The Host

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In the future, the human race has been assimilated by extraterrestrial psychic parasites called “Souls”. Melanie Stryder, a human, is captured by a Seeker (Diane Kruger) and infused with a soul called “Wanderer”, in order to discover the location of one of the last pockets of non-assimilated humans. However, Melanie survives the procedure and begins to struggle for control of her body.

Wanderer discovers that Melanie was captured while scavenging for food with her brother Jamie and her boyfriend Jared Howe, and that they were looking for Melanie’s uncle Jeb, who lives in a cabin in the desert. Wanderer loses control of Melanie and the Seeker decides to be inserted into Melanie to get the information herself. With the help of Melanie, Wanderer escapes and makes her way to the desert, eventually found by a group of humans, including Jeb. She is taken to a series of underground caves, discovering that Jared and Jamie are living there too.

Wanderer is kept isolated from the others, who are hostile towards her because she is seen as another alien, and a potential threat. Eventually, she begins interacting with the humans, who start to slowly trust her, and develops feelings for one of them, Ian O’Shea, all the while beginning to believe the Souls shouldn’t steal other people’s free will. Although Melanie had instructed Wanderer not to tell anyone she is still alive, the survivors learn the truth from Jamie (the only person she was allowed to tell). Meanwhile, The Seeker learns that the community is located somewhere in the desert and follows Wanderer there, but fails to locate them. After nearly being captured by the Seeker, Ian’s brother Kyle attempts to kill Wanderer, but is stopped by Ian and another human, Wes, after which Jared also learns that Melanie is still alive.

Wanderer is horrified to learn that Doc, the community’s medic, has been experimenting on people infused with Souls, removing the Souls from their bodies and killing them, and isolates herself from the group, but agrees to help Jared infiltrate a Soul medical facility to steal technology to cure the ill Jamie. In the process, they are attacked by the Seeker, who is then shot and captured by Jeb. The Seeker is taken to the caves, where she is removed from her host and contained in a pod stolen by Wanderer, who then sends the Seeker to a distant planet.

Wanderer teaches Doc how to remove the Souls from people’s bodies without harming them, and asks to be removed from Melanie’s so Melanie can have her life back. Melanie protests, having bonded with Wanderer, but Doc goes through with the procedure. However, rather than letting Wanderer die, Doc inserts her into Pet (Emily Browning), a human who was left brain-dead after the Soul inside her was removed, thereby ensuring that Wanderer can live without harming another soul. Wanderer, now in Pet’s body, begins a relationship with Ian, while Melanie reunites with Jared. A few months later, Wanderer and the others meet another group of humans who have been joined by Souls who have decided to live peacefully among them.

REVIEW:

Boy, oh boy, oh boy! Stephanie Meyers, author of the greatest literary work ever (note the sarcasm), tries her hand in the sci-fi genre with The Host. Comparisons to the abomination known as The Twilight Saga aside, curiosity does have me wondering what her next project would be and how  it would fare.

What is this abut?

When an alien race implants a parasite soul named Wanderer into Melanie Stryder’s body, she resists the takeover. Soon, Melanie and Wanderer become reluctant allies as they go on a quest to track down the men they love in this sci-fi thriller.

What did I like?

Idea. Say what you will abut how everything plays out, you cannot deny that this is a pretty nice idea. In the hands of a more competent author, I believe we could be looking at the next great sci-fi flick in the same vein as 2001: A Space Odyssey or the Alien franchise. Yes, I went there when talking about a Stephanie Meyer work.

Shiny. Just the other day, I was thinking about Flight of the Navigator, then I saw the vehicles these aliens were driving/flying around in. At first, I was going to criticize the overuse of chrome. Then I thought it is really no worse than the pristine white walls of their buildings and clothes. The use of the chrome seems to be just a way for them to differentiate and separate themselves from the humans.

What didn’t I like?

Love. For some reason, Stephanie Meyers cannot seem to get past the overly dramatic, slow moving (which I will touch on soon), too emotional character whom the audience has no connection to. I say this because the film was actually starting to move along at a decent pace and then we get hit with this love triangle that I guess fits in with what is going on, but also feels like it could have been left out.

Not the dude. William Hurt does a good job with his role. He and Diane Kruger seem to be the only ones with any discernible acting skills in the film. However, for some reason it appears as if he’s doing some weird Jeff Bridges impression and I don’t really know why. If the filmmakers wanted Bridges, they should’ve gotten him. Since they didn’t, then Hurt should’ve just played the character his own way.

Uninteresting. The pacing in the picture is horrific. It is over 2 hrs and feels like 20! I’m all for developing characters and really setting up the story and all, but there comes a time where you just need to get to what the audience came to see say the hell with all this other bs. Someone apparently didn’t give this filmmaker that memo as this could not have been dragged out any longer. I literally felt like I needed t slit my wrists and gouge my eyes out just to feel something other than boredom!

It would be easy to sit here and compare this to those Twilight films because it was written by the same author, but the truth is The Host is something that is different…until it falls back into the trappings of Meyers’ writing. For me, I’m not a fan of seeing my alien invasion films reduced to nothing. This is just a film that is best avoided at all costs. If you want a god alien invasion film, try Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Hell, even the remake will work better than this waste of 2 hrs and 5 minutes that I will never get back.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

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