Friday, 11 March 2011

The Host: The other sort of mutant fish

Ponyo made strange fish look cuddly. It was still pretty dangerous, but it wanted to be your friend. The fish from the Korean film The Host is a bit bigger, and probably just wants to eat you. This is what you get when you pour toxic chemicals down the sink. The mutated fish thing rampages across the city, gobbling people up or taking them to its lair to keep for later. And it really goes for it. They're not afraid to show the monster, so there's a fair amount of running away to be done. It appears in the first ten minutes. No build up. Just straight into it. That's commendable really, because this is one of the best starts to a monster film you'll ever see (is that a genre? I hope so). Then, when a man's daughter gets taken away by the creature, he sets off with his family to get her back. With plenty of resistance from the government, who are convinced that everyone's got a virus. It's a film that's a lot of fun. Underneath the bone-spitting there's a mixture of comedy and drama and mild jumpy bits. It can switch to tragedy without any fuss, too. All done with complete confidence. Of course, it's not all so much fun for the poor schoolgirl who has to wait in the sewer for dinner time. Her prospects look grim.

Almost as grim as the thought of an American remake. The more I think about it, the more I hate the idea of Hollywood recycling great world cinema. There's no good reason these films can't be released properly everywhere and find an audience. If there are people who don't want to read subtitles, they are completely and unremittingly stupid. 'Foreign' films are not stuffy or ponderous. Nobody would watch The Host and complain about the exciting action movie they just saw. And, let's face it, a monster rampage in Seoul is a lot cooler than the same thing happening in New York.


  1. I loved this film!
    I agree the prospect of a Hollywood remake is sickening, I just know they would ruin it.
    I also agree with you about "foreign" films, I find people prejudices to be most annoying, especially when it comes to subtitles...

    Boon Jong Ho is one of my favourite directors working today, Memories of Murder is one of my all time favourite films and Mother is also excellent.

    Great review!

  2. I'm not familiar with the director. I'll have to take a look at those films.