Sunday, March 11, 2007

Movie: The Host (U.S. 2007)

Here’s what I want to say: “It’s a monster movie! Go already!”

But I realize that the phrase “monster movie” may not carry the same magical charge for you that it does for me. (Although let’s be honest: if it doesn’t, what are you doing here?)

Besides, The Host is more than a monster movie. Don’t get me wrong. There’s a monster in it and what a beast it is, a mutant sea creature at once hideous and graceful, looking strangely at home beneath the bridges than span Seoul’s Han River. Yes, it goes on a rampage. Several, in fact. And more importantly, yes, it stomps things.

The movie is also a shrewd family comedy – there’s a scene involving an escape in a van that brought to mind Little Miss Sunshine – and a sharp satire of paranoia. Director Bong Joon-ho has worked similar cross-genre magic before. His 2003 film Memories of Murder, a true-life tale about the years-long hunt for a serial killer that devolves into obsession, makes a striking companion piece to Zodiac.

Americans aren’t the villains of The Host, but we come close. It’s always interesting to see how we’re perceived elsewhere in the world. (Briefly: in charge and kinda stupid.) Plus there’s an additional contrast. The Host has storytelling stones that you won’t find in a U.S. film. Nothing goes the way you’d expect, so hang on for the ride.

Speaking of monster movies, I happened to catch the original version of The Blob again yesterday. Chuckle over it all you want, but that movie still scares the bejesus out of me. Must be that scene in the theater.

Miscellaneous: Link

I love this poster.