Gwoemul / The Host (2006, dir. Bong Joon Ho)

second viewing screened January 5, 2007 on DVD with Lisa and Chris, South San Francisco, CA IMDb

Had a slight dissipation of enthusiasm for it, despite the pleasure of watching it on my friends' bigscreen TV. This time around I noticed how broad the characterizations of the family members were, esp. in setting them up over the first half hour. I mean, we're talking Little Miss Sunshine-level broadness. At the same time it is amazing to see the level of slapstick humor that counterbalances the monster movie spectacle of dozens of people being killed and eaten. The monster itself embodies the film's dual modes of horror and humor with its terrifying multi-lobed, all consuming mouth attached to an ungainly tadpole-fish body that somehow manages to swing monkey-like from steel beams. The political subtext is still disturbing and does much to weave together a host of contemporary global society fears, from SARS to Iraq to American Imperialism. Bong certainly bit off a lot with this one, and while it may lack the subtle character studies of Memories of Murder or Barking Dogs Never Bite, it compensates with a heavy dose of entertainment value and an innovative action narrative.

YES (#3 for 2006 between ARMY OF SHADOWS and PAPRIKA)