Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Interesting but Disappointing
Ever since The Lovely Bones, Saoirse Ronan has made a name for herself. She has proven that beyond her unique voice, she can also do a great job at acting as well. She knows just how to link to a character that her audience can connect with and ultimately love, which may be a reason why the casting director picked her for the lead in The Host. One of the major criticisms that Stephenie Meyer’s previous series received was the emotionless Kristen Stewart, but just try to remember that the book had her character purposefully disconnected and unspecific. Did the same problem arise in The Host? Not at all, in fact, it was critically important for her character to display a wide assortment of emotions; however, the movie still fell short when coming into contact with an unneeded love story.
This film opens with the introduction to Melanie (Ronan), a member of the human resistance. You see, in a fashion incredibly similar to Invasion of the Body Snatchers, aliens came down long ago and started taking over the bodies of humans, except unlike Invasion of the Body Snatchers, they won, and most of the Earth was filled with them, save for a few humans left. They catch Melanie right in the beginning of the film and implant an alien into her body. Immediately, we begin hearing the thoughts of Melanie, while the alien version, Wanda, spoke. Wanda goes through the motions of, well, turning human. She begins to feel human emotions and ultimately joins the human resistance. After her tail is the obsessed Seeker (Diane Kruger), who will stop at anything to obliterate the humans, even though she claims they offer peace.
The first half of the movie, you may find it painstakingly boring as Wanda just stares at the camera relying Melanie’s memories so the audience can catch up. Not only does it feel boring, but it also feels annoying at first to listen to this girl talk to herself nonstop. You do get used to the constant fighting between the two, but when Wanda starts to come around, so does the audience; however, the audience shouldn’t feel like that to begin with. One way they could have avoided this was maybe to go through the past, instead of using flashbacks to tell the story, there was obviously enough data to use, more so than your typical flashback film. Then again, if they just went through the past and started at the beginning, it may just feel too much like The Invasion of the Body Snatchers again, which we have all seen one too many times throughout our lives.
Let’s not forget that this is another story by Stephenie Meyer, a woman that may as well be referred to as the paranormal Nicholas Sparks. Her stories, she insists, must be romantic, and that is completely fine. The story involved in The Host could be told much easier without the romance. Yes, to a degree, it was important, to show another range of emotion from the alien, but it did not need to be the focus of the film. Almost every movie has some kind of romance element involved, but that doesn’t mean that it is a romance movie. Sometimes movies just work better categorized in other areas…such as action. In some ways, it wasn’t a romance, because the resistance was doing plenty of other things at the same time, but the implications that it was all just a lovey-dovey story were tremendous, and that took away from the story. However, the way they implemented the love triangle in this was respectfully pretty interesting, and something you may find unique.
The acting in the film was actually pretty decent. Ronan was a good choice for this role, but her talents had the possibility of being used in something else. However, if they were to use a different actress, the overall positive effects the movie did have may have been lost forever. The trailers to this film make it look like something almost completely different. What it is: an alien story that has a fragment of promise. What it isn’t: action.
Go check out The Host today in theaters if you get the chance.