Title: The Host
Play time: 2h 5min
Director: Andrew Niccol
Screenwriters: Andrew Niccol
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons, Jake Abel, Diane Kruger, William Hurt, Chandler Canterbury
Earth Resisting The Aliens in The Host 2013 Movie
In The Host, aliens resembling little glowing spiders have crossed the galaxy to settle our planet by body-snatching all of its inhabitants, giving their previously human eyes an otherworldly grey glow. The aliens do their work by pacifying and assimilating the characteristics of their target species, changing Earth’s society into a gleaming, oppressive, unnaturally peaceful version of its previous self. But pockets of resistance remain — a small group of humans who have are determined not to be implanted with the alien “souls.” As the film opens, one such rebel, a teenage girl named Melanie and played by the talented Saoirse Ronan, is captured by the aliens and implanted with the “soul” of a recently-arrived alien that calls itself “Wanderer.” But, as apparently sometimes happens, a vestige of Melanie’s consciousness remained inside the body of the host, able to exert some amount of control (and to argue with its new inhabitant in voiceover). Before long, Melanie has persuaded Wanderer to escape the aliens’ facility and to join up with a group of rebels in their desert compound, where… Melanie falls in love with one young blonde hunk and Wanderer with another, and who will Melanie’s double-inhabited body end up hooking up with?
The Host Part 2 is Based on the Novel by Stephenie Meyer
Yes, The Host, based on a novel by Twilight author Stephenie Meyer, is as dumb as it sounds. This is an alien invasion movie that consists mostly of Saoirse Ronan and Disembodied Voice of Saoirse Ronan arguing with each other over whether and when and with whom the body of Saoirse Ronan should get it on. (Sample voiceover from the disembodied voice: “Why is he looking at you? Why are you looking at him?”)
To its credit, the story is not as weirdly prudish as Twilight, which conflated sex with the apocalypse, but it’s if anything even more ridiculous, especially since the two “love stories” at its core are purely theoretical: there’s no reason “Melanie” should fall in love with random blonde dude #1 and “Wanderer” with random blonde dude #2. And Meyer again proves that she has zero understanding of storytelling or drama. Once Melanie’s body is deposited with the rebels, absolutely nothing of interest happens — we’re told that Melanie is being hunted by the aliens, but the movie stops cold so that she can bicker with herself and contemplate kissing.
Stephenie Meyer is Bad at Storytelling
The film was written and directed by Andrew Niccol, who wrote The Truman Show and wrote and directed Gattaca and the underrated S1m0ne. He helps make The Host a minor triumph of production design, with the aliens’ metallic helicopters and sports cars contrasting nicely with the barren red expanses of the Utah desert setting. But everything else about the film is an embarrassment. This is the kind of movie where the plucky young heroine is named “Melanie,” the hunky love interest is named “Jared Howe,” the mysterious alien entity is named “Wanderer,” and the frontiersman rebel leader is named “Jebediah.” It’s the kind of movie where you can tell if someone’s an alien by looking in his eyes, and when they don’t want to be discovered they wear sunglasses. It’s the kind of movie where the human rebels spend god knows how long on unsuccessful laboratory attempts to extract an alien from a host body, and then it turns out that the alien “can only be removed by kindness.” Stephenie Meyer is a curse on cinema and storytelling and science-fiction and horror and art, and Niccol here is not helping.