The Host (2006)

Release Date: 27 July 2006

Directed by: Bong Joon Ho

Country: South Korea

This thriller is about a monster found in the Han River, Korea which decides to prey on humans. The story centers around the Park family who run a small business near the Han River.

What I really like about the main characters in this movie is that they are your normal everyday civilians with regular problems; none of them display any heroic qualities or look like your conventional hero.

It was also interesting to see that the monster in this film had some form of intelligence, pretending to be asleep to lure Hyun Seo and Se Joo out of their hiding place. The monster in The Host is unlike the monsters in Hollywood films such as Jaws, in which the shark relies mostly on brute strength, its size and tenacity.

This film seemed to be a political satire directed at America. This is a recurring theme that happens throughout the film. It appears as though the film is criticizing the U.S. on how they often seek to “help” a country by spreading their democratic and capitalistic ideologies, and using their army to meddle with foreign affairs, but end up causing more harm than the good that they intend.

At the beginning of the film, an American Scientist orders his Korean assistant to dispose of the chemical through the drain, unconcern of the environmental consequences it might bring the country and its people.

In the movie, the Americans were the ones who spread news that the creature carried a virus when in fact, they wanted to hide the origins of the monster.

Later on in the film, the government solution to kill the creature is through a chemical named “Agent Yellow” which also seemed like another jab at the U.S. for the Vietnam War. During the war, the Americans used a chemical named “Agent Orange” to destroy bushes trees and vegetation with the intention to quell the guerrilla. However, Agent Orange had such disastrous side effects that it still afflicts the country today.  The chemical damaged the environment and mutated the genes of individuals who were exposed to the chemicals resulting in deformities in their offspring.

Overall, I found the film to be pretty intense and exciting (but a little scary). The special effect and acting was really good. I will definitely watch more South Korean films in the near future.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. This blog post was very easy to read and your points all came across very smoothly. Your layout is very neat and your blog posts are easily accessible. I love that your opinions came across very clearly. I also love that you pointed out the above average intelligence in the monster. There are some aliens in classic Hollywood films that have superhuman intelligence, such as the Xenomorph in the Alien franchise and the aliens in Independence Day. These were big blockbuster movies and beloved aliens. It was also interesting to read about the link between Agent Yellow and the Vietnam War. Interesting point! If I have not watched this film, this blog review will convince me to. I’ll watch more South Korean movies as well.

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  2. shar says:

    I too liked that the heroes of the story are normal civilians! It’s nicer to see ordinary people step up when the situation arises. Makes me have some faith in humanity haha. The film really used realism to its advantage, since after all, a monster suddenly appearing in your normal life would be infinitely scarier than if you were preparing for the arrival of one.

    It did indeed seem like the monster had a personality and the viewer can tell from its actions. I feel that it makes the viewer surprised and think more about what is happening as the monster sometimes does not simply go on a rampage.

    I also noticed what seemed like South Korea v America! They never seem to have fully amiable relations and this film showed that to the world.

    Overall, nice analysis! I think our opinions match 🙂

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  3. sanjayvitamartin says:

    I like how you stated about the hero characters in The Host, where they are ordinary people who does not possess any special qualities or like you said they do not look like the conventional hero. This was something unique of the film which felt more like watching an Asian film, regardless of the America context. Also, the film was made up of many different genres. It may be a bit overly ambitious overall but undeniably it was a full-on exciting film from beginning to end!

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