The movie “The Host” is a departure for well-known South Korean director Bong Joon Ho. By making the movie “Memories of Murder“, Bong has already raised the audience’s expectations. At its core, “The Host” is a standard example of the science fiction genre. This layer presents us with a powerful science-fiction story that is well-executed. Except in a few cases, the Han River Monster is graphically designed with great care, and the CGI technique is inseparable from the surrounding environment. However, Bong has a distinct filmmaking style that connects this film to his previous masterpiece.
Although “The Host” is a science fiction movie that should meet the expectations of a monster movie, it also contains elements of humor. For example, during one of the film’s most dramatic moments, when Gang Du’s family is in mourning, they all funnily fall on each other, lightening the burden of the sequence’s tragedy. This technique keeps the audience from becoming immersed in the unrealistic story and from observing the film’s progression with self-awareness. On the other hand, some critics, such as David Becker, correctly point out that we are dealing with a family movie. The presence of the monster appears to fade in the middle of the film, and the relationship between family members to achieve a common goal appears to strengthen. In the end (despite the movie’s tendency toward sloganeering), it is the family members’ cooperation that kills the monster.
Unfortunately, some of the bold slogans in the movie “The Host” are one of the film’s significant weaknesses. Bong has an anti-American filmmaking policy, and this thought is valuable to us. Both in this movie and in “Memories of Murder,” he demonstrates that countries such as South Korea are victims of the Americans’ inhumane and self-serving policies. This way of thinking, however, has become somewhat bold and rough in this movie. For example, the American doctor who comes to see Gang-Du is not only mean but also has crooked eyes. He divulges America’s nefarious top-secret policy to his coworker for no apparent reason, which Gang-Du also hears. Of course, this point is also brought up in other scenes of the movie, sometimes subtly and sometimes blatantly. (Agent Yellow, for instance, is a metaphor for Agent Orange, a chemical attack used by the Americans in the Vietnam War to wipe out forests and wildlife.) Merlin Ferdinand continues by pointing out how the movie consistently portrays Americans as being “stupid.”
Despite this criticism, the movie “The Host” is a fantastic illustration of a monster movie. The film’s scares flow smoothly, and the monster’s presence is convincingly explained to the audience (the intentional spilling of a large amount of chemicals into the Han river). The Gang-Du family is a normal family with occasionally below-average behavior.
Gang-Du is initially rejected by his own family because he is so lazy and bored at the beginning of the movie. He provides his teenage daughter with alcoholic beverages and constantly takes naps. But it is clear that he changes throughout the movie.
Perhaps the most important blow that caused his growth was the death of his father. Of course, the disappearance of Gang-du’s daughter was also very important in his movement. The result was that at the end of the movie, Gang-Du had become a monster slayer hero. Although the end of the film was somewhat sloganeering and heroic, the growth process of the characters in the story was satisfactorily narrated.
Many critics, such as Edward Copeland, believe that the end of the film had a different tone than the beginning and middle. We also agree with this article and add that the end of the movie was similar to the heroic stories of teenagers. For instance, in one of the movie’s final scenes, Gang Du’s brother tries to throw a fire glass at the monster but is unsuccessful (in a ridiculous way). At this point, Gang-Du will enter and use his skill as a shooter to fire into the monster’s mouth. Additionally, as the monster flees from the flames toward the water, Gang-Du unleashes a devastating attack from inside its mouth! A successful family working together in the ideal way to defeat the enemy!
Is the film “The Host” deserving of a director like Bong Joon Ho? Although this movie is weaker than previous Bong movies, it is a powerful film when compared to South Korean cinema and, more broadly, classic monster movies. Kang ho Song, in particular, delivers an outstanding performance. Song and Bong have collaborated on several important movies and appear to be well acquainted. Song handled Gang-unique Du’s character admirably, demonstrating both his strengths and weaknesses to the audience. Byun Hee-Bong, who plays Gang-father, du’s also offers a decent performance. However, other actors have given average performances. Because of the presence of prominent actors and an artistic director, this movie has become one of the best-selling in South Korea. It is a must-see for fans of Asian cinema.
Some critics have tried to symbolically interpret the film The Host. Filmmaker Beata Lukasiak’s essay begins with a line from a Korean poet who described the Han River as the birthplace and burial place of the Korean people. Lukasiak believes that the Han River is the center of Korean identity and that monsters emerge from the Han River.
Today’s problems always stem from the inside of history. This monster is born from internal and external problems. In the external dimension, America is in constant trouble, and in the internal dimension, military dictatorship and internal weakness drive growth. A monster emerges from Korean history to devour the next generation.
The people of South Korea must discover inner similarities and connections, each growing to overcome their monsters. In the end, the family’s daughter is gone, but a son is left who has a hopeful life ahead of him. I found this analysis very informative and attractive, but I generally don’t like this kind of film criticism because it can put too many words into the mouth of a director or screenwriter. I think that kind of analysis goes beyond the general level of cinema.
The Host Korean movie ending explained:
Hyun-seo is dead when Gang-du frees her from the creature’s mouth, but she is still holding Se-joo, who is comatose but still alive. Gang-du, furious over the loss of his daughter, teams up with Nam-il, Nam-joo, and the homeless man to assault the creature. They set it ablaze, and Gang-du kills it by impaling it with a pole.
In the final scene of The Host, Gang-du and Se-Joo are eating together in their snack shop during the winter while watching the news on the TV behind them. The U.S. administration is claiming that there was no virus and that everything that had been reported was false.
Is The Host 2006 based on a true story?
The incident in 2000 in which a Korean mortician working for the U.S. military in Seoul said that he was instructed to pour a significant amount of formaldehyde down the drain served as a major inspiration for the movie.