Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Movie You Should See: The Host

This movie came out in 2006. Since then, I have tried to recommend it to as many people as possible, but a lot of you don't quite believe that it could be as awesome as I say it is. Well it is! I understand the hesitation, however, because it's a hard movie to describe. The only real way to describe it is as a Korean monster movie, and while this is an accurate description, it doesn't really do the movie justice. The movie focuses on a family. The patriarch is an old man who runs a snack shack on the shores of the Han River. He has three adult children, his daughter is a champion archer, one son is an alcoholic University graduate (that's pretty much all you get there) and another son is somewhat of a simpleton who lives with his father. This simpleton has a daughter. It is pretty obvious early on that he is absolutely devoted to her, though he has a hard time showing it. In fact the whole family is devoted to her, and it seems as though she is the glue that keeps this otherwise dysfunctional family together. Then some slimy gross monster crawls out of the Han River and steals her away.
No, it's not Ke$ha...

I'm not really spoiling anything for you as this happens pretty early and is mentioned in every synopsis. The scene where the monster emerges from the river is fantastic. Actually, pretty much every scene with the monster is fantastic. The special effects here are great in a way that you tend to forget that there are special effects at all. You can tell a lot of thought was put into how this amphibious mutation would move and interact with the humans it's stealing. It stumbles and slips when it's on land so it gets creative. I was impressed with how the monster was presented throughout the movie. There wasn't a slow build up to a showy reveal, it was just another character in a great story.
See? He fits right in!

As I said though, the focus is really on the family trying to find their missing child. Each character goes through personal growth, but it all seems pretty organic. The simpleton son is the one who grows most of all, driven almost insane by his desire to find his daughter being hindered by his inability to articulate it. The climax of his growth does seem a little forced (literally) but by this time you just want to see something good happen to him.
The acting in this movie is top notch. All of the actors are foreign (get it?) to me, but you can check them out here. There is an element of comedy throughout the movie that could seem corny in a movie like this but is pulled off do to the skill and interactions of the actors.
In conclusion, I absolutely love this movie. It has something for everybody. There's a rampaging monster, mean polluting Americans (yep! it's our fault!), government cover ups, personal growth, comedy, tragedy and fried squid!
I can't recommend this movie enough. I give it an A+. Watch it!

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