Sunday, April 29, 2007



WOW, there is nothing like seeing a daikaiju film on the big screen. This brand-new release out of Korea is great, great, great, combining the best features of a dysfunctional family comedy and a film about a giant aquatic whaddayacallit.

I have to love this monster. It's sort of fishy/froggy/dragonlike, with the goofiest structure ever and some very nasty-looking mouthparts. Something like THAT shouldn't even be able to walk, let alone do the acrobatics it does in this film, but they make it work. It gives me new faith in computer-generated cartoon monsters. I was often aware that I was looking at CGI, but it didn't bother me too much. It didn't look crappy at all; it just looked like something that had no business eating sightseers on the banks of the Han River, and that of course was just the impression they were trying to give.

They never even try to explain where the monster came from, other than showing the head guy at an American army hospital morgue ordering an assistant to pour formaldehyde down the sink because the bottles are dusty. (This is classic movie shorthand. Obviously the head guy is a high-ranking officer -- sheesh.) Interestingly, the authorities seem to make no attempt to kill the monster or even study it -- they just want to cordon it off, along with the people who came in contact with it.

That fact that nobody but the Park family makes any real effort to dispatch the whaddayacallit suggests to me, personally, that the governments of both Korea and the USA are, as the Monkey people say, IN ON IT. Check it out, they're tear-gassing the protestors rather than the 20-foot frogfish that's eating the good citiziens of the town. What does that say to you?

This is a portrait of a recruiting technique we never use anymore -- the old just-dash-up-onshore-and-eat-'em method. For me, the real value of this film from OUR point of view is nostalgia for a simpler, less conniving time. I have to say it paints a very clear portrait of how unrecruited landscum see our efforts to help them. Get a load of that public grief ceremony with the flowers and the ranked photos of the dead. THEY REALLY THINK ALL THOSE PEOPLE ARE GONE FOREVER!

Rejoice, finny readers: the River Han is a direct path to Dagon, in whose realm we shall all dwell in wonder and glory forever.


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