Movie Review: The Host
I’m a big fan of Stephenie Meyer’s works. If you read my about page, you’ll know that I used to write Twilight fan fiction; you don’t do that unless you’re a fan of the original work! As much as I liked Twilight (my obsession – and it really was that at one point – has waned greatly, which is why I used the past tense there), I thought The Host was a much superior story. I’ve said more than once, when asked which I liked better, “The Host is a better story; it just has less memorable characters.” And I truly mean that. Melanie and Wanda and Jared and Ian are great, but they just don’t have the staying power of Edward and Bella. I can’t really explain why, either; I think they’re better characters, just less memorable.
In case you don’t know the premise, it’s been said that The Host is a less gruesome, romantic version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I’m not familiar with that movie, but based on its title alone, I’d say that’s probably pretty accurate. A group of aliens, called Souls, have come to Earth. The catch is that they can’t live on their own (except for inside the special transport containers); they must have a host body. Most of Earth’s population has succumbed to the Souls, but there is a pocket of people who are still human. Melanie Stryder is one.
The film opens with Melanie’s capture. She attempts suicide (there’s another suicide later in the movie as well, which contribute to its PG13 rating), but is rescued by the Souls and healed. An old soul called Wanderer (given this name because she’s been hosted by creatures in several planets) is placed in Melanie’s body. The trick is that Melanie is too strong to relinquish control.
What the story amounts to is Mrs. Meyer’s go-to: a love triangle of supernatural proportions. Instead of vampires and werewolves, this time it’s two minds in one body, both in love with the same man (Wanderer falls in love with Jared, Melanie’s boyfriend, thanks to Melanie’s memories).
I’m going to leave my synopsis there so as not to spoil the whole thing for you, should you decide to go see it.
Compared to the book, I think the movie did a fine job. Some of the scenes I would’ve like to have seen weren’t there; looking back, though, I honestly don’t know how they would’ve done them without it becoming silly looking, so I forgive the filmmakers for leaving them out (lol). The makeup artist did an amazing job making Melanie/Wanda look dehydrated and nearly dead out in the Arizona desert. The special effects team did a great job with the mirrors that reflect light down, allowing wheat to grow in the depths of a cave. The actors were fine; I don’t think they made or broke the film. The props were not at all what I imagined while reading the book, and yet upon watching the movie, they were completely natural in the setting. The cars with the mirror paint jobs were pretty cool.
Those were some of my favorite things in the movie, as well as my main critique. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the scenes I wish they’d included but understand why they didn’t are Wanderer’s descriptions of the other planets she’s lived on. Great imagery in those pages.
Overall, I give this movie a B+. Or 4 stars (on a 5 star scale). Whichever you prefer.
Have you seen The Host? Do you plan to? Or read the book? I’m interested in your thoughts; leave them in the comments below :).