It’s been a while since we’ve had a decent monster movie. Horror movies with monsters don’t count, either. I’m talking about a straight out, standup fight where the hero can see the monster and the monster can clearly see him or her. Those were the days of giant lizards rampaging through Tokyo with only human determination and cooperation to stop them. Until the next movie, anyway. Today, that movie has arrived. Director Boon Joon-ho brings the purity of the monster movie back to the silver screen with The Host. Fortunately, Boon doesn’t just regurgitate the formula, he adapts and blends it with family values that raises the stakes just enough to make the film something special. The story opens in an American medical facility near the Han River in Korea. An American doctor tells his Korean subordinate to dump several bottles-worth of toxic chemicals down the drain. When the Korean subordinate informs the American that the chemicals will poison the river the American shrugs off the comment and continues with the order. Oh, those evil Americans.
I’m always wary about movies that are heavily advertised. It’s the equivalent of overselling a product. In this case, I can forgive 300, because those trailers looked so good, I didn’t mind seeing them over and over again, but that’s also the problem. While the snippets of scenes were great and allowed me to fill in the blanks with equally great images in my head, the actual movie doesn’t live up. Some will say that’s my own fault for letting the hype get to me. Others will say that’s the studio’s fault for hyping up the movie with so much advertising. I think it’s both. Let me just say, that I enjoyed this movie. It’s entertaining. The visual effects are highly believable, considering that the entire environment is green screen (though it’s a shame what passes for blood these days). The acting ranges from adequate with everyone in the cast to very good with Gerard Butler. Lastly, there’s plenty of carnage to be had and even a little sex. You will have a good time watching this film.