September 15, 2006

South Korean Blockbuster The Host

Just watched the South Korean blockbuster The Host (Goemul),- the movie that is currently the highest grossing movie in South Korea of all time with 12.3 million tickets sold in South Korea alone.

Its a really exciting film that brings to mind other monster movies like Jaws and Godzilla, especially in the opening scences when we see the beachgoers running frantically away from the horrific river monster that suddenly appears on the banks of the Han River.

But The Host is not a normal Hollywood style monster movie, as the movie progresses, you realise that the director (Bong Joon-ho) is not trying to convey a simple story of how an ordinary family overcome tremendous odds to rescue a little girl captured by the monster... in fact the movie is a satire on the selfishness of ordinary people and the inefficiencies and gross corruption of the authorities during emergency situations. Besides the captured girl's immediate family, everyone else in the movie behaved in a most deplorable manner...

Telling examples include the scenes when bystanders (or reporters?) start snapping pictures of the family grieving for the little girl at the mass funeral or the scences when the ex-classmates of the uncle of the little girl try to capture him to collect the bounty that the authorities have placed on the family.

But, the human-like fobiles of the family's heroic attempts to save the girl brings a tear to my eyes... and provide an added dose of realism to the film, as the protagonists do not suddenly turn into superheroes when faced with danger... unlike Hollywood movies of the same ilk.

However, some parts of the movie were not explained at all, like why in the world is the mutant monster bringing human beings to its sewer lair? Why doesn't it just gobble them up? Is it in fact lonely for company or it is a one-monster cleaning crew trying to clean the river of the pollutants in the river, of which humans are a part?

Check out the great trailer from Youtube:

[Picture from]

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