I’m one of the only males on the planet Earth who actually admit to liking the “Twilight” movies and books. That being said, I have to say I was excited when I heard sci-fi Director Andrew Niccol was adapting Stephenie Meyer’s other novel, “The Host,” for the big screen. “Gattaca” was widely acclaimed and even “In Time” received mixed reviews. I was hoping Niccol would at least find a happy medium in between those two and give author Meyer’s fans something to be proud of. Unfortunately, I didn’t get what I wanted upon viewing the movie.
Aliens have invaded Earth and taken over the bodies of humans as hosts. The process erases the memories of most of the victims. However, a select few have been found to be strong-willed and fight for their individuality and humanity. Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan) is such a person. Her drive to save her brother (Chandler Canterbury) and boyfriend (Max Irons) from being captured by the aliens creates turmoil within. Melanie battles the entity inside her for control of her body and mind.
I’m going to compare “The Host” to “Twilight” throughout this review. There’s no way to avoid it, so I’ll just embrace it and suffer the wrath of millions of Meyer’s enthusiasts worldwide. The similarities are too obvious. Both feature a love triangle and deal with a female facing the loss of her humanity. Yes, one is a vampire and the other is an alien. Aren’t we just splitting hairs here?
Let’s talk about the good aspects of “The Host” to begin. The cinematography looks beautiful and adds grand scale to the production. With the exception of one or two scenes, the CGI is convincing and doesn’t pull you out of the film. That’s more than can be said about the “Twilight” movies. Most the acting comes off as genuine, although there’s definitely some heavy-handed dialogue for the actors to fumble through.
We now move on to the negative aspects found in “The Host.” Saoirse Ronan’s inner dialogue gets tiresome very quick. I can’t necessarily tell you what filmmakers could have used in place of it, but it became painful within the first few minutes after it started. Secondly, the action sequences in the film almost feel forced. I haven’t read the book, so I can’t tell you if they were added or expanded to give guys ANYTHING to enjoy when they’re girlfriends make them watch this.
There’s nothing too threatening about “The Host” as far as subject matter is concerned. It’s a bunch of new age-sounding gobbledegoo about living in harmony with everyone and striving for peace on Earth. It also endeavors to show people can overcome incredible obstacles if they just put their minds to the task. There are a few scenes of sensuality between the three main characters which some will find offensive.
The DVD release of “The Host” comes with a few special features for those interested. The featurette “Bringing ‘The Host’ To Life” includes interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. It also contains deleted scenes and “Seeker PSA” feature commentary.
“The Host” isn’t going to satisfy anyone except possibly fans of the book. It definitely won’t win over any serious sci-fi fans or compel them to pick up the novel. The movie is another failed and dull attempt at starting a young adult fantasy franchise. It’s even left open for a sequel, which given the movie’s poor box office performance, we’ll never get (at least on film).
“The Host” is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and as a digital download.
For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:
Blu-ray Review: “Oz the Great and Powerful”
Blu-ray Review: “Jack the Giant Slayer”
Japan Gets a Taste of Comic Book Convention Life