Cinepub


Review: The Host by Jamie

Spoilers Ahead! You have been warned.

Fresh from poisoning the minds of one generation of young girls and another generation of creepy older women, the deranged writings of Stephanie Meyer are brought once more to the silver screen in the form of ‘The Host’. This time Meyer takes on the world of parasitic aliens ala ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ and I know what you’re asking already: “Does she bring the same level of creepiness to these alien parasites that she brought to Vampires and werewolves what with the silently watching a girl sleep in her room and the falling in love with a baby after it’s been torn from it’s mother by it’s father’s vampiric fangs?” Don’t worry dear reader, all will be revealed.

The story itself concerns a future in which most of humanity has been invaded by a race of aliens who lodge themselves somewhere near a persons brain and take over their body. There are few non-infected humans left, scattered around into various resistance groups. One girl, Melanie, is trying to get to one of these resistance groups with her younger brother Jamie and her boyfriend Jared when she is captured and has an alien implanted inside her. This alien, calling itself Wanderer, is questioned about the memories stored inside Melanie’s mind in an effort to try and find the resistance’s location.

Not all is right with Wanderer however. It turns out that Melanie is special and has such a strong will that she can’t be entirely subsumed by Wanderer which causes conflict in the mind of the alien. This conflict is played out by Wanderer talking to herself whilst Melanie’s voice is dubbed over with some of the worst voice over acting I have ever heard in my life. It’s incredibly over the top and makes the whole concept of the movie seem even more ridiculous than it already is which, and I remind you that this is a movie based on a novel by Stephanie Meyer, is already pretty fucking ridiculous.

Wanderer/Melanie manage to escape from the other alien infected humans and find their way to the desert base of the resistance led by Melanie’s Uncle Jeb. She is instantly met with mistrust but eventually, as more and more come to realise that Melanie is still alive inside her and that she is different from the other aliens, Wanderer comes to be accepted by the group and her name gets shortened to Wanda. This, of course, leads us to the romance that Stephanie Meyer is so renowned for making awkward and weird. In the Twilight series we had the love triangle between Bella, Edward and Jacob and in The Host we have a four-way romance. What is that? A love square? A love quadrangle? Whatever. We have Jared who is in love with Melanie and eventually Wanda falls for another resistance member by the name of Ian. Of course, since Melanie and Wanda share a body the whole thing is very awkward and silly with Melanie occasionally taking control of her right hand to slap Ian when he’s kissing Wanda and the like. You know, the kind of thing you might see in a wacky body-sharing comedy like ‘The Thing With Two Heads’ or, you know, an adaptation of Stephanie Meyer’s adult romance novel ‘The Host’.

All the while Wanda is being sought by an alien called ‘Seeker’ because we might as well keep things simple for this movies intended audience which I assume is the severely brain damaged and those who like to keep fire as a pet. The other aliens tell Seeker that she should just give up, after all the resistance is small and will eventually die out by itself. It’s just not worth bothering with. It turns out however that Seeker is hunting Wanda because she too is having problems controlling her host and so she wants to find Wanda in order to… Well, I’m not sure actually. I’m sure there must have been some reason. Meanwhile Wanda finds out that the resistance are cutting the parasites out of the infected and killing them in order to try and make them human again. She is disturbed by this and instead shows how to do it in a way that leaves both host and parasite alive, an operation they eventually carry out on Seeker, sending the parasite back to the stars.

Anyway the whole love quadrangle is resolved when Wanda is removed from Melanie and placed in a braindead body, thereby bringing life to a body that had none. And so everything is wrapped up in a nice little package and the movie ends with more aliens and humans learning they can live together in harmony thereby giving hope to the future of our two species or some bullshit.

Jesus Fucking H. Testicle Blasting Christ this one was a struggle. As a film fan I’ve poked my fair share of fun at the Twilight series but, honestly, those things are fucking masterpieces compared to this piece of shit. I tried taking notes during it but they eventually just devolved into me writing THIS IS THE STUPIDEST FUCKING THING I’VE EVER SEEN over and over again. At least you can have fun taking the piss out of the Twilight films, I will give them that and Michael Sheen is awesome for the small amount of screen time he has but this… This isn’t even worth sitting through to try and make fun of it. There’s just nothing redeeming here. It’s a poorly acted, poorly written, though admittedly nicely shot, mess. Friends I have gazed into the mouth of madness and what I found waiting was The Host. Nothing really makes sense. The aliens claim that of all the bodies they’ve inhabited humans are among the trickiest because of their strong physical desires. I assume that they’re talking about our sex drive which, assuming that they’ve inhabited other species that reproduce sexually, should be a pretty common problem throughout the universe. Sex is what drives any species that reproduces that way, for fucks sake!

There are two problems which I consider to be insurmountable when it comes to this film. The first is that this is actually a fairly interesting concept. A human and an alien sharing a body and the complications they face could make for a really good film but here the story is so lacklustre and the whole thing is handled so poorly that it results in one of the worst science-fiction movies that I’ve ever seen. The second problem is that this film shares a title with an awesome 2006 South Korean film and now whenever I say “The Host is awesome!” I’m going to have to qualify that I’m talking about that film and not this pieces of shit.

Half a pint out of five because, again, it is shot quite nicely. Has Stephanie Meyer written anything else of consequence? Not really? Good. Hopefully that’s the end of that chapter. Laterz.

The Host



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.




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