Friday, December 29, 2006

The Host, a short review

I managed to catch the new South Korean film, "The Host", while I was on a plane to London last month. It was the best thing about that flight.

The movie is about a Korean man -- who is at best stupid and at worst deranged -- losing his daughter to a giant monster. He and his family make a valiant effort against the government and circumstance to rescue the girl and defeat the monster.

While that pretty accurately describes the story, it doesn't tell you anything about the movie. The characters are all well drawn and the tone shifts comfortably between goofiness, drama, action and black humor.

The film is easily the best giant monster movie I've seen since the Gamera trilogy. The monster, however, is not of the kaiju type. He's slightly smaller than the Rhedosaurus of "Beast from 20,000 Fathoms." And he's a scary beast. You never get a truly good look at the creature, although he seems to be some kind of mutation between a tadpole and a lizard with a wide mouth that opens in at least three directions.

I don't think I've captured the true sense of how good this film is. But watch out for it, it is expected to have a small tour of American theaters before its DVD release and an American remake. No giant monster fan could be disappointed with this film.