Movie Review: The Host (2013)

Posted: November 24, 2013 in Drama
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the host

The earth is at peace, there are no more wars, or hunger or hatred, but it is not a peace of Earth’s own choosing, Earth has been invaded by a race of aliens who use the human body as a host, from which to live.  Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan) is one of the few humans who have survived the parasitic invasion.  She is tracked down by The Seeker (Diane Kruger) but rather than be a host to the alien, Melanie jumps out of a window.  She survives, and is healed by Healer Fords.(Marcus Lyle Brown)  The alien, called the Wanderer enters Melanie’s body, and her eyes take on an otherworldly sheen, but Melanie’s still alive inside the body being used by the Wanderer.  The more the Wanderer hears about Melanie, and her devotion to her brother, Jamie (Chandler Canterbury) and boyfriend Jared Howe (Max Irons) she helps Melanie escape from The Seeker. Melanie/The Wanderer head for Melanie’s uncle Jeb’s (William Hurt) cabin.  They find Uncle Jeb, Jared and Jamie, but they see Melanie’s eyes and think she’s an alien.  How does Melanie convince her uncle, boyfriend, and brother that she’s alive and the Wanderer has helped her get to them?

The Host is a silly movie.  How do parasitic space aliens that look like shimmering sea anemones invade the earth and attach themselves to human hosts, not only in one country but around the world.  The viewers are spared those details, but those details are necessary to make the movie plausible.  Then there’s the romance, there’s not a love triangle, there’s a love quadrangle between Jared, Melanie, the Wanderer nicknamed Wanda, and another human called Ian.  But since two of the roles are played by Saoirse Ronan, it looks like a love triangle and feels strange, and not very romantic.  There are all kinds of discordant themes in this movie.  At times, the movie strikes an almost Biblical theme, echoing the Old Testament story of Ruth, the great grandmother of King David.  At other times this movie feels like a recruiting video for the NRA.  That’s right, humans still have guns, and they use them too, so much for peace.  The ending is syrupy sweet, another deterrent to watching this movie.

The only person who makes this movie somewhat watchable is Saoirse Ronan, she makes both characters she plays sympathetic, which is not easy, given the drivel she is given to say.  There are some heavy hitters in this movie, like William Hurt and Diane Kruger from Inglorious Basterds, but it’s Ronan that is the attraction here. The rest of the young actors are pretty wooden.

The writing is insipid, as I said.  Andrew Niccol is responsible.  He’s written great movies like The Truman Show and Gattica, but he’s also written In Time and this movie, which is a troubling trend.  I’ve given you plenty of reasons not to see The Host, now it’s up to you, you’ve been warned.

The Host.  You are invited not to watch.

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