The Host (2006)

The Host-coverWhat Jesse said:

The Host. It’s a monster movie in the classic tradition of monster movies, only it’s different because the effects are brilliant. It really looks like there is a monster. Instead of making a monster that moves all around perfectly like it knows what it’s doing, this one flip-flops around. It moves just like a mutant fish thing really moves.  In fact I think they just hired a real monster for this one. That makes the most sense. I think you’re really going to like this. It’s not like Hollywood monster movies. Hollywood never shells out the cash for a real monster.

Mike’s verdict:

At two hours, this movie is about an hour and 30 minutes too long. It started strong – goofy for sure – but still engaging. Then it descended into just plain boring. By the one hour mark, not only did I start wondering how much longer I had to watch, I actually found myself checking Facebook on my phone. And no, I didn’t hear the chime of a notification first. Apparently my psyche just felt it was time for a dose of cat pictures.

At least up until that point the story made sense. After the one hour mark it turned into some kind of tinfoil hat conspiracy movie. There’s a monster on the loose, but the whole country is preoccupied with tracking down one guy and his family for some reason. I completely lost track of what the ‘bad guys’ were trying to accomplish. And don’t even get me started on the totally random brain surgery scene.

The characters are even worse than the story. They’re all completely annoying; not one of them is a person I’d want to spend two minutes alone in an elevator with. Oh, except for one random homeless guy – he’s pretty funny. If you watch the movie, which I hope you don’t, you’ll know exactly who I mean. That is, assuming you make it to the hour and 45 minute mark.

But even if the producers had come up with a good story and engaging characters, the movie was doomed anyway because the acting is terrible. I’m sure a little bit is lost in translation, but awkward dialog doesn’t account for awkward movement. I’ve seen some amazingly acted foreign films with dubbed sound. This is not one.

I’m giving this a 3/10. I’ll admit that Jesse is right about the monster – it really is life-like. But that doesn’t fix the rest of it.

ps. There was one more thing that bothered me but I didn’t feel it fit into the review. At one point a Korean character is talking to an American character through the use of a Korean / English translator. But I was watching with the official English dubbed voices. The people who recording the dub apparently didn’t notice that the scene required two different languages – so all three characters were speaking in English! It was confusing, and exactly the kind of tiny annoyance that shows lousy craftsmanship. I don’t know how much control the producers have over language dubbing so I didn’t take it into account, but it was still aggravating.

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