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Review: The Host

Mar. 29, 2013by: Chris Bumbray

PLOT: In a future where humanity has been almost entirely eliminated by an alien species that takes over their bodies, one of the few remaining survivors- Melanie (Saoirse Ronan) is captured and implanted with an alien named Wanderer. However, Melanie refuses to go without a fight, and her subconscious battles Wanderer for control of her body. Eventually, they come to an uneasy truce and set off in search of Melanies young brother, Jamie (Chandler Canterbury) and lover Jared (Max Irons), with another alien, Seeker (Diane Kruger) in hot pursuit.

REVIEW: Going in, I wasn't terribly optimistic about THE HOST. I must admit that, probably like a lot of this site's readers, Im somewhat biased against the work of Stephenie Meyer, the author of TWILIGHT, and the novel this is based on. This is the result of suffering through five TWILIGHT movies, and I just cant help it. However, there were a few things about THE HOST that intrigued me going in, most important of which is the presence of Andrew Niccol as director.

Niccol, in addition to last years so-so Justin Timberlake vehicle, IN TIME, wrote THE TRUMAN SHOW, and directed two excellent movies, GATTACA, and LORD OF WAR. So I went into THE HOST with an open-mind, hoping that Niccol and Meyer- working outside the TWILIGHT franchise- would surprise me with an intriguing new tale. To be sure, THE HOST actually starts off pretty damn well. The idea that aliens take over their human hosts is nothing new. Its a classic sci-fi plot, going back to Robert Heinlein, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, and more. Nothings scarier than the idea of your free will being taken away, and a story about one girls subconscious battling it out with an alien parasite is really cool.

But, after a promising opening, which establishes a nicely sinister alien world where everyone dresses in white, acts (too) pleasantly, and drive silver plated cars (why?), the action moves to the desert, where Wanderer and Melanie meet up with a band of survivors. These survivors include Melanies survivalist uncle, Jeb (William Hurt), as well as her brother and ex-lover. Jeb re-names Wanderer Wanda, and she begins to bond with the survivors, and even falls in love with one of them, the sensitive Ian (Jake Abel). So far, so good- right?

Ummm, kinda. Hurt is great (although his southern accent comes and goes), but its crazy how quickly Wanda is able to win everyone over even though they know shes an alien. If she was posing as Melanie, that might have been interesting, but due to a pesky tell where the eyes of an infected human get recolored white, thats impossible. In fact, everyone is won over too quickly, from the little brother, and the boyfriend, to Melanie and Wanda themselves. Everyone is so selfless it starts to really reek of TWILIGHT, especially once the tepid love triangle kicks in.

Still, even at its very worst; THE HOST is a far better movie than TWILIGHT. It benefits strongly by Saoirse Ronan, who cant help but be utterly likable in whatever she does. Ronan also manages to convey quite well that one body is hosting two distinctly different beings, with her adopting a neutral accent as Wanda, and a lightly-southern one for Melanie. Max Irons, who plays Melanies boyfriend, also strikes me as a really solid actor. Neither him, nor Ronan phone in their performances, as I suspect Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson have in the last few TWILIGHTs. Jake Abel is also quite good as the other love interest, although his role is extremely two-dimensional- with him and Wanda falling in love so quickly its not terribly convincing. Meyer obivously likes her love triangles. The adults- William Hurt and Diane Kruger- also try their best, although again, Hurt character seems wildly irresponsible by taking in an alien that could be a spy, while Krueger isnt given much to do but look angry throughout as she hunts Wanda/Melanie down.

For his part, Niccol gives THE HOST an interesting visual style, and also makes room for a surprisingly good score by Antonio Pinto. But, THE HOST almost completely falls apart in the last half-hour due to some all-too convenient plot twists, and a tacked on ending that feels like it was only put on to make way for a sequel. While I have no idea whether THE HOST will make enough of a dent at the box office to inspire a franchise, at least I can say that its much better than TWILIGHT, and even occasionally comes close to being a good film. Its too bad that the lousy climax and too many thoroughly dopey characters (with dopey dialogue) muss it up.

Source: JoBlo.com

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+11
4:04AM on 03/29/2013
I'll admit, that's a better rating than I expected.

But I'll still pass :)
I'll admit, that's a better rating than I expected.

But I'll still pass :)
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7:30PM on 03/29/2013
Can we ban Stephanie Meyer from getting her work adapted let alone write again?
Can we ban Stephanie Meyer from getting her work adapted let alone write again?
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5:45AM on 03/29/2013

Andrew Niccol...

What happened ?
What happened ?
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10:54AM on 03/29/2013
One needs to pay his taxes !
One needs to pay his taxes !
7:27PM on 03/29/2013

Saw this at a free screening

Can't believe you didn't note how awful it was to have an inner dialog throughout the ENTIRE movie...Literally half of the dialog is her arguing with herself in her head, it's the most awful thing ever, and really just cements the fact that inner dialog in movies just doesn't work.
Can't believe you didn't note how awful it was to have an inner dialog throughout the ENTIRE movie...Literally half of the dialog is her arguing with herself in her head, it's the most awful thing ever, and really just cements the fact that inner dialog in movies just doesn't work.
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4:36PM on 03/31/2013
I just got back from it with a friend Chris and your final 5/10 was generous. It was fucking horrendous. Ronan was the only good thing about it in my opinion and even she had very little to work with.
I just got back from it with a friend Chris and your final 5/10 was generous. It was fucking horrendous. Ronan was the only good thing about it in my opinion and even she had very little to work with.
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3:59PM on 03/29/2013
Well from my understanding not even TwiHards were fans of the book so maybe this movie will bomb after all.
Well from my understanding not even TwiHards were fans of the book so maybe this movie will bomb after all.
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10:59AM on 03/29/2013
Better than Turdlight ?
Not difficult but true nonetheless !
A sequel ?
Considering she hasnt wrote it yet (and might never will), we MAY escape this one.
Andrew Nicol ?
I guess he needs to pay his taxes like everyone !
The musical score ?
Beautiful... The best thing of the film, actually.
Better than Turdlight ?
Not difficult but true nonetheless !
A sequel ?
Considering she hasnt wrote it yet (and might never will), we MAY escape this one.
Andrew Nicol ?
I guess he needs to pay his taxes like everyone !
The musical score ?
Beautiful... The best thing of the film, actually.
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7:36AM on 03/29/2013
Oh cool this movie is finally out!! Now I'll know what I shouldn't go see this weekend, or any other weekend, or any day of any week of any time of ever.
Oh cool this movie is finally out!! Now I'll know what I shouldn't go see this weekend, or any other weekend, or any day of any week of any time of ever.
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6:06AM on 03/29/2013
if someone else pays I'll go. I even gave the first twilight a try so why not
if someone else pays I'll go. I even gave the first twilight a try so why not
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+3
4:30AM on 03/29/2013
Seriously, they need to just stop adapting Meyer's books. Hollywood doesn't need any more of this crap, it has enough.
Seriously, they need to just stop adapting Meyer's books. Hollywood doesn't need any more of this crap, it has enough.
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10:47AM on 03/29/2013

9% on Rotten Tomatoes

...and that's with quite a few reviews posted. Damn, that makes Twilight almost look mediocre if you're going off that alone. Somone stop giving Meyer money to do things with her lack of talent!
...and that's with quite a few reviews posted. Damn, that makes Twilight almost look mediocre if you're going off that alone. Somone stop giving Meyer money to do things with her lack of talent!
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5:47AM on 03/29/2013

Crappy movie that will bomb!

Look at all the knock off twilight movies to come out recently and you will see how they all bombed and were horrible. This will be no different.
Look at all the knock off twilight movies to come out recently and you will see how they all bombed and were horrible. This will be no different.
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1:06PM on 03/29/2013

Twihards will love it. Everyone else will prefer dental surgery over watching it.

You know a movie is gonna be pretty bad when it has nickel back in the background for the trailer. I guess like a nickel back album, if I bought this movie for a nickel then saw it I would definitely want my nickel back.
You know a movie is gonna be pretty bad when it has nickel back in the background for the trailer. I guess like a nickel back album, if I bought this movie for a nickel then saw it I would definitely want my nickel back.
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