Release Date: March 29th, 2013Actors: Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons, Jake Abel
Director: Andrew Niccol
Genre: Science Fiction
Current Location: In Theaters
When an unseen enemy threatens mankind by taking over their bodies and erasing their memories, Melanie will risk everything to protect the people she cares most about, proving that love can conquer all in a dangerous new world.
The trailer tricks you. Both Krista and I expected the film to start off different than the books and be in the point of view of Melanie before the Wanderer shares her body. Fans may like that the director stayed true to the novel (both of us haven't read The Host, mind you), but as a film, I would have connected better to both romances and Melanie's character had we learned of her first.
You probably think this one is a dud. With a very Rotten Tomato by critics, I suspected this movie to be a big ole flop too -- as bad, if not worse, than Beautiful Creatures which stayed in theaters for no longer than a blink. However, The Host succeeded in so many places where the other YA adaptation did not. And here's why.
The World Building: By far the best part of the film. No question. The world Meyer created on paper could have easily translated as hokey and corny. Peaceful aliens? Okay. But every twist, every turn led to something new and played with cliches -- to the point where I actually had no idea what was going to happen. And I quickly soaked in the ins and outs of the science fiction world where humans have been taken over by an alien species. Perhaps this wouldn't be as compelling if you've already read the novel. Maybe the film wouldn't be good at all if you know what's coming, but for someone who knew absolutely nothing, I loved every minute of it.
The Location and Visuals: Located in a desert landscape, the sets were gorgeous and so was each shot filmed. Plus, it didn't hurt that three of the male leads could be editorial models. Just saying.
The Music: A beautiful, haunting score. This helped each romance and scene immensely.
The Acting: Ronan knows how to portray a complex character. And her male leads were able to keep up with her sympathetic portrayal of both girls -- making it very easy to connect to her situation and her plight. Max Irons and Ronan probably had more chemistry than she did with Abel, but the romance also suffered from a bad script. Krista wasn't feeling the love at all between any of them. She called it "insta-love" but I'm leaning towards a "rushed-love" considering there just wasn't enough screen time to develop the world and two romances.
Now for the bad. Even with the great world, The Host wasn't all success. Krista had major beef with the script for throwing out cheesy lines every few minutes and I had a bigger beef with the voice overs. That's right. They decided to handle Melanie trapped inside the Wanderer by using voice overs for her. She'd shout out things like "No, don't!" or "You're stupid" and sometimes more lame things. It made me cringe, and there was literally only one time I thought it actually worked well.
Voice overs are a huge crutch, and Ronan's a good enough actress to be able to play the part without the narration. Hello, she's been nominated for an Academy Award (Atonement, anyone?) So I was slightly peeved by the constant Melanie interjections that felt out of place and completely unnecessary. If they started off with Melanie, shown us her life, and then proceeded from there, they most likely could have effectively eliminated every single voice over which would have made the movie a five-star, easy winner (and maybe even swayed critics, or maybe not. I have a theory they disliked it the moment it said "Meyer" on the bottom).
Ending on a positive, the film actually moves quite quickly unlike a lot of negative reviews have stated. I never felt it lag, and I was always interested to see where the story would end and how the characters would progress. Oh, and each male lead slaps the crap out of Melanie/Wanderer. I mean really slaps them. So that's new. Not saying its good or anything.