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'The Host' Makes Monster Comeback

Filmmakers promise 3D conversion will enhance chills without being a distraction.

BUSAN, South Korea -- The Host has returned with an extra dimension, but the makers of the new 3D version say it remains true to the 2006 South Korean monster thriller.

The Host 3D is the country’s first conversion project that adds 3D effects to the original 2D film. The original Bong Joon-ho film remains the top-grossing local film of all-time, having drawn over 13 million viewers in a country of 48 million people.

Bong, who had a preview of the 3D version, called it “an amazing experience” despite his fears as an old-fashioned filmmaker who shies away from new technology.

“It was interesting to watch something that I directed in a different format. I had wanted to reinterpret the Han River, a familiar space for Koreans, in an exotic way, and the 3D effects do highlight the sense of space that I had wanted

to capture. The visuals also brought back memories of what I felt myself while shoot- ing by the river,” the director said Monday ahead of BIFF’s gala presentation of the film later that night.

“The 3D conversion doesn’t alter scenes or the storyline in any way,” added Choi Yong-bae, CEO of Chungeorahm Film, the production-distribution com- pany that handles both versions of the film. He said he decided to execute the 150 million won ($129,000) endeavor — as conversion costs 10 million won per minute — because he thought The Host would look great in 3D and it would be meaningful to spearhead the domestic 3D conversion market.

Kim Moon-ki, CEO of Studio Raon, which is overseeing the project, considers The Host 3D a “realizing,” rather than “3D conversion” initiative.

“I focused on transferring the 2D experience to 3D, to stay faithful to director Bong’s intentions and not let the effects distract the viewer. I approached it from a visual rather than technical perspec- tive,” he said.

Meanwhile, The Host 2, the sequel that is also being pro- duced and distributed by Chungeorahm, will open in theaters in 2013, according to Choi. Bong is currently working on his first English-language film, and an adaptation of the French sci-fi graphic comic Le Transperceneige.