The Host – Film Review
We can at least be thankful that The Host isn’t going to be a zombie sequel spilling horror like Stephenie Meyers’ other effort.
That’s pretty much all we can be thankful for, though.
It’s a Stephenie Meyer movie. Duh.
TL;DR An unoriginal yet compelling-enough sci-fi setup is squandered on a teen angst romance fluffball with absolutely no balls. A cop out ending (just like Breaking Dawn Part 2) seals the horrible deal. At least the 2 lead actresses are pretty. That’s worth a star, right? 2 out of 5 stars.
Without Diane and Saoirse, it’s a 1.
The plot starts out by filling us in about a near 100% successful alien invasion of Earth. Aliens called “Souls” live inside humans (The Host. Get it?), which has the unfortunate side effect of killing off the original personality. The Souls then devote themselves to “perfecting” a planet by removing all pain, deceit, war etc. Some Hosts aren’t so submissive, though, which is where Saoirse comes in. She’s Melanie Stryder, a human trying to survive the invasion. She’s caught and infused with Wanderer (later, just Wanda). Blah blah blah Melanie convinces Wanda to give her a break and take her back to her human allies. She does. This includes a love interest, and then when they find other survivors, a love interest for Wanda, too. This love triangle is so cool, it’s almost a square! Diane Kruger is a relentless bitch who wants to eradicate mankind for good. Eventually Wanda and Melanie realise they cannot co-exist, and choose to sacrifice Wanda so the humans can survive.
But psych! A random other body is just lying around somewhere off stage for our heroes to transplant Wanda into so everyone can get their happy ending. And this other body just happens to have the extra good fortune of being unrevivable otherwise, so there are no moral complications. Happy day!
Gosh, The Host is so unambitious it’s painful. At least Twilight was earnestly trying to do everything it could to see just how far fangirls are willing to put up with something unabashedly terrible. The Host just gave up at “love triangle” and cruised to the bloodless finish line.
Why I hate this movie:
Not even Diane, our nutjob villain, gets properly taken down. Wanda just randomly reveals (despite earlier claims that it was impossible) that you can totally remove Souls from humans. And hey, sometimes (read: every time when it’s a main character involved) the original human consciousness survived. They’re all winners!
Worse, instead of splatting Diane’s Soul on the ground or dealing with it properly, Wanda just sends it off into the vacuum of space in “exile,” so it won’t be able to hurt Earth again. Get some balls, bitch. Your species has successfully assimilated several worlds. Where’s your sense of superiority and entitlement? Amp it up. Diane did.
The love triangle’s third prong, Jake Abel (you might recognise him from other angsty teen fantasy/sci-fi romance movies, like I Am Number Four and Percy Jackson), is a shallow addition. Even for Meyer. At first he wants to straight-up murder Wanda. But then, for no significant reason, falls completely in love with her. Because she’s pretty, I guess? Or did she just smell really good? Those are the only 2 reasons for characters to fall in love in Meyer stories, right?
In an attempt to drown out the lack of depth in literally everything, the film’s score is insistent and blaring. “Feel something!”
Wanda’s decision to help Melanie is too easy. She says that she’s done the whole assimilation thing a few times before, so she’s obviously a bit of a pro (just look at that name. “Wanderer.” So moody. So chic). But Melanie’s like “Hey yo, gurl. You wanna betray your race so I can ogle that guy from Red Riding Hood?” And Wanda does. There’s also some excuse about wanting to make sure her brother’s okay, but he’s so secondary to the burning hot love triangle of angst that it’s not important.
The way Wanda’s car flips when she swerves slightly is faker than Blake Lively’s boobs.
Why would Wanda be surprised that the humans are trying to find a way to extract Souls?
Diane’s Host, when she wakes up, reveals that she was forcing her Soul to pursue Wanda/Melanie so she could get closer to a method of extraction. I guess that explains why you tried to shoot at her human friends, then.
Oh, and the only worthwhile thing to come out of the love triangle (Wanda’s decision to sacrifice herself to allow Melanie back her life) is invalidated by the bullshit, ass-pull happy ending. At least Emily Browning’s moving up in the world. Nothing is as baseless and time wasteful as Sucker Punch.
Reasons to watch:
Saoirse looks really cute. Her hair’s better than it was in Hanna.
Diane Kruger looks really cute. She’s perfect for the role of “slightly unhinged, modelesque superbitch.”
Despite the ending, I kinda got on board with Wanda’s dilemma. And her decision to make the heroic sacrifice.
The car stuff is all pretty cool. The crash, while unnatural, looks great. And it’s done with an actual car, not heavy CGI. Later, to avoid capture and implantation, a pair of humans crash their truck head-on into a wall. It looks crunchy. And the Souls’ cars are all shiny and pretty silver beasts. I can dig it.
Diane’s mini-arc about reacting to her manifesting aggression (Souls are not allowed to shoot at people. Especially when they accidentally murder a fellow soul in the process) is exciting. I’m impressed by her dedication.
Oh, and Melanie’s aunt is an unforgiving, bitch-slapping bitch to Wanda. I lol’d.
Take Diane and Saoirse out, and the blandness would consume everything in sight. No amount of budget and hype can save this mushy, moody teen bore masquerading as a sci-fi epic. 2 out of 5 stars.