The Host (2013)

The Host Movie Poster

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.

D

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8 thoughts on “The Host (2013)

  1. I didn’t even realize Niccol directed this one, that makes me even sadder. I absolutely hated it, I might even put it below most of the Twilight movies for the sheer fact that it’s ruining something I care about; Sci-Fi. Good review

    • I know right! I have the same feeling towards Twilight, it’s ruined something I’m always excited about – vampires (and werelwolves). So they both deserve to get as many Razzies as possible. Thanks for responding.

  2. This movie is god awful! But you know what, I enjoyed it. I guess it was one of those ‘so bad its good’ movies.

    • Glad you agree with me Movie Man. Yeah, exactly, when Melanie started hosting Wanda, I abruptly started laughing…in the cinema. Awkward… 😛

    • It’s always good to keep up a skeptical attitude when it comes to Meyer’s work, but the novel was pretty refreshing and enjoyable. The movie on the other hand is a direct insult to the Sci-Fi genre. Thanks for responding Karen!

  3. I can’t believe they tried to turn “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” into that teen-drama-crap that was this movie. Look at the ratings this movie has from people under the age of 18 on IMDb! They are giving this crap 10 stars! 10 STARS?!

    • Thanks for stopping by Jaime. I haven’t seen that movie myself, but I know exactly what you mean! Also take a look at the ratings of Twilight by (female) teens under 18. While this movie may not be the best (or in fact real crap), it is indeed a continuing Twilight story — only this time it’s not one dumb Bella, but dumb Bella talking to an even dumber one. Yet these kind of movies, shamefully, attest to the fact that greedy Hollywood moneymakers without a taste in movies still exist nowadays. Real shame.

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