THE GIANT PIG TRILOGY: Jarv encounters Chaw!

Back in the early days of our little gathering, one of the recurring memes was prompted by the news that South Korea had produced a little film called Chaw, which promised to be stock full of carnage wrought by that rarest of cinematic beasts THE GIANT PIG. Whenever we saw the trailer for this, or news about the film surfaced in any form, all coherent conversation went out the window drowned beneath cries of GIANT PIG! Eventually, the situation arose where one of us (Kloipy) was even posting as GIANT PIG offering out threats of death to all and sundry. As the release neared, conversation turned to that we couldn’t actually think of that many examples of GIANT PIG films out there. At our count, and this is by no means definitive, we have 3: the Australian film Razorback, America’s piss poor Pig Hunt, and this, Chaw, released in 2009.

It’s about time one of us took on GIANT PIG, and I reckon I’m the man for the job because I fear nothing that I roast on a sunday. So, you porky bastard, let’s see how fared.

Disclaimer at the start: I’ve really struggled with this review. I can’t think of anything particularly interesting to say and my attempt to write in the style of GIANT PIG himself was an epic and unfunny failure. So as a result, I’m abandoning that gag and just doing a straight review with the summary from GIANT PIG at the end.

Need a hand?

Chaw, Jeong-won Shin’s 2009 effort is clearly an attempt to recapture the magic that made The Host so much fun. He’s taken the Jaws template and applied it to the mountains in Korea and the monster in question is a GIANT PIG! This should, in theory, be seven shades of awesome. Unfortunately he’s also attached a strange and surreal vein of comedy to the film that may or may not work. Basically, think Twin Peaks meets Jaws with a liberal sprinkling of Predator. If that makes sense, which now I’ve written that sentence I’m not sure is the case.

The small village of Sameri prides itself on being completely crime free. Unfortunately for them, GIANT PIG pays no heed to mankind’s idiotic proclamations, and starts chomping on the recently interred. In the meantime, Seoul copper Kim (Tae-woong Eom), has transplanted his entire family there (complete with Senile mother) and is somewhat perturbed at the insane level of incompetence on display. As soon as GIANT PIG graduates to eating humans, Cheon discerns the culprit and it’s huntin’ time. Our local heroes (including flakier than a Cadbury’s product ecologist and other typical hunting types) gun down the porcine culprit. Except it isn’t, it’s MRS. GIANT PIG. MR GIANT PIG (all 500 Kg of him) is still out there, and now he’s pissed. Cue massacre, before our heroes hunt him down in the wild.

"Damn fine coffee! And hot!"

This is a damned strange film. Sameri is populated by weirdos such as the doll carrying nutter that borrows extensively from Sadako’s wardrobe, or the two local businessmen with a penchant for live eel. Hell, we even get treated to Korean rapping (I hope I never hear anything like this atrocity again). Nobody in this village could remotely be described as normal, and the non-pig related antics have a strong whiff of Twin Peaks to them. Kim sticks out here like a sore thumb, and just to ram the point home, the imported detective may as well be called Agent Cooper.

The thing is though, that this is a GIANT PIG film, so the star of the piece should easily be the large porker himself. Yet, he’s barely in it. For the first half of the film, we get treated to “pig-vision” which is blatantly lifted from Predator, and in the film as a whole we spend so much more time with the various social misfits that populate the town than we do dealing with the animal menace. The problem here, though, is that for the most part their antics aren’t actually interesting. Bizarre, sure, and certainly unsettling, but I’m watching this film to see a large Wild Boar commit various acts of carnage on the locals, and we quite clearly do not get this.

"Woke up this morning, got myself a gun"

The comedy itself is very hit and miss. The senile mother is a massive misstep (although the detective’s reaction to the shoe in his soup is one of the funnier gags in the film), for example, as this crosses a line into cruelty towards the characters that I’m not comfortable with. Furthermore, the vast amount of the humour here is derived from slapstick gags such as the cops throwing up, or falling down a hill on their arse, which in this day and age isn’t really that funny. These scenes, incidentally, aren’t played for comedy, if that makes sense. The surreal atmosphere that permeates the film makes them, at most, uncomfortable laughs- and I’m not sure they’re that effective.

When we do finally meet GIANT PIG himself it’s a bit of a let down. The problem is that he’s composed entirely of CGI and for the most part, it’s pretty crap CGI. He’s got no sense of weight, and doesn’t seem to be interacting with his environment. This is the plague of CGI, and it is a trap that those crappy Sciffy versus movies invariably fall into. I’m not saying he’s as bad as that, because he’s far more effectively rendered than those piss poor efforts, but, really, it could have been so much better.

GIANT PIG!

I could talk about the thematic ambition of the film, which does try hard to bang home a message about mankind fucking with the environment (GIANT PIG is some genetically engineered Japanese monster), or about humanity’s general stupidity when dealing with nature, but to be honest, I don’t care. I don’t watch Jaws for a message about pollution, for example, and in a film as frankly fucking odd as this one it really is a touch disconcerting. Not to mention the frequent acts of animal cruelty inflicted by our characters (the live eel, slaughtering the piglets etc) which managed to get it censored in the UK. It all just feels so out of place in a film where they lit gunpowder to cauterise a tusk wound in a major character’s arse.

Nevertheless, this is an entertaining movie, and there are more than enough Pig related moments to keep me satisfied. This is a common theme in this trilogy, that I want more pig action and less fucking around with locals, although here at least the village is so odd that there is plenty of interest to be found for most. You won’t finish this film in raptures, but by the same score it is never boring and reasonably enjoyable. Now over to GIANT PIG:

GIANT PIG IS ANGERED!

MEATBAGS!

I AM HERE TO SPREAD THE WORD OF THE PIG.

I FIND IT PLEASING THAT WORSHIP OF ME HAS MADE IT TO THE FAR EAST. THIS IS IMPORTANT.

HOWEVER, THIS NEEDS MORE GIANT PIG AND LESS FUCKING AROUND WITH REJECTS FROM A LYNCH MOVIE.

NEVERTHELESS, I AM SATISFIED AND SHALL NOT WREAK MY TERRIBLE VENGEANCE UPON YOU, FOR YOU ARE ACCEPTABLE TO ME, THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE GIANT PIG.

NOW BE THANKFUL.

So, the pig digs it. It’s a strange film, but not a bad one, and it may be more successful for others than it was for me.

Until next time,

Jarv.

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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

51 responses to “THE GIANT PIG TRILOGY: Jarv encounters Chaw!”

  1. Bartleby says :

    Jarv, unfortunately you are likely to find that Chaw has the most giant pig footage of any of the three films. Pig Hunt has like a laughable 2 minutes of GP. Razorback has maybe ten minutes all together, and even then you rarely (if it at all) see the entire pig. Chaw wasn’t all cgi, there was definitely some really cheap ass practical effects in there too.

    The issue isnt the amount of times you see the hog though, it’s the emphasis or threat it has on the overall film, and that is very low here because of the constant dumbass humor soaking every other frame. Sometimes you forget there’s a monster pig involved at all because so many scenes—the mother and wife for instance—have no bearing on the central plot at all, but are allowed shenanigans time and time again.

    Good example is the scene where the girls break the beer bottle over asian Harry Potter’s head. What doe it have to do with anything other than the filmmakers thought, ‘We are Korean, time to smash someone in the head with a bottle!’

    It is absolutely hit and miss though, but I was in a goofy enough mood when I saw it that I had a good time. It’s not the movie it should have been, but the movie we get is weird enough I was willing to give it a pass.

    My fave scene was probably the end with that little pig glaring ominously out at the audience. For some unexplained reason, I found that quite funny.

  2. Bartleby says :

    also, in a really funny turn of events, Netflix has literally renamed this Chawz, continuing the idiotic idea that horror movies are better with a z at the end, even when it doesnt make sense.

  3. ThereWolf says :

    GIANT PIG!

    I’d forgotten all about this one (how can you forget a GIANT PIG, I know…) but now reminded, I’m definitely having some of that. The ‘Twin Peaks-y’ vibe only makes me want it more.

    Now, all we need is a GIANT ROBOT PIG!

    Nice one, Jarv.

  4. Xiphos0311 says :

    This is a damned strange film. Sameri is populated by weirdos such as the doll carrying nutter that borrows extensively from Sadako’s wardrobe, or the two local businessmen with a penchant for live eel. Hell, we even get treated to Korean rapping (I hope I never hear anything like this atrocity again). Nobody in this village could remotely be described as normal

    It isn’t that weird Korea is fucking bizarre man I mean like seriously jacked up so that village isn’t all that strange.

    I saw some boars both times I was in Korea that were impressive in size, not quite Arkansas, Missouri or Texas sized but they were in the same ball park. We got invited to a pig hunt, they had been attacking soldiers and civilians in the area we were at, but unfortunately we were heel toeing it out of there. Man I wanted in on that hunt.

    Good review Jarv.

    • Jarv says :

      Cheers Xi,

      It’s such an odd film this, it really is, and some of the oddness is so contrived that it feels intentional. There’s loads of strange stuff that just happens in the village. Maybe I’m not getting the comedy, but it’s unsettling more than anything else.

  5. Just Pillow Talk says :

    Why is it that any creature/monster/animal film for the most part does not include enough of said threat in the movie?

    Though the crazy Koreans are at least entertaining in other ways.

  6. Droid says :

    GIANT PIG!

    Haven’t seen this. The only GP movie I’ve seen is Razorback.

    So kloipy is GP?

    • Jarv says :

      I always thought so.

      There are only three that we know of. This is the best one, although Razorback is alright.

      • Droid says :

        I like Razorback, but it’s not without it’s problems. Primarily the hillbilly bad guys. From the sounds of your review, I don’t think I’d like this one that much.

      • Jarv says :

        This isn’t dissimilar in that regard to Razorback. The best scene in either film is the charge through the house at the start of RB.

        If you pretend this isn’t a GIANT PIG film, then it’s OK.

        I think this must be really hard to get right, because all three stabs at it have problems. Pig Hunt is just a bad, bad film though, although I had completely forgotten about the topless lesbian commune in it.

      • Jarv says :

        I’ve been googling around to try to find the GIANT PIG threads, and they’ve almost all vanished. Probably when fatass “upgraded” his servers. I did find a few appearances, and I’ve got a few other candidates:

        1) Conti. On a twilight thread, GIANT PIG appeared about half an hour after him.

        2) Chipps. Several posts appeared in a strange time that would work if you’re in Australia

      • Droid says :

        The best scene in either film is the charge through the house at the start of RB.

        That’s a really good scene. Fast, brutal and it grabs your attention from the get go. RB is also a great looking film. I can understand the limitations placed on people trying to make killer animal movies that don’t take place in water. It’s hard to hide the threat. With Jaws, for example, Berg can hide the shark in ominous open water (which people are automatically wary of), and to “show” the threat all he needs is the fin. How do you portray that threat with a GIANT PIG without just showing it all the time? I think one of the better land based killer animal movies is The Ghost and the Darkness, and that’s because it follows the Jaws template really closely (even having a Quint character). And Hopkins substituted the ocean for long grass, and the shark fin for the lions tail.

      • Jarv says :

        It can be done, I’m sure it can.

        There are other problems with GIANT PIG that are intrinsic to the animal- the concept is basically, for most people, silly. It’s a GIANT PIG for fuck’s sake.

        Tigers, Sharks etc are all big hungry meat eating bastards and are much more frightening than an oversized porker.

      • Jarv says :

        Christ, Jonah gave Pig Hunt B-

        Fuck me. I’d fail it.

      • Jarv says :

        Just reread your review of Razorback. GIANT PIG makes an appearance there as well.

        By the way, your and Jonah’s summary of how you feel after it is very similar to how I felt after Chaw.

    • tombando says :

      I can assure ya Jarv that Giant Pig wasnt me. Pretty easy to tell me in any of the varied guises/sock puppets I’ve used online thru the years.

  7. Col. Tigh-Fighter says :

    Brilliant review!

    Now, is there room for a killer goat creature in this review list? 😉
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102783/

  8. tombando says :

    Don’t forget Frogs from 1972, early Sam Elliott, late Ray Milland, etc.

  9. Kloipy says :

    Althought I appreciate the sentiment, I can not take responsibility for Giant Pig

  10. MORBIUS says :

    It should be noted that a GIANT PIG is

    featured in Hayao Miyazakis Princess Mononoke.

    And to a lesser extent, Spirited Away.

    Oh, and anything with the Bates in it!!!

    If you’re to do Not Another Teen Movie,

    you might also try Euro Trip.

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