Friday, April 6, 2012

Day 352 - The Host

The Host (2006) directed by Joon-ho Bong

The Host is a throwback to the old monster movies from the 1950's where a giant creature wrecks havoc on an unsuspecting populous. Rest assured, the creature is quite impressive, large, menacing, slithery and slimy. In fact it is one of the best designed creatures I've seen in a while. But like any good monster film, the focus of The Host isn't really on the creature but on a select group of people that tries to stop and/or survive it. In this case it is the Park family, a sort of disjointed family that is brought together when its pride and joy, teenage Hyun-seo, is taken by the beast. If anything, this is more of a family drama than a monster film. Indeed that is perhaps the film's greatest asset, having characters that we grow to understand and care about. Unfortunately it is part of its weakness as well, a sort of lethargic middle act where we don't see much of the monster or any action at all. But I give the film credit for being more than simply a monster mayhem movie. There is character, heart, and tenderness as well as monster mashing, horror, and comedy. Throw in a little political satire and you have a pretty well rounded movie, not just of the monster film genre.

The film has gotten plenty of praise from critics (92% on Rotten Tomatoes) but I found it more charming and amusing than anything. There are portions of the movie that are purposely campy which I didn't mind at all that some people have told me they hated about it. What I did mind was the sort of slow paced middle where nothing really seemed to be happening. And for as awesome as the monster looked, I didn't get to see nearly enough of it. In other words, it's right on the cusp of being pretty darn good but instead falls a little flat at pretty decent. Fans of the genre should be happy though.

Grade: B-

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