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The Host

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While watching this film, I was reminded of a few different films. It had the combining genres aspect of Shaun of the Dead, the social commentary of 28 Days Later, and the children in dire circumstances created by adults aspect of Grave of the Fireflies.

All that said, it is unlike anything I've ever seen. It knows when to take itself lightly and when seriously, all the while leaving us unsure as to what to feel.

4.5/5

Edited by Spoon

"I am quietly judging you" - Magnolia

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I'm so glad that this thread has started. I caught The Host in Toronto last year and absolutely loved it (my review).

It's a pitch-perfect blend of genres -- horror, sci-fi, action/adventure, family drama, suspense, social commentary. In that regard, it reminded me a lot of Save The Green Planet, another South Korean film that does a masterful job of blending disparate genres without sacrificing characters, plot, or nuance.

A few more links...

- The North American trailer

- The North American website


"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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I think I'll be picking up a Korean copy of this, based on the strength of the director's previous work (Memories of Murder) and the fairly cool trailer... despite English dubbing.

I'm pretty soft when it comes to horror-ish flicks, though... hopefully I'll be able to sleep the night after I watch it.

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I'm pretty soft when it comes to horror-ish flicks, though... hopefully I'll be able to sleep the night after I watch it.

To be honest, I think the horror elements are overemphasized by folks. There are definitely some fine "jump out of your seat" moments, but the film so quickly shifts moods -- in a good way -- that I don't remember thinking it was all that disturbing or frightening.


"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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Finally caught this last night.

While I liked it, I think I was a little let down in its horror elements. A CGI monster is simply not scary, not the same way that a broken-down animatronic shark (Jaws) or other-being (Alien) is scary. The jumps came about thru masterful mis-direction.

I also thought that

the "death and resurrection" elements of the brothers and sister

were a little bit too much. That the central father figure

undergoes a lobotomy

and then comes out the better for it, to me, just did not work.

But I did like the daughter... she has a natural charisma that served the story well. When this film is remade in Hollywood, would this be a Dakota Fanning role?


Nick Alexander

Keynote, Worship Leader, Comedian, Parodyist

Host of the Prayer Meeting Podcast - your virtual worship oasis. (Subscribe)

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While I liked it, I think I was a little let down in its horror elements. A CGI monster is simply not scary, not the same way that a broken-down animatronic shark (Jaws) or other-being (Alien) is scary. The jumps came about thru masterful mis-direction.

That why I said earlier that I think some folks have puffed up the horror aspect of the film a bit too much. There aren't any really terrifying, dread-inducing moments in the film, just some good "jump in your seat" shocks that you quickly laugh off.


"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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BTW, did

the father really have a lobotomy

? I thought

he woke up and was able to escape before anything actually happened to him

. Then again, it's been awhile since I've seen the film, so my memory might be a little rusty.


"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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BTW, did

the father really have a lobotomy

? I thought

he woke up and was able to escape before anything actually happened to him

. Then again, it's been awhile since I've seen the film, so my memory might be a little rusty.

Note: This post is spoiler free, AND gross-out free.

Well, there WAS some

surgery

that took place. One of the best shots of the film was with

the father on the operating table, looking up, with the doctors prepping for some sort of surgery, and with a small drill

off to the side. A short time later, it appears that

the drill DID make contact

, as he had appeared

with a very visible scar on his head.

Now, whether that was a

lobotomy

or not, I dunno. I seem to recall the Jessica Lange movie,

"Frances",

where some characters discussed giving her a

lobotomy

, and that the

operation

used these long

incisers from under her eyelids, and not from a drill

.

Perhaps it was a

botched job

on their part. Needless to say, that was his turning point in the film... perhaps the

surgery

cured him of his

narcolepsy and ineptitude...


Nick Alexander

Keynote, Worship Leader, Comedian, Parodyist

Host of the Prayer Meeting Podcast - your virtual worship oasis. (Subscribe)

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Interesting. I'll try to keep my eyes peeled for those details when I see the film again in a few weeks.


"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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I saw this tonight. It was alright, but I was expecting a stronger film. I didn't really find any serious jump moments, myself... perhaps I was just expecting them. I've seen it compared to Cruise's War of the Worlds, which at the moment I'm feeling was a better film than The Host.

The best moment in the film for me:

The girl jumping off the monster in an attempt to escape, only to be caught by the thing's tentacle.

The tension in that scene was right on target. I was a bit disappointed with the end. The quality and believability of the CG took a big drop with

the monster being engulfed in flame

, and I thought the

eventual death of the daughter and subsequent child-trading

was a bit of a sour note.

The dad was a pretty good character too, it's a shame he had to die so early in the film... but at least that scene felt like it actually belonged in the movie.

Kim Ki-Duk apparently got into a good bit of media trouble in Korea for his public statements about this film, calling it "the apex where the level of Korean movies meets the level of Korean audiences; it is both positive and negative.” I'm not sure how Bong Joon-ho's previous film Memories of Murder was received in Korea... that film was phenominal. But the stuff I've heard of that's broken financial records in Korea... Friend, Sil-mi-do, Taegukgi, and I guess now The Host have all been good films, but not excellent films. Maybe Ki-Duk is on to something.

I can't offer any clarification on the

lobotomy

points myself. The movie was slightly ambiguous as to what actually happened. I assumed some sort of

tissue sample was taken

.

Edited by theoddone33

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Just got back from a second viewing, and both my wife and I liked it as much the second time around. This time, since I knew all (or at least, most) of the shocks that were coming, I could settle back and focus on other aspects of the film.

One thing that escaped me the first time was just how great the child actor playing the daughter was, and how great her character was (I was reminded on more than one occasion of Ofelia from Pan's Labyrinth). When we first meet her, she's something of a brat, but she quickly matures

once the other kid arrives on the scene and she has to start caring for him in the sewer

. I think one of my favorite scenes in the movie is towards the end,

as the father pulls his daughter out of the beastie's gullet, and she's still holding tightly onto the little boy

. Not sure why, exactly, but maybe it's the

protective and sacrificial nature of that image

.

Also, I love the grandfather character, and how he's the glue holding the family together for much of the time. In fact, that's probably what I love the most about the movie -- how it gives all of the characters "hero" moments and refuses to let them fall into simple types.

As for the

lobotomy

, I think I'm with theoddone33; it's somewhat ambiguous, but I think it was more of a

tissue sample

as well.


"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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It's a pitch-perfect blend of genres -- horror, sci-fi, action/adventure, family drama, suspense, social commentary. In that regard, it reminded me a lot of Save The Green Planet, another South Korean film that does a masterful job of blending disparate genres without sacrificing characters, plot, or nuance.

I agree about it being a "pitch-perfect blend of genres", but you missed out comedy - "The Host" is very, very funny. This was my favourite from last year's sci-fi/horror/fantasy crop. I far preferred it to the hugely overrated "Pan's Labyrinth".

Do I need to seek out "Save The Green Planet"?

Edited by The Invisible Man

We are part of the generation in which the image has triumphed over the word, when the visual is dominant over the verbal and where entertainment drowns out exposition. We may go so far as to claim that we live in an age of the image which is also the age of anti-word and potentially is the age of the lie. ~ Os Guiness

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17)

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As for the

lobotomy

, I think I'm with theoddone33; it's somewhat ambiguous, but I think it was more of a

tissue sample

as well.

Yes, tissue sample (at least, that's how it seems on the subtitled DVD from Optimum Asia). The American scientist claims that the virus is in the man's frontal lobe and it is the virus that they are searching for (they also take tissue samples from other parts of his body).


We are part of the generation in which the image has triumphed over the word, when the visual is dominant over the verbal and where entertainment drowns out exposition. We may go so far as to claim that we live in an age of the image which is also the age of anti-word and potentially is the age of the lie. ~ Os Guiness

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17)

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Update: The doctors are DEFINITELY taking a tissue sample and not performing a lobotomy. I know this because one of the film's writers discusses this scene on the DVD extras (which I only just got around to watching today).


We are part of the generation in which the image has triumphed over the word, when the visual is dominant over the verbal and where entertainment drowns out exposition. We may go so far as to claim that we live in an age of the image which is also the age of anti-word and potentially is the age of the lie. ~ Os Guiness

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17)

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It's showing here in Morgantown, WV at the Warner Theatre. ::thumbsup:: I'm going to try to see it Tuesday or Wednesday evening.

Edited by MrZoom

Edward Curtis

Morgantown, WV

Hold the physician in honor, for he is essential to you, and God it was who created his profession. Sirach 38:1 NAB

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So glad to see some others who like the movie too! So far, this is by far my favorite movie that I've seen in theatres in 2007. Head and shoulders above the rest.

Two points I want to comment on that others brought up.

Scares: I really appreciated that the film did not depend upon "jump" scares. The terror came from the gradual realization of the true gravity of the situation, or from the response of the "authorities." My heart was racing in more than a few scenes, not because of cheesy music or editing, but because of the long takes that drew out the suspense.

Lobotomy

: I think that it is supposed to be unclear what happens, just so the pay-off is all the

more bizarre and hilarious

.

Oh, and having been stationed in Korea with the military, I absolutly love the way that the Americans were portrayed. It was almost exactly the viewpoint that I got from the Koreans who I talked with: Americans are aloof, out of touch, but always trying to control everything.

Edited by Bobbin Threadbare

owlgod.blogspot.com - My thoughts on all kinds of media

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Do I need to seek out "Save The Green Planet"?

Save The Green Planet is one of my favorite South Korean movies. It's a little more "out there" than The Host, as well as a bit more graphic and intense in some places. Definitely falls within the "cult film" realm. FWIW, here's my review -- hope it's helpful.


"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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Oh, and having been stationed in Korea with the military, I absolutly love the way that the Americans were portrayed. It was almost exactly the viewpoint that I got from the Koreans who I talked with: Americans are aloof, out of touch, but always trying to control everything.

I liked the "Seargant Donald" character, though his time in the movie is short.

When his Korean girlfriend tells him to stay away from the monster, he responds "I have to help, people need me!" and end up paying with his life. The interplay between him and the main Korean actor in that scene was beautiful... bravery and self-sacrifice from everyone. Humans helping each other out at great personal risk just because they feel they should... one of the highlights of the movie for me, and a very revealing moment in a film that is otherwise fairly insulting to the Korean character. (I forget the names.)

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Scares: I really appreciated that the film did not depend upon "jump" scares. The terror came from the gradual realization of the true gravity of the situation, or from the response of the "authorities." My heart was racing in more than a few scenes, not because of cheesy music or editing, but because of the long takes that drew out the suspense.

I mentioned something about this in the Memories of Murder thread as well. That movie was very very intense, and done pretty much the same way. The scary parts were not "jump" moments, but more of a drawn out kind of suspense. I still regard it as one of the best movies in the genre... and it seems that The Host is getting similar praise out there, even though I didn't like it as much.

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I liked the "Seargant Donald" character, though his time in the movie is short.

When his Korean girlfriend tells him to stay away from the monster, he responds "I have to help, people need me!" and end up paying with his life. The interplay between him and the main Korean actor in that scene was beautiful... bravery and self-sacrifice from everyone. Humans helping each other out at great personal risk just because they feel they should... one of the highlights of the movie for me, and a very revealing moment in a film that is otherwise fairly insulting to the Korean character. (I forget the names.)

Ditto.


"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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Do I need to seek out "Save The Green Planet"?

Save The Green Planet is one of my favorite South Korean movies. It's a little more "out there" than The Host, as well as a bit more graphic and intense in some places. Definitely falls within the "cult film" realm. FWIW, here's my review -- hope it's helpful.

Thank you. I found your review helpful and have ordered the DVD (it is currently on special at HMV).

Edited by The Invisible Man

We are part of the generation in which the image has triumphed over the word, when the visual is dominant over the verbal and where entertainment drowns out exposition. We may go so far as to claim that we live in an age of the image which is also the age of anti-word and potentially is the age of the lie. ~ Os Guiness

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17)

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Liked it a lot.

Especially loved the moment early-on when the monster swings down abruptly into the frame, because it caused the woman in front of me to SHRIEK, LEAP onto her boyfriend, and THROW HER BEVERAGE INTO HIS FACE, completely soaking him!

The poor guy was mopping up for the next five minutes, while those of us lucky enough to see it happen tried to stop laughing.

Now that's what I call a scary movie!!

The movie has so many memorable moments... from the hilarity of the "mourning the dead" scene (yes, I said "the hilarity" of "mourning"), to the "wait for the noodles to cook" moment, to that extraordinarily horrifying moment when

the two children make a mad dash for the hole in the wall while the monster makes it lunge

...

The "blame all the world's ills on America" became tiresome very quickly, and some of the effects... especially

death by fire

... were disappointing. But overall, a fantastic late-night viewing at Seattle's genuine, sticky-floored, cheap-seat theater.


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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The "blame all the world's ills on America" became tiresome very quickly, and some of the effects... especially

death by fire

... were disappointing. But overall, a fantastic late-night viewing at Seattle's genuine, sticky-floored, cheap-seat theater.

The movie does become a little "preachy" at times (J. Robert Parks touches on that in his excellent review) -- though FWIW, I think that Bong Joon-Ho is less critical of Americans than he is of authority in general. The Americans might be a little bossy, but at least they're doing something, as opposed to the Korean authorities which are depicted as bumbling, ineffectual, and clumsy (literally).

As for the special effects, they were a little lackluster. But I think that just added to the cheesy "B-movie" appeal for me.

The mourning scene is a favorite of mine, too, and the shifts in tone are pulled off so well without actually undermining the severity of the situation.


"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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The "blame all the world's ills on America" became tiresome very quickly.

If you think that "The Host" has it in for the USA, you are going to love "28 Weeks Later" ;) (I haven't seen it yet, I hasten to add, but the word "Iraq" keeps popping up in the early reviews).

The mourning scene is a favorite of mine, too, and the shifts in tone are pulled off so well without actually undermining the severity of the situation.

"Memories of Murder", which is a masterpiece in my opinion, pulls off a similar trick. We laugh one moment and are chilled to the bone the next. Some of those rainy scenes of lonely deaths are heartbreaking.


We are part of the generation in which the image has triumphed over the word, when the visual is dominant over the verbal and where entertainment drowns out exposition. We may go so far as to claim that we live in an age of the image which is also the age of anti-word and potentially is the age of the lie. ~ Os Guiness

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17)

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I saw a preview for 28 Weeks Later last night, and I shifted from "Why did they have to make a sequel?" to "I can't wait to see this sequel!"


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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