Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Host Review

The Host Review
I am sitting here, at my computer, stunned and baffled. I am sitting here wondering how "The Host" could have failed. From director Andrew Niccol, who also directed "Gattaca," my favorite science fiction film. Niccol also happens to be working with Saoirse Ronan and William Hurt, two stellar performers, as well as working in the science fiction arena once again, how could this have flopped? I did a little more research and I found out exactly why it flopped, the movie is based off a novel by Stephanie "Twilight" Meyer!

I hope the success, or lack thereof, with "The Host" inspires Meyer never to write again. Or at the very least, inspire Meyer to never agree for her books to become movies anymore. How this talentless hack, who proves again with "The Host" that she has a twisted view of humanity, gets anything published is insane to me. Then I remember that we live in a world which allows Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber to do the things they do, and I weep for our existence a little. I cannot, cannot believe for the life of me that people like this are allowed to make millions of dollars off of crap, while I sit here writing a computer for free.

"The Host" tells us in the opening moments that Earth has seen an unconditioned amount of peace. No more poverty, war or illness. But here's the catch, most of humanity isn't humanity anymore, the bodies of billions of humans are controlled by "souls" or a silly nickname for invading aliens. We do learn that there are pockets of resistance scattered all over the world. One person from one of these pockets is Melanie (Ronan), in the beginning of the movie she is captured and taken over by a soul, called The Wanderer. Most of the first half hour is The Wanderer going through Melanie's memories, trying to find where other humans are. As Melanie is struggling for control of her body, Melanie/The Wanderer escapes and goes back to the pack of humans Melanie used to live with. This group of humans includes Jared, Melanie's previous boyfriend. However, Jared believes she's an alien and wants her killed, although Melanie's uncle (William Hurt) sees this as an opportunity to...something. Jared becomes distant, while another boy among the humans begins to fall for the alien using Melanie's body.

Sound familiar yet? Exchange the humans and aliens with werewolves and vampires and you'll have a decent idea of where this story is heading. With "The Host," its quite clear that Meyer re-wrote "Twilight" in a science fiction setting rather than a fantasy setting. Right down to a tee, its the same story; an exhausting love triangle with blatant sexual anxiety undertones. The thing is, I am pretty sure that "The Host" is trying very hard to be worse than the "Twilight" films, if that is even a possible goal. The acting in this film is definitely worse than Taylor Lautner on a BAD day, the sets look like their from 1970's sci/fi films, the guns look like toys, the alien cars look like Roger Moore Bond cars, the list could go on and on, but I want to spare you the pain. This is a train-wreck, right down the center.

I don't mind if artists try to re-do their previous work. I think its even safe to say that Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan, two Hollywood juggernauts, have made entire careers doing the same thing. Each Tarantino movie boils down to revenge, while every Nolan film boils down to a tortured male lead getting himself into worse trouble. If Meyer wants to rehash "Twilight" her entire career, then I guess that is her privilege. However, Tarantino and Nolan are popular because they reinvigorate themselves every time they get behind the camera. All Meyer has done is take the same abstinence fable and just switched genres. Not terribly exciting is it?

Saorise Ronan actually does okay at making all the stupid dialogue matter. She is doing voice over work as Melanie while she acts out The Wanderer character, and it would make for an intriguing movie if the dialogue wasn't so laughably bad and if the story wasn't so insulting. The rest of the cast is just types, they have looks etched on their faces like they don't know why they signed on to do such a bad movie. I have to apologize to, but when the face of evil is a stiff Diane Kruger and the face of human resistance is a bunch of Hollister model-lookalikes, someone somewhere miscalculated the power of cinema.

"The Host" is a different kind of bad that almost rivals "Twilight." I like that the love triangle in "The Host" focuses mostly on love. What disturbs me the most about "Twilight" is that it sells the idea that girls won't be worth anything more than who they sleep with, and that idea being sold to 14, 15 and 16 year old girls. "The Host" at least tries to be more positive, but it boils down to the same thing at its core. Throw in the bad acting, script, sets, special effects and costumes and you've got a stomach-turning mess.

FINAL GRADE: F

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