Friday, March 2, 2007

30th Portland Intl. Film Festival Pt. 2

While I enjoyed The Host (2006) for the most part, it was thin on the ground, story-wise. For a film like this, you need more characters, need to get some sub-plots to cross-cut to. Going back and forth between the vigilant family (widowed dad, loser son, estranged son, plucky Olympic archer daughter) and the girl in the monster's lair just got tedious after awhile. Why not add something like, I don't know, an intrepid father and son team on their own mission to save the girl? Old dad is a scientist friend of the other dad, the son a heroic love interest for the girl's archer aunt, played by Bae Doo-na (South Korea's Meg Ryan -- she was in Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance). Or you could always have a team of commandos who get picked off one by one in the tunnels; tired, yes, but I bet a Korean director could get a lot more mileage out of such a well-worn trope and find some new and hideous ways to dispatch the obnoxious yet hapless team of macho jerkoffs. Anyway, you see what I'm saying -- the film needed to have more going on. But I read an interview with the director and he said the film was first and foremost a family drama, so I guess he wanted to keep the focus on them. And the monster is fantastic.

Always great to see Song Kang-ho, and he did a great job as usual. His specialty seems to be lovable losers. I just got the DVD and it was better the second time around, so perhaps you should disregard everything I've said ...

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