The Host

The Host
The box office champion of Korean cinema, The Host is an endearing, visually arresting monster movie that deserves, and gets, the most complementary DVD treatment possible. A cautionary tale pointing to the dangers of toxic dumping, the pollution creates a man-eating creature that wreaks havoc on Seoul, South Korea, along the Han River. More so, it’s a film that centres on a devastated dysfunctional family that tries to beat the odds and save their adolescent daughter. Mixing comedy, horror and action, Bong delivers a film that resonates with just about any moviegoer, hence its success in Korea and North America. The special features are draining but worth every second, uncovering the film’s bare bones to expose how every single aspect of The Host was achieved. Bong’s commentary is done with a British colleague, who questions him at every corner. Here, the director reveals the importance of breaking the conventions of hiding the monster, as well as designing its mouth to look sexual. He seems open to viewers’ interpretations of the film, even quashing the notion that it was overtly political. Deleted scenes are offered in excess but most are either quite brief or extensions of other scenes, though a wedding scene provides some good laughs. Bong presents a number of mini-featurettes that show the basis for The Host was actually a combination of the Loch Ness Monster, a real life chemical dumping scandal and the family dynamics in M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs. Jang Hee-chul, the creator of the monster, gets plenty of air time, developing the host from a number of aquatic organisms like shrimp, working with Bong during the gruelling back and forth process, making sketches, paintings and models, and travelling to the Weta Workshop in New Zealand. Perhaps the best mini is on working in the sewer, where the cast and crew are subjected to Tetanus shots, tapeworms and the risk of electrocution, admitting there were "no good memories of the sewer experience.” Rarely is a film covered so comprehensively and respectfully as this. Plus: gag reel, Korean trailer, more. (Chungeorahm)