Cinepub


Review: The Host (2006) by Jamie

As I write this, I’m not feeling one hundred percent. Tail end of a nasty cold and feeling tired. To make matters worse, every time I yawn, I feel like being sick so this might be a short/poorly written review. I apologise in advance.

Ah, South Korea. As long as there is “evil” North Korea, it’ll be best known for being the “good” Korea. In recent years it’s also become a major player in the film industry, it’s output gaining recognition around the world. Despite this, I haven’t actually seen that many South Korean films. In fact, until watching today’s film, the only one I think I’d seen is ‘Save The Green Planet’, a film which I really, really enjoyed. Hmm, should probably review that one day.

Still, today’s film is probably a bit better known that ‘Save The Green Planet’, at least according to what I’ve seen on the internet. Today’s film is the South Korean monster movie, ‘The Host’. Now, a quick word before I begin. Unfortunately, I could only get my hands on the dubbed version of this film which is kind of annoying. You see there are a number of problems with dubbed films, chief among them the fact that a sentence in one language isn’t always as long as the equivalent sentence in another language. And so you have the voice over artists either cramming everything they have to say into the short time that an actors mouth is moving or they have to change the translation a little to make it fit better. This kind of thing can be quite detrimental to the viewing experience, particularly the first problem which can really limit the voice actors performance.

So yeah, keep that in mind. I’d much rather watch a subtitled version of the film which is pretty much the case for all foreign films except for the Godzilla series. I grew up with them dubbed and it just adds to the fun of the series… except for the first one. That should be watched with subtitles as it’s a very serious film… Hmmm, I wonder if I could get a copy of the American film dubbed into Japanese. That’d be fun. Anyway, on with the review.

The basic plot is thus: A monster, born of formaldehyde being drained into the Han River creates a mutant amphibian/fish thing. This beast attacks a bunch of people enjoying a summer day near a river-side snack bar and the area is evacuated and sealed off by the Korean government and the American military. Now you’d think that this kind of film would follow the story of people trying to destroy the monster, and in some ways that’s true, but it’s actually a far more contained story of a family trying to find a relative who has been snatched up by the monster and taken back to it’s lair with a subplot involving a mysterious government cover-up and a virus which the monster is believed to be the host for (hence the film’s title).

The family in question, the Park family are made up of Gang-du (Song Kang-ho), a somewhat dim yet determined fellow who it’s hinted may have suffered some brain damage early in life, Hee-bong (Byeon Hee-bong), the family’s patriarch who runs the riverside snack-bar with Gang-du, Nam-ju (Bae Doona), Gang-du’s sister and famous archer and Nam-il (Park Hae-il) a college graduate. They are all searching for Gang-du’s daughter, Hyun-seo (Ko Ah-seong) who has been taken to the monsters lair somewhere in the sewers near the river.

The family, having been quarantined since they were present at the attack on river bank or interacted with people who were, decide that they have to break out in order to go and rescue Hyun-seo and do so. This results in them also being hunted by the American military which adds another layer of danger to the whole affair.

That’s about all I’m willing to write about the plot because doing more would probably give too much away. So let’s get into one of the biggest things to note about this film, it’s tone. It starts of quite light and funny, with elements of slapstick and just out and out bizarre-itude. As the film progesses it gets a little darker and a little more serious whilst still retaining some of that original sense of humour. Thanks to the fact that it layers in the seriousness slowly as the film continues it doesn’t suffer like ‘Hancock’ did from starting off light and then having an insanely serious twist in the middle which left audiences a little annoyed. Instead the tone seems to feel consistent even as it changes.

If I had one complaint about this film it’d probably be that there where times when things suddenly didn’t seem to make sense or characters or plot points just suddenly appeared out of nowhere. However this could just be a result of the dubbing, something I’ve seen happen before where plot points aren’t mentioned in the dub but are in the original language making it seems as though they just spontaneously occurred without explanation to those watching the dubbed version. As for the rest of the film, it all seemed pretty solid. Good plot, good special effects. I’m reticent to comment on the acting, again, because of the dubbed nature of the film, but from what I could gather it seemed pretty good. All in all a film that’s well worth a watch. Four pints out of five. Laterz.



Review: The Host (2006) by Jamie

As I write this, I’m not feeling one hundred percent. Tail end of a nasty cold and feeling tired. To make matters worse, every time I yawn, I feel like being sick so this might be a short/poorly written review. I apologise in advance.

Ah, South Korea. As long as there is “evil” North Korea, it’ll be best known for being the “good” Korea. In recent years it’s also become a major player in the film industry, it’s output gaining recognition around the world. Despite this, I haven’t actually seen that many South Korean films. In fact, until watching today’s film, the only one I think I’d seen is ‘Save The Green Planet’, a film which I really, really enjoyed. Hmm, should probably review that one day.

Still, today’s film is probably a bit better known that ‘Save The Green Planet’, at least according to what I’ve seen on the internet. Today’s film is the South Korean monster movie, ‘The Host’. Now, a quick word before I begin. Unfortunately, I could only get my hands on the dubbed version of this film which is kind of annoying. You see there are a number of problems with dubbed films, chief among them the fact that a sentence in one language isn’t always as long as the equivalent sentence in another language. And so you have the voice over artists either cramming everything they have to say into the short time that an actors mouth is moving or they have to change the translation a little to make it fit better. This kind of thing can be quite detrimental to the viewing experience, particularly the first problem which can really limit the voice actors performance.

So yeah, keep that in mind. I’d much rather watch a subtitled version of the film which is pretty much the case for all foreign films except for the Godzilla series. I grew up with them dubbed and it just adds to the fun of the series… except for the first one. That should be watched with subtitles as it’s a very serious film… Hmmm, I wonder if I could get a copy of the American film dubbed into Japanese. That’d be fun. Anyway, on with the review.

The basic plot is thus: A monster, born of formaldehyde being drained into the Han River creates a mutant amphibian/fish thing. This beast attacks a bunch of people enjoying a summer day near a river-side snack bar and the area is evacuated and sealed off by the Korean government and the American military. Now you’d think that this kind of film would follow the story of people trying to destroy the monster, and in some ways that’s true, but it’s actually a far more contained story of a family trying to find a relative who has been snatched up by the monster and taken back to it’s lair with a subplot involving a mysterious government cover-up and a virus which the monster is believed to be the host for (hence the film’s title).

The family in question, the Park family are made up of Gang-du (Song Kang-ho), a somewhat dim yet determined fellow who it’s hinted may have suffered some brain damage early in life, Hee-bong (Byeon Hee-bong), the family’s patriarch who runs the riverside snack-bar with Gang-du, Nam-ju (Bae Doona), Gang-du’s sister and famous archer and Nam-il (Park Hae-il) a college graduate. They are all searching for Gang-du’s daughter, Hyun-seo (Ko Ah-seong) who has been taken to the monsters lair somewhere in the sewers near the river.

The family, having been quarantined since they were present at the attack on river bank or interacted with people who were, decide that they have to break out in order to go and rescue Hyun-seo and do so. This results in them also being hunted by the American military which adds another layer of danger to the whole affair.

That’s about all I’m willing to write about the plot because doing more would probably give too much away. So let’s get into one of the biggest things to note about this film, it’s tone. It starts of quite light and funny, with elements of slapstick and just out and out bizarre-itude. As the film progesses it gets a little darker and a little more serious whilst still retaining some of that original sense of humour. Thanks to the fact that it layers in the seriousness slowly as the film continues it doesn’t suffer like ‘Hancock’ did from starting off light and then having an insanely serious twist in the middle which left audiences a little annoyed. Instead the tone seems to feel consistent even as it changes.

If I had one complaint about this film it’d probably be that there where times when things suddenly didn’t seem to make sense or characters or plot points just suddenly appeared out of nowhere. However this could just be a result of the dubbing, something I’ve seen happen before where plot points aren’t mentioned in the dub but are in the original language making it seems as though they just spontaneously occurred without explanation to those watching the dubbed version. As for the rest of the film, it all seemed pretty solid. Good plot, good special effects. I’m reticent to comment on the acting, again, because of the dubbed nature of the film, but from what I could gather it seemed pretty good. All in all a film that’s well worth a watch. Four pints out of five. Laterz.



Generation X – Part 3: Squeeze by Jamie

Generation X: Squeeze (Production No. 1×02)

Written By Glen Morgan & James Wong, Directed By Harry Longstreet.

BBC Air Date: 03/10/1994

Well we finally come to the first of the ‘Monster of the Week‘ episodes of the X-Files and what a monster it is. First, the synopsis. Scully is asked to help on mysterious murder case by an old friend Agent Colton (Donal Logue). The cases are mysterious due to the fact that there seems to be no obvious point of entry and the liver is torn from each victim with the killers bare-hands. Mulder joins the investigation with his own theories and immediately gets Colton‘s back up. They apprehend a subject and, when Mulder introduces some of his own questions during a lie detector test, Colton officialy gets him taken off the investigation and the suspect, Eugene Victor Tooms (Doug Hutchins), is set free . Mulder, believing Tooms to be a genetic mutant who needs livers in order to hibernate for decades at a time, continues anyway since the case has some similarities to one of his X-Files and Scully decides to side with him instead of Colson. In the end, of course, it turns out that Mulder was right and they finally capture Tooms again.

This episode was one of the first that gave us the sense that The X-Files was going to be something more than aliens and abductions all the time and thank fuck for that. I mean, seriously, the whole over-arching mythology is alright in small doses but there is no way in hell I‘d be able to take that for an entire series. Really, it‘s these Scooby Doo-esque episodes which make the series, especially later when the mythology just becomes bloated and convoluted.

So, allow us then to delve deeper into this episode. There are some awesome moments held within. Mulder in particular is in top form. There are some great character moments when he’s dealing with Agent Colton who basically seems to view Mulder as a fucking joke. One of the first questions Colton asks Mulder if he suspects little green men are responsible for the murders. Mulder responds completely straight faced that the little men are in fact grey, from Reticula and that they are notorious for the extraction of human livers due to an iron deficiency in the Reticulan galaxy. He then asks him if he knows what liver and onion goes for in the Reticulan galaxy before turning around and doing his fucking job like a real FBI agent. This episode also features on of Mulder‘s classic lines after realising he‘s just put his hand in human bile, “Is there anyway I can get it off my fingers quickly without betraying my cool exterior?” Classic Mulder.

It‘s also nice to see Scully siding with Mulder in this episode, having had enough of Colton constantly bad mouthing him. It‘s clear that, though she may not agree with all of his ‘spooky‘ ideas, she does have a certain amount of respect for him and regards him as a partner who she is loyal to. You also get to see her kicking the ass of a killer mutant who has already killed several people showing that she‘s more than just an expert in medical science. She‘s also an expert in Ass-Kickery.

Finally onto Tooms himself. This really needed to be a strong episode in order to show that The X-Files could be more than that show about aliens and stuff and thankfully it was. This was mainly down to the character of Eugene Victor Tooms, a genetic mutant who is over one hundred years old, eats human livers in order to allow him to hibernate for periods of thirty years and also has the ability to stretch and squeeze into tiny places. That is a fucking awesome concept for a monster and it‘s the reason that Tooms remained one of the series favourite villains despite only appearing in two episodes.

I did always feel a little sorry for Tooms though. I got the impression that if he didn‘t get those livers and enter his hibernation, he‘d wither and die. Of course if he‘d just end up aging naturally at the same speed as everyone else or at a much faster rate is up for debate I suppose. You also do get the strong impression that Tooms does quite enjoy his little acts of murder.

Overall this is a thoroughly enjoyable episode that kicks of the whole ‘Monster of the Week‘ concept and kicks it off strong, deepens the characters of both Mulder and Scully and presents an awesome villain. Four and a half pints out of five. Laterz.




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