Directed by Andrew Niccol
Stephenie Meyer once again has proven that she knows her audience well. After having brought millions of copies of the Twilight Saga stories to teens (and moms) all around the globe, Meyer subsequently satisfies her fans’ cravings by introducing an ‘all-new but of the same type’ romantic relationship in the form of a gripping novel. While the original novel is way out of Twilight’s league (largely because of the excellent narrative it offers), the screen adaptation proves to be suitable for the hardcore Twilight fans only.
Let’s dive into the details. The movie starts surprisingly well. Keeping in mind not everyone knows the story, the narration clearly informs the audience about the world portrayed. Alien spirits have taken over human bodies and control the planet from various bases while a small group of humans continue their fight to freedom. A sudden, but interesting turn in events adds fuel to the fire: the story sets to solve ‘the problem’ between the aliens and the humans once and for all.
Like any other movie with aliens, The Host gets to the point and motive of the story quite early. Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan), the female protagonist, is captured by the eccentric aliens and thereby forms into a host for her alien ‘friend’ who likes to be called Wanda. From there onwards an internal focalization between Melanie and Wanda, who has control over Melanie’s body, takes place continuously until the end. The internal narration is odd at first, but gradually you will get used to hearing two voice overs coming from the body of the same person.
The acting throughout the scenes is somewhat difficult to review as it really depends on who’s acting. With a cast varied like this one, much more could have been done — that’s for sure. Take for example ‘the tragic scene’ somewhere in the middle of the movie. It was a touching scene: a step in the right direction, but that’s where it stays. The emotions brought on-screen by the fairly young actors have little effect on the pathos needed to create a desired shocking effect and therefore heighten drama even more.
Perhaps I expected too much of The Host mainly because of Andrew Niccol. Known for Gattaca (1997), Niccol did a poor job in directing this adaptation. While ethical values such as ‘good versus evil’ have been injected in the storyline, their only function is to fill-up the movie as Niccol hasn’t elaborated on them. Instead he chooses to focus on a cliché love triangle and even manages to create some comedy. The very fact that Niccol doesn’t exactly steer the movie to a particular destination creates among many other things confusion within the audience. You never know what’s going to happen next in the first few minutes with each scene, but deep inside you are fully aware how the story is going to end.
Therefore The Host is too superficial to be called a recommendable movie. Don’t get me wrong though: many aspects, in fact everything, have played out quite nicely — on to the point. Characters have been developed neatly and the visuals aren’t too bad. However, Niccol’s unwillingness to expand and refine on the strong fundamentals (i.e. the story included) with poor acting make the movie mediocre on all points. Would it have been produced by a different director with a different skill set, The Host could have been a much more charismatic movie.