whole crew in The Host, particularly in the young lead actress, Ko Ah-sung. She plays as Park Hyun-seo, daughter of Park Kang-du, who was captured by the monster. Many believed she wouldn't have survived the monster's attack. She was declared deceased soon after. That broke hearts in her family - Grandpa, Father, Uncle and Aunt, until.. Kang-du, played by Song Kang-ho, received an unlikely call in the hospital.

I am getting carried off, anyways, I thought Ko Ah-sung's performance was pretty solid. She's only at a young age of 14. It was her debut film. Bright future ahead from this young lady.

The whole movie is well-blended with humor, tense, thriller, sadness and joy. Overall, it's a good movie to watch. Great entertainment. You'll feel your heart out after watching the movie. Since by the time this review is posted, the movie may not be showing in your local cinemas anymore. I recommend bootleg DVD for this movie. Grab a copy and enjoy it in your home theater system.

" End Note: I beg for your pardon, as this review is not so nicely written. I haven't got that much time to really write a proper review these days. I haven't even been updating a2blog properly either. Sorry. "

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