Buried at the end of a fawning Variety profile of Roy Lee, the guy behind pretty many of the shitty Asian film remakes that have hit America over the last few years, is a sentence that proves that the planned Universal remake of the fantastic Korean monster movie The Host will be completely neutered:
Having been snapped up last month by Universal after a contest with another entity, "Host" presents Lee an interesting problem: how to remove the pic’s underlying anti-American stance while making it more than a generic monster pic.
In The Host, a huge mutant tadpole thing terrorizes Seoul. The beast is the result of a local US military base being less than careful with the disposal of toxic chemicals; over the course of the film the Americans continue to get in the way of our heroes’ quest to rescue a little girl because they want to cover up the truth behind the monster’s genesis. Removing this concept is like taking the atomic bomb out of the original Godzilla (or Gojira if I was going to get all high falutin’) – you have robbed the story of anything that makes it special.
But there’s a level of shortsightedness foolishness here (and not just on my part; after all, the original The Host will exist for me to watch, so what do I really care is done to the remake?), and it comes in thinking that you have to change any of the story elements. I’m gonna give this one to Roy Lee: Just keep it as is. Move the action to a small city in the US that has a military base. Make the military dumping be responsible for the monster – just make sure to blame it on the brass. That’s the key that no one in Hollywood seems to get these days: nobody likes the military brass. While Americans don’t want to see ordinary soldiers as bad guys or buffoons, they don’t mind see the military leaders – the people behind our disastrous Iraq policy, in the public’s eye – getting blamed or ridiculed. It’s an incredibly important distinction.
I doubt that Lee will take my advice, and the catalyst for the monster in the American version of The Host will probably be some lame and boring chemical plant or other stock bad guy. Let’s just hope that Roy Lee doesn’t also see the need to take the quirky family dynamics out of the story and replace those characters with a bunch of stars from the CW Channel. Fucker.