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 Gwoemul [The Host] 

What grade would you give this film?
A 33%  33%  [ 6 ]
B 39%  39%  [ 7 ]
C 17%  17%  [ 3 ]
D 11%  11%  [ 2 ]
F 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 18

 Gwoemul [The Host] 
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Post Gwoemul [The Host]
The Host

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The Host (괴물, Gwoemul - "Monster") is a 2006 South Korean monster film, which also contains elements of comedy and drama films. The film was directed by Bong Joon-ho, who co-wrote the screenplay, along with Baek Chul-hyun.

Starring in the film as members of an unremarkable family thrust into the middle of extraordinary events were Song Kang-ho, Byeon Hee-bong, Park Hae-il, Bae Doona and Ko Ah-seong. A combination of blockbuster plot and political commentary, the film also deals with the implications of America's military presence in Korea.

Following the success of the director's work, Memories of Murder, The Host was heavily anticipated. It was released on a record number of screens in its home country on July 27, 2006. By the end of its run on November 8, the film was seen 13 million times, making it the highest grossing South Korean film of all time. The film was released on a limited basis in the United States on March 9, 2007, and on DVD, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD formats on July 24, 2007. It won several awards including Best Film at the Asian Film Awards and at the Blue Dragon Film Awards.


Thu Jan 11, 2007 11:19 am
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Jordan Mugen-Honda
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The Host

So the most successful film in South Korean history is a creature feature heh! I guess no matter where you go the public appetite of CGI will always be strong. But this definitely isn't a slice from the hollywood plate the force is bizarre with this one.

The basic ingredients seem pretty standard. OTT evil American Army moritican tells his week Korean assistant to dump toxic formaldehyde down the drain and into the River Han, meek assistant complies and we get two quick scenes impling a nasty scaley critter has been spawned from the liquid and is now staking the river Han. Yup we know that this demands a standard rampage scene, an you'd be right.

But I'm getting ahead of myself here we must set-up the main support players which in this instance is a family consisting of an Archery champion, drunk University graduate, grocery stand owning father and simple but well meaning son and his daughter. All different all interesting in their own way indeed one thing you can always guarantee with these asian movies is there won't be cardboard cutouts.

But I doubt anybody will be going into this looking for deep character development they'll be enticed by those monster pictures. And the initial reveal of the creature truly delivers on all fronts. The creature itself is a very impressive acheivement when you consider the budget was quoted at only $12 million. Sure it isn't cutting edge hollywood but it does have a nice look about it, with skin like a greased up Gollum and all the requisite fish/mutant/lizard bodyparts on display. But its the creatures movement thats a real acheivement. the animators have crafted a creature that glides thru the scenes like a high speed swimmer and no CGI beastie looks better barreling down on the camera indeed there are many hollywood effects that aren't half as convincing because this one truly feels part of every scene its in and not some post-production extra. Its opening appearance where it rampages thru crowds of terrified bystanders in the parks by the edge of the River Han is easily the film highlight, in way its a hindrance because you're left want more, much more but nothing afterwards quite matches it.

The one aspect of this movie which is far harder to pin down is the tone. Put quite simply its about as even as a mental patient without its meds. its veers from horror to saddness to contimplation to absurdist humour without any real warning. Its like listening to a System of a Down song and its just as likely to give to motion sickness. I mean I didn't know what to think when in one scene the mood goes from saddness (mourning from the death of one of the creatures victims) to absolutely barmy Wicker Man levels of funny (lets just say the mourning goes a bit overboard). Maybe being a Westerner means one finds these shifts to be frankly wacky but damnit I can't say it sits well with me. Still its does provide a freaky cameo with a crosseyed ghostfaced american doctor so I suppose I can't complain to much.

The movies running time tends to count against it as well, at a little under 2 hours parts of it feel strained as if the director is just putting extra obsticules in front of the family members just so he can delay the final showdown (which evokes the South Korean demonstrations of the 80s in large measure). The final showdown thou is done pretty well a mixture of slo-mo smoke fire and arrows and the final denouncement feels rather refreshing compared to the usual hollywood cop-out.

A creature feature that doesn't have an amatuer smear The Host isn't perfect but it delivers its poster promise.

B

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Thu Jan 11, 2007 1:04 pm
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B


After all the huge hype, I was let down. It is definitely not a simple creature feature. There is only one really good scene of the creature "in action" and that is the opening attack which is intense. After that it is mostly a family drama with some political implications and a huge monster thrown in. The movie is just WAY too unsure about what it actually tries to achieve and that prevents it from being great. Separate bits and pieces are great. The creature is well-animated, the acting is quite superb, the suspense is there...it is just that it all doesn't fit together very well and the finale was a bit stupid to me, though I'm happy they didn't go for the typical happy ending scenario.

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Thu Feb 01, 2007 10:05 pm
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If it was only the second best horror film genre splicing I saw tonight, it was also one of the best that I've seen in a loong time. I heard someone say it's an Asian Little Miss Sunshine meets Jaws with a dash of cynicsm thrown in, and I think that's fitting. I really want to see it again.


Tue Mar 20, 2007 5:51 am
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This movie was so fun and entertaining. I had an absolute blast watching it. The characters were awesome and I loved the creative blend of comedy and horror that was present throughout. B+


Thu Mar 22, 2007 5:43 pm
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Yow!

These freakin' Korean horror movies are just plain weirdin' me out, man!!!

What kind of wild cultural psychology is terrorizing this nation's dreams? It's not just a slimy monster, it's a family mulching slimy bastardly monster. Or is it the most tragic case of Stockholm Syndrome ever recorded? Or is the most comic example of funror? Who the fuck knows?!? These Korean movies are just gettin' too darn centric for me to fully grok anymore. Like I said at the start -- Yow!

3 out of 5.


Thu Apr 05, 2007 12:37 am
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Last edited by snack on Sun Aug 29, 2010 1:36 am, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Jun 18, 2007 8:01 pm
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..


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Mon Jun 18, 2007 8:04 pm
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Films that try to make me jump are getting pretty old. Worse still are films that make me jump over nothing (a sudden cut or a loud *crash*!) and then laugh at me by presenting, say, a cute-looking cat or a pile of smashed plates. This is the bum legacy of the "bus" scene in Cat People, which opened the floodgates for (apparently) sixty-five years of cheap shots from lousy horror directors. The genre has descended to the point where the director might as well cut out the middleman (i.e., the movie), sit me down, and crank a jack-in-the-box four or five times in front of my face. Most of the time it's Jack, but other times - hello! - it's a custard pie. Cheers. Cinematic gold, I don't think.

The Host plays a different game, and plays it well. The first time you see the monster is typically refreshing: it dangles in full view from a bridge, drops lazily into the water, and then casually starts to kill people in broad daylight. Jaws was a great film, but 32 years later I needed something new and here it is. Boon Joon-ho never tries to shock you, and by cutting out the cheap surprises, he makes room for some newer, more novel ones: the black humour, the touching character work, the bittersweet end, and at least one stunning shot of the Han River, which wouldn't look out of place in a film with the loftier (essentially more boring) aspirations of something Suzhou River.

Other highlights include Gang-du's touching ineptness ("I'm saving up to buy you a phone" - moments like that give the end real power) and Nam-il's regression from drunk bitter graduate to one-man student protest (which really means something over there - he didn't learn to make those petrol bombs online). I also liked the eventual, eerily near-silent release of the Agent Yellow. POFF! It ends not with a bang but with a whimper - yet more proof, if any was needed, that Boon Joon-ho wasn't painting by numbers when he made The Host.

If I had to pick something that I didn't like, or at least had mixed feelings about, I would say that, while I loved the humour, some of it bordered a little too much on Dr Strangelove-style, the-world's-gone-crazy sort of stuff. I laughed at all of it ("He's been anaesthetised... how ridiculous to be making such a fuss") but sometimes felt like I was channel surfing between two good but essentially quite different films. Slipping between English and Korean with subtitles widened the gulf (or was the schizoid nature part of the charm? - I'll have to watch it again). Neither did I like the monster's mouth. But these are very small complaints: my main message is that, off the top of my head, I can't think of anything like it, and I thought it was very good: a lot of fun.

Touching, too. Kudos to the film for having the balls to end like that. More than the snow and the cute kid (both of which I liked), I loved how they cut out the goofy highlights for those few closing frames. A deft directorial touch that said a lot.

A-

P.S. - Thanks to Snrub for buying me this for my birthday.


Wed Jul 11, 2007 4:00 pm
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It's not a true creature feature, so I'm slightly disappointed at the lack of, well, scenes involving the creature. The film itself is good, though. Solid performances, surprisingly good CGI, and it's even funny sometimes too. The creature looked GREAT considering the budget and all. And I understand how this film earns its somewhat cult status, but I wasn't expecting so much "story" to it. I'm sure most would consider that to be a pleasant surprise. I wanted some kick-ass action scenes (not that it was lacking it - the opening attack rockeddd). Basically, I didn't get what I expected/wanted, but I liked the final product anyways. It's a bit too long, though.

B-


Wed Jul 18, 2007 9:50 pm
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Was the version you guys watched dubbed or subtitled?? Mine from Netflix was horribly horribly dubbed and it totally took me out of the movie. I just had to stop watching it after awhile.


Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:45 am
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MG Casey wrote:
Was the version you guys watched dubbed or subtitled?? Mine from Netflix was horribly horribly dubbed and it totally took me out of the movie. I just had to stop watching it after awhile.


Netflix doesnt have a subtitled version?!... :glare:


Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:55 am
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I watched the subtitled version (Korean PCM) on blu-ray from Netflix last night with my wife.

We mostly liked the movie, although I thought it was strange for the creature to be revealed so early. I loved the family interaction, loved the stuff with the girl by herself and with the other boy. I Liked the ending and the not so subtle undertones. But I just can't agree with the decision to end it like that, I think it would have been better (especially since I was watching it with my wife) if it had been a little different there.


I think I was expecting to much and wish I had been able to watch it without preconceptions about it.

B


Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:41 pm
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Loved it.


Mon Jul 30, 2007 8:20 pm
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Post Re: Gwoemul (The Host)
A-

I had a feeling I would love this, and I did. The opening attack is incredible, and one of my all time movie scenes. All the performances were great, especially the little girl's father. And I enjoyed the score very much.

Oh, the dubbed version is like, impossible to watch. At least it was for me. I watched the first 5 mins dubbed, and couldn't take it. So I switched it over to Korean, but the DVD itself wouldn't let me turn Eng/Spanish subtitles on for some reason, so I just did it with the remote. :biggrin:

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Fri Aug 10, 2007 4:34 pm
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Post Re:
MG Casey wrote:
Was the version you guys watched dubbed or subtitled?? Mine from Netflix was horribly horribly dubbed and it totally took me out of the movie. I just had to stop watching it after awhile.


You can change it on the Set Up page, it just starts with the dubbed version for whatever reason.

Anyway, I liked it. A little slow and it has some rough pacing (Like most Asian films I've seen), but it had some strong energy when it was on. Certainly not your average Creature Feature, and for that I applaud it. :yes:

***/****


Thu Aug 23, 2007 12:00 am
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Post Re: Gwoemul (The Host)
I started watching this last night, but I fell asleep (I started it at like 1 in the morning).

The first half hour or so is absolutely amazing, but I got the distinct impression it kind of hit the breaks hard as I started to drift off. Hopefully I'll finish it tonight, but this thread has kind of confirmed my half-awake fears.


Tue Sep 18, 2007 7:55 pm
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Post Re: Gwoemul (The Host)
I thought it was incredibly stupid for so many reasons...

D+


Wed Oct 03, 2007 12:46 am
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Post Re: Gwoemul (The Host)
Just finished watching this.
I'm gonna refraim from giving it a grade because i had high expectations and the movie didnt live up to them.Some other day i might've enjoyed it.
Not today.
I had heard that the movie was the equivalent to movies like Jaws and Aliens , but it's more like Anaconda then anything else.
The first monster attack was well done.Starts of well with the monster hanging from the bridge , and then slowly sliding into the water.But the people throwing cans and stuff at the monster was kinda stupid.The chase scene also well done , no CGI "goofs".
After that the movie just kinda dies.
The family members act like idiots.An old man and he's three children set out to rescue the daughter of one of them who was taken by the monster.
The girl's father aparently has a sleeping disorder.He's always stumbling and nobody listens to him.He's like a bad imitation of Tom Cruise in War of the Worlds.
The "bow and arrow" champion was clearly put there for the final fight scene ( which has predictable written all over it ) , the rest of the times everybody has guns and she cant even shoot anything with the arrow.
The drunk brother had a moment of greatness when he looks like he's dying and tries to send his sister a phone message telling her where the girl is.
Later he wakes up to rejoin the plot.
But the worst part of the movie is everything that involves an unnecessary virus , that doesnt even exist :mer:
It's just an attempt to show us how the world would react in the face of a biological threat.
What saves the movie is probably the girl trying to stay alive in the pit , proving that she's more of a grown up than her entire family.
As for the monster , i agree that with a short budget they did a good job , then again it's only as good as a short budget would allow it to be.It's a giant worm with two legs and a big tale.
The final fight envolves something called Yellow Agent that is suppose to kill the monster and probably everyone in the area.However , the monster doesnt die and the three brothers fight it sorounded by clouds of that stuff...it's like everybody is imune to it.I didnt get it , so i'm not even gonna try to explain it.
In the final fight , the sister finnally gets to use the arrow :lol: , the drunk brother has the help of a homeless guy who joined the cast because he was bored :hahaha: , and the father of the girl kills the monster with a traffic sign...i think...probably the one he used earlier in the movie :hahaha: :hahaha:

Needless to say , the movie was a disapointement , but since a had high hopes that the movie didnt match up to , i'll probably rewatch it a second time , in a year or something.

If i gave it a grade now it would be a C+

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Wed Jan 09, 2008 3:41 pm
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Post Re: Gwoemul (The Host)
Anyone really compared this to Jaws or Aliens?

This is much more of a family drama than a monster action flick.

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Thu Jan 10, 2008 1:05 pm
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Post Re: Gwoemul (The Host)
It's a little overrated, yeah. But I still enjoyed. The big problem here is that it goes way over its head trying to be many things at once and it doesn't generate a coherent tone. Kinda messy, like the lead character. Maybe that's its charm for some.

The first monster attack stands out, yeah. Nice (even if short) buildup. The monster stuff itself (specially the sewer scenes) works. A lot. As for the family dramedy, I'm slighty torned. I laughed a few times, not sure if it was the right time to laugh, but at least I had fun. The social commentary is valid, the whole virus thing ends up getting nowhere, but perhaps that was the point.

It still beats any of the creature/disaster flicks from Hollywood I've seen in recent years (with the exception of Spielberg's War of the Worlds).

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Sun Jan 20, 2008 3:02 pm
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Post Re: Gwoemul (The Host)
9/10 -> A-

I really thought this would be another shitty overrated monster movie. But the movie surprised me a lot. It's a great horror movie with astonishing drama and laugh out loud comedic parts thrown in.


Fri Feb 01, 2008 7:22 pm
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Post Re: Gwoemul [The Host]
I revisited this as I loved it back in 2006 and it doesn't fail to grab attention. The first scene with the creature is great and the overall story specially the ending is great, the family drama is great, the hospital and political stuffs though are forced here. This movie's biggest problem is that its unable to hide its flaws because it tries to dramatize those scenes. I still had fun and might consider re-watching it again in future.

7/10


Mon May 07, 2018 12:38 pm
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Post Re: Gwoemul [The Host]
Not sure when I watched this. Must've been when I was at university, so around 2009-2011. Anyway, I loved it.


Tue May 08, 2018 8:20 am
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