THE HOST Movie Review
There are some books that are considered unfilmable. Until recent technological advances, Life of Pi was one of them. However that turned out to be a fantastic movie that went on to win a number of awards and accolades. Stephanie Meyer‘s The Host had a long wrong road to development because studios and stars didn’t think it would translate well to the screen. The difference between Life of Pi and The Host though, is that those naysayers were right.
The Host takes place on a post-invasion Earth that is nearly perfect thanks to the alien overlords. It’s a benevolent invasion where there’s now no crime, no murder, no lying, no pollution. The only downside is that humans as we know them, are nearly extinct. The aliens, known as “souls”, inhabit a body and take control. Oftentimes, the human inside dies, but sometimes they fight back.
Melanie (Saorise Ronin) is part of the human resistance when her body is taken over by Wanderer, a 1000 year old soul who’s seen and conquered a dozen planets. However, Melanie fights back by screaming in her head, showing her the lives destroyed and those she loved. It’s through these visions that she wins Wanderer over and they head to the humans’ sanctuary in the desert.
The inner monologue of Melanie vs. Wanderer is not fun to watch. Despite Ronin’s talents, there’s only so many ways you can shoot someone having a discussion in their mind. It’s only when they get to the human compound and she can play her dual identity against others that the film becomes even mildly interesting.
The elements are all competent enough – solid acting by the cast, directing by Andrew Niccol – but the basic premise just made for a dull film. I love the theme of love conquering all. I love that this is finally a science fiction film directly aimed for female fans, especially since those are so rare. I love the refreshing idea of a benevolent invasion. However, none of that equalled up to a entertaining film.
The obvious hope is for this to become the the next big franchise, a la Twilight. While The Host is dreadfully boring and borderline unwatchable, the themes put down and the breadcrumbs left for sequels do show hints of quality. The worldbuilding, with the vehicles of Chrome and the way the Souls/Aliens have inhabited the Earth could make for an interesting story. The terrible inner-voice work that encumbers the first half the film will be gone, as well as the odd love quadrangle tension. The sequel hasn’t been written yet, but whatever it turns out to be has to be better than this.
Rating: 1 star out of 5
The Host is in theaters nationwide starting today.