Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Host

What makes a good monster film? A menacing monster, scary encounters with the monster, bumbling authorities, a group of misfits with whom we can identify to do battle with the monster (when they aren’t fighting each other or battling the authorities), some funny bits to relieve the tension in between action scenes, a damsel in distress and finishing with a climactic action scene.

The Host ticks all these boxes with style.

The monster looks like a beached whale when sleeping, but with its big mouth gaping as it bounds along the river bank and its prehensile tail grasping victims as it goes, its a different story! And you’ve got to love those swan dives.

The protagonists are a dysfunctional family centred around a river side snack seller, his dozy son and grand daughter who quickly becomes the damsel in distress. Joining them are an alcoholic son and a flawed athlete daughter. The adults form a bumbling rescue squad and comedy routine.

Being a South Korean film we get two sets of authorities for the price of one. In the foreground over reacting but behind the 8 ball are the South Korean police and other government officials. And hovering behind them the menacing, uncaring and all powerful U.S. authorities. Who of course are also responsible for kicking the whole thing off in the first place.

This film unashamedly borrows from lots of great monster films. There are political and ecological digs that owe more to Godzilla than Alien. The monster itself owes it pedigree to both Jurassic Park and Alien. The girl is a, well a normal teenager. I could go on but it is not necessary, ‘The Host’ is great film and you should grab your favourite squeeze and go and see it at a cinema with a really good sound system.

Ian’s Rating: 5/5

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