Friday, 7 March 2014

Review: The Host (Gwoemul) (2006)

The Host
IMDb rate: 7,0
Genre: Monster

This time I gave my boyfriend the opportunity to choose a movie we would watch, and well.. this is quite rare ;). He is a big fan of Asian movies, me... not so much. But well, I'd had to give it a go and we went for The Host. 

The film revolves around Park Hee-bong, a man in his late 60s. He runs a small snack bar on the banks of the Han River and lives with his two sons, one daughter, and one gtanddaughter. The Parks seem to lead a quite ordinary and peaceful life, but maybe they are a bit poorer than the average Seoulite. Hee-bong's elder son Gang-du is an immature and incompetent man in his 40s, whose wife left home long ago. Nam-il is the youngest son, an unemployed grumbler, and daughter Nam-joo is an archery medalist and member of the national team. One day, an unidentified monster 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. All of the family members are in a great agony because they lost someone very dear to them. But when they find out she is still alive, they resolve to save her.

The movie started off quite interesting actually. We see an American doctor (played by Scott Wilson, who is also Hershel from The Walking Dead) who tosses all kinds of chemicals in the river. So that's the quick explanation of how to monster was 'created'. After that we follow the family and their happenings, and still it isn't bad. The CGI looks amazing! The monster looks very real and we actually get a fairly good look at it right at the beginning. I mention this because almost all movies with some CGI monster in it shows it's monster in the very end, to make it some sort of mystery. This one didn't and I like it that way because we actually know what the freaking thing looks like.

But then things started getting bad. I am convinced that this family is the dumbest family ever. Beware, there are going to be a few spoilers here, since I just have to describe this family. 
They are doing all their rescue actions, and the archery girl has the opportunity to shoot the monster a few times, and every time she is too slow. Also, when she's finally near the girl she falls in a hole. Then there the youngest brother, he finally figured out where the girl is and he is the only one (at that moment) who can save her, but then he jumps over some fence and almost kills himself. Anyway, he's not able to do anything anymore, but he did text the number to the other ones, so that's a good thing. Then there is the father of the little girl, perhaps the dumbest guy alive. Tries to escape a few times, but seems to forget time after time that he dyed his hair blonde, and is the only blonde Korean guy around so not very hard to find. Then he finally reaches the part where the girl used to be, but well... he is too late. He did manage to save a boy though, but that wasn't really the point of the movie. 

The acting is fairly good, the special effects look incredible and the storyline is quite reasonable. But why is this family so incredibly stupid?! Really, their characters are seriously the worst ones ever written, and I personally think that's what messed up this movie.

I also don't quite understand why the monster didn't eat her in the first place, why save a few? Also, it's very unlikely that the girl survived it that long, since the monster swam for at least 5 minutes under water with her.

The movie also seems to be some sort of judgement against America. All the Americans are doing stupid actions with no real reasons behind it, such as keeping people in quarantine even though it's already clear that nothing happens with people who touched the monster.

The Host really missed it's chance I think. There's obviously a lot of time in creating the monster, and it really worked out well. The rest of the movie... it's just lame and quite boring. The characters are written terribly and the storyline isn't much interesting either. Also, never put slow motion in a movie. Just a big no, it's very rare that that works out good.

My personal rate: 4,5/10

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