Monday, March 26, 2007

Empty Alphabetic Calories, Plus Monster Movie

My work friend Carmel got me a bag of editorially-appropriate "gummi letters" as a facetious gift last week, so I've been chewing on these during the last couple of workday afternoons. These are not the best thing to eat; I had a Scrabble rack's worth of them this afternoon (RHINELY—it's totally a word, you're going to be sorry if you challenge it) and I was feeling kind of unhappily buzzy until hitting the treadmill at the gym at 6 pm.

There's some cheap metaphor in there about literary consumption fueling go-nowhere action. I'll leave its working out as an exercise for the reader.

In more relevant news, all y'all need to go see The Host, which is exactly the smart & subtle monster movie everyone makes it out to be. The gigantic mutant salamander, or whatever it is, behaves convincingly like an animal (panicking huge crowds but eating only a few people); the main characters form a touchingly & comically dysfunctional family; the plot doesn't waste anything, doesn't let you take things for granted, and keeps its monster-appearance powder dry. The camera work is creative, the atmospherics are spot on (a lot of heavy rain), and the whole thing just gets better as it rolls along. The monster really isn't the main obstacle for the underdog good guys, but rather the paralyzing, inept government reaction to the situation.

Its social-criticism aspect has been talked up a lot, and it's there, but well-measured. It's American behavior that creates the monster, and largely an American impulse that creates hysteria over a monster-hosted virus that may or may not exist. But this is all secondary to the plot and kept as a vague, zeitgeisty kind of thing, which I think is the right way to do it. (Mostly the Americans are pegged as suspect by filling their roles with supremely odd-looking, pasty Caucasians. There's also a great moment where one of the good guys bursts out of the medical center where he's been detained and finds a bunch of American military personnel blithely having a barbecue.)

Clearly we've got the best Korean monster movie of early 2007 here, and I suggest again that you see it. You will not think about gigantic mutant salamanders the same way again!


Blogger Nate said...

Someone should buy you some gummi numbers instead, Mr. Blow-It-Out-Your-Ass.

3/26/2007 8:53 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

. . . and in a brilliantly meta-referential parry, I invite you to also blow that very sobriquet out your ass.

3/26/2007 9:14 PM  
Anonymous danblim said...

The word you want is HENRILY, meaning "in a loud declamatory manner which offers two options, one of which is death."

3/30/2007 4:00 PM  

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