Reviews

  • 4d ago

    Pulgasari is basically a North Korean version of Godzilla. The titular creature is solid and memorable, the plot is standard but well told, and the ending is quite unexpected and interesting. The movie can be silly and the action and set pieces weren't nearly as memorable as they should have been. It also lacks originality throughout, but at least it's fun. But the most interesting thing about this movie is actually the backstory behind its production. Apparently, Kim Jong-il kidnapped a South Korean director and ordered him to make kaiju flicks while the crew also tricked Toho into coming to the country and doing the VFX on the movie. It's such a crazy story that itself would make for an awesome movie.

    Pulgasari is basically a North Korean version of Godzilla. The titular creature is solid and memorable, the plot is standard but well told, and the ending is quite unexpected and interesting. The movie can be silly and the action and set pieces weren't nearly as memorable as they should have been. It also lacks originality throughout, but at least it's fun. But the most interesting thing about this movie is actually the backstory behind its production. Apparently, Kim Jong-il kidnapped a South Korean director and ordered him to make kaiju flicks while the crew also tricked Toho into coming to the country and doing the VFX on the movie. It's such a crazy story that itself would make for an awesome movie.

  • Apr 28, 2021

    CITIZEN KANE WHO??? Pulgasari represents everything good about cinema.

    CITIZEN KANE WHO??? Pulgasari represents everything good about cinema.

  • May 24, 2020

    With its weirdly magnetic protagonist and an underlying message about the danger of arms race, Pulgasari still stands out among kaiju films not only as a rare testimony from one of the most inscrutable countries of the world, but also as a proof of how cinema can blend mythology with history and politics across the centuries.

    With its weirdly magnetic protagonist and an underlying message about the danger of arms race, Pulgasari still stands out among kaiju films not only as a rare testimony from one of the most inscrutable countries of the world, but also as a proof of how cinema can blend mythology with history and politics across the centuries.

  • Apr 02, 2016

    Pulgasari is a solid kaiju flick that is about the same quality as Godzilla 2014. Positives include an original monster design, good physical effects, good performances, a very deep plot, and a rather interesting backstory. Negatives include uneven special effects and a terrible soundtrack. Despite this, it's worth a watch.

    Pulgasari is a solid kaiju flick that is about the same quality as Godzilla 2014. Positives include an original monster design, good physical effects, good performances, a very deep plot, and a rather interesting backstory. Negatives include uneven special effects and a terrible soundtrack. Despite this, it's worth a watch.

  • Sep 18, 2015

    Something of an oddity in that might be the only North Korean creature feature ever made, although the director was a South Korean kidnapped by Kim Jong-Il! In light of this, it might be tempting to think it's a propaganda film, with the beast representing the scourge of Capitalism, but I didn't see much evidence of that. For me, it's just a fun Kaiju flick in the Godzilla mould about an iron-eating monster made by a blacksmith from a ball of rice, who helps defend the peasants against their feudal overlords. The government actually come out of it with no credibility; the army general doing his best impression of Wile E. Coyote, cooking up one hair-brained scheme after another to bring down Pulgasari. Hilariously bad acting, visual and sound effects (high pitched synth stabs for sword fights, localized echo chambers) all just add to the enjoyment.

    Something of an oddity in that might be the only North Korean creature feature ever made, although the director was a South Korean kidnapped by Kim Jong-Il! In light of this, it might be tempting to think it's a propaganda film, with the beast representing the scourge of Capitalism, but I didn't see much evidence of that. For me, it's just a fun Kaiju flick in the Godzilla mould about an iron-eating monster made by a blacksmith from a ball of rice, who helps defend the peasants against their feudal overlords. The government actually come out of it with no credibility; the army general doing his best impression of Wile E. Coyote, cooking up one hair-brained scheme after another to bring down Pulgasari. Hilariously bad acting, visual and sound effects (high pitched synth stabs for sword fights, localized echo chambers) all just add to the enjoyment.

  • Nov 09, 2013

    Uneven, yet enjoyable. It can't seem to decide if it wants to be a comedy or a serious film. The monster is a bit goofy, but it's still neat. The plot is good, the characters are decent, and the ending is satisfying. Confusing moments, but overall, it's an interesting monster film.

    Uneven, yet enjoyable. It can't seem to decide if it wants to be a comedy or a serious film. The monster is a bit goofy, but it's still neat. The plot is good, the characters are decent, and the ending is satisfying. Confusing moments, but overall, it's an interesting monster film.

  • Oct 07, 2011

    In a film burdened by endless scenes of crying peasants and Ewok-style human combat, it is the presence of Pulgasari, the metal mastdodon, that makes this film tolerable. For a life-long kaiju eiga fan like myself, it's a nice treat. For anyone else, it's the last movie you would ever want to see.

    In a film burdened by endless scenes of crying peasants and Ewok-style human combat, it is the presence of Pulgasari, the metal mastdodon, that makes this film tolerable. For a life-long kaiju eiga fan like myself, it's a nice treat. For anyone else, it's the last movie you would ever want to see.

  • Oct 30, 2009

    one of the most interesting backstories behind a film ever... and can you say north korean socialist godzilla ripoff :)

    one of the most interesting backstories behind a film ever... and can you say north korean socialist godzilla ripoff :)

  • Jun 16, 2009

    An iron-eating monster made out of rice helps a group of peasants overthrow a hedonistic evil emperor in feudal Korea. This North Korean Kaiju movie, made by a director that Kim Il Sung captured from South Korea, has cult classic all over it. Yes you can see the wrinkles in the monster's suit, but the plot is watchable and the ending, where the victorious Pulgasari continues to devour iron, does have some surprises.

    An iron-eating monster made out of rice helps a group of peasants overthrow a hedonistic evil emperor in feudal Korea. This North Korean Kaiju movie, made by a director that Kim Il Sung captured from South Korea, has cult classic all over it. Yes you can see the wrinkles in the monster's suit, but the plot is watchable and the ending, where the victorious Pulgasari continues to devour iron, does have some surprises.

  • Aug 16, 2008

    Hillariously low budget, exaggerate amature performances. But what would one expect from an underfunded project directed by an abducted south korean in north korea?

    Hillariously low budget, exaggerate amature performances. But what would one expect from an underfunded project directed by an abducted south korean in north korea?