The Host belongs to the genre of CGI monster movies that became all the thing after the success of Jurassic Park (1993). The reason The Host became a buzzing point at Cannes and elsewhere was because of its effects, which hold a real wow factor. Bong Joon-ho has an ability to stage these in a way that is fresh and original and manages to entirely stun. The creatures first appearance where we see it emerging behind the crowds on the riverbank and suddenly ploughing through them in giant strides, which, although shot in a way that it initially seems something casual and offhand, is stunning, as are the following scenes where it massacres the crowds in closeup, snatching people up and then almost casually sweeping Song Gang-hos daughter Ko Ah-sung up and disappearing back into the water with her. Every appearance of the creature is spectacular. The audience is perpetually agog at watching its brutally abrupt devouring of victims and especially its amazing gymnastic loops around the sides of bridges. There is a great climax with the various members of the family chasing the creature in slow motion and trying to set it alight with Molotov cocktails. To create these effects, Bong Joon-ho has cannily gone overseas to use the facilities of various relatively unknown American digital effects houses, as well as to hire Peter Jacksons Weta Workshop for the construction of the maquettes of the creature.
On the minus side, whenever the monster is not on screen The Host tends to fall into the not very interesting. At two hours, the film feels overlong and could have lost some of the running around the sewers or subplots. One of the big minuses is Bong Joon-hos penchant for the silly slapstick that often fills Hong Kong comedy. Sometimes this sits well alongside the more serious monster scenes but also often feels out of place. The hero is irritatingly gauche and Bong Joon-ho spends too much time pandering to his simple-minded tomfoolery. The plague element is not very well developed the scenes often feel clumsily added to give the plot some drive. The films failing is in dragging between this overdone goofy humour element and the routine quarantine scenes, where you can feel the audience itching for the monster to come back on screen and spice things up again.
(Nominee for Best Special Effects at this sites Best of 2006 Awards).