“Twilight” and “Hunger Games” fans now have a fix since the “Twilight Saga” is apparently over and “Hunger Games” is awaiting its next installment. Stephenie Meyer’s The Host released in theaters on March 29, 2013 with less than enthusiastic critical response but audiences have been more receptive.
Starring Saoirse Ronan (City of Ember) as Melanie, Diane Kruger as the Seeker, William Hurt as Uncle Jeb, Max Irons as Jared, and Jake Abel as Ian, “The Host” brings Stephenie Meyer’s novel to life on the big screen. Critics have panned the movie for being “dreary,” but I thought it was livelier than or at least as lively as the book.
Directed by Andrew Niccol, “The Host” follows the character Wanderer (an alien Bella-like “Soul” with a submissive, subservient personality) as she is implanted into the feistier Melanie. After implantation, Melanie refuses to fade away and complicates Wanderer’s life by remaining in her head.
Wanderer is assigned the task of finding Melanie’s human friends, a task Melanie also wants to pursue, and as Melanie takes more control of Wanderer, she eventually leads Wanderer into the desert to find them.
The tension in the movie follows three story lines: Melanie and Wanderer are striving for dominance in Melanie’s body; Melanie’s friends and family don’t trust Wanderer; and the Seeker is in pursuit of Wanderer.
Besides Wanderer having Bella’s personality, “The Host” has other similarities to “Twilight.” Instead of golden eyes, the eyes of the implanted hosts turn silver. Instead of a wolf and a vampire, Wanderer loves Ian and Melanie in her head loves Jared. The internal and external conversations between Wanderer and Melanie lead to some intentional and unintentional humorous moment as Melanie/Wanderer argues with herself about the two men in her life.
Although neither of the young male leads has the panache of Edward Cullen or Jacob Black, this is more than compensated for by scene stealer William Hurt as Uncle Jeb. And Saoirse Ronan plays her conflicted Melanie/Wanderer well in spite of unintentional laughable scripting moments.
“The Host” with Saoirse Ronan, Diane Kruger, William Hurt, Max Irons, and Jake Abel should appeal to the female teen and tween fans of movies like “Twilight” and “Hunger Games” especially since it fills the void between sci-fi/supernatural teen romance movies.
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