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August 30, 2013

6

The Host

by Franz Patrick


Host, The (2013)
★ / ★★★★

A perfect world now exists because of extraterrestrial beings who have taken over the planet via controlling people’s bodies. Meanwhile, humans who managed to escape the main invasion are continually on the run. When Melanie (Saoirse Ronan) plunges to her death, her body is taken to the infirmary. An alien called Wanderer, just about the size of one’s palm, is put inside her. But Melanie is an anomaly. Instead of her mind and body being completely taken over by the parasite, she remains to have some control. Wanderer cannot help but be fascinated by the human experience despite the fact that it is assigned to go through her host’s memory in order to discover the rebels’ hideout.

“The Host,” based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer, falls into the trappings of syrupy romance despite the fact that its universe offers a whole lot more than dealing with trivial problems like being torn between two boys. Since its approach is small when the bigger picture demands to be explored, the majority of the picture ends up being a bore, mostly taking place in a cave where there is in-fighting. It does not warrant two hours of our time.

The protagonist lacks depth. The screenplay has not found a way to circumvent the fact that since Melanie’s body is split into having two minds, every thought she has is expressed–whether it be the original Melanie or the alien’s. As a result, the lack of subtlety makes the character one-dimensional when she really should be the most complex. Ronan tries to make the most out of the role, but she really cannot do much other than look sad or robotic depending on the situation.

There is a lack of a detestable villain. The Seeker (Diane Kruger) is potentially interesting in the beginning. Kruger plays her to be very calculating and cold. However, once the hunt for Melanie’s body begins, we see her mostly driving a helicopter, a car, or shooting at people. Later in the film, she changes a little bit (prior to going under the knife) but I had a difficult time believing the charade due to the absence of a believable, smooth character arc. Many changes within the characters seem to occur on a whim which is at times confusing–or just very poorly written.

The flashbacks are corny and elementary. One of the things that bother me in the movies is when I sense that characters are being introduced as if we were watching a parade. The flashbacks employ this approach and so when events are supposed to be sweet or emotional, I caught myself snickering at the mawkishness of the scene.

Based on the screenplay and directed by Andrew Niccol, “The Host” offers some neat images like a field of wheat grown inside a massive cave, but pretty images do not save the material from a deficiency of ambition or even a sense of very energetic fun. For the most part, one will find himself waiting for something to happen. When it finally does, the rewards are few and unfulfilling.

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6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Aug 30 2013

    A terrible, terrible, terrible film. Good point on the “watching a parade” mentality they follow here, too. Nice review.

    Reply
  2. Sep 1 2013

    Great review. I never bothered to watch it, because it seemed very dull and boring to me.

    Reply
    • Sep 18 2013

      Longing looks abound! …Also, I confused the guys a lot. Even though I paid attention, I kept asking, “Wait, is he the one who liked her first? How are the two guys related?”

      Meyer is probably writing the second book. Oy.

      Reply
      • Sep 18 2013

        Yeah, I am not a fan of Meyer… To say it with your word: Oy! :D

        Reply
  3. Oct 18 2013

    I agree that “dealing with trivial problems like being torn between two boys” was quite an irrelevant thing here. Without that, the film could have been maybe not exactly much better, but less confusing. It’s just another one of these “changes within the characters that seem to occur on a whim”. How does the guy who wanted to kill you yesterday suddenly fall in love with you today?

    Reply
    • Oct 19 2013

      If Meyer does write a sequel, I hope no movie studio would be stupid enough to green light production. Wasn’t this a box office flop? Silver lining!

      What did you think of the open-ended ending?

      Reply

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