“The Host” (2013)
Directed by Andrew Niccol
Running Time 125 Minutes, Rated PG-13
2 Mitch’s out of 5
Stephanie Meyer is a genius, an evil genius.
Ms. Meyer has boiled it down to a mathematical formula. Add equal parts young adult love triangle that involves a mixture of human and non-human with high stakes life and death drama. Sure, people understood the concept of gravity before Newton came along, but he’s the one who defined it and gave it a name; the same can be said with Meyer. I abhor the Twilight Saga, but a billion tween girls don’t. Their parents make them happy by buying them movie tickets to that series, which in turn makes Meyer happy and incredibly wealthy.
It’s a shame; director Andrew Niccol has turned a creative name I looked forward to, into becoming just another flash in the pan. He wrote my favorite film of all time, The Truman Show, and his directorial debut in Gattaca showed a promising science fiction intellect. Since then Niccol stumbled with his dystopian Justin Timberlake starring In Time and he flat out falls on his face with The Host.
I can see how Niccol might have been attracted to Meyer’s dialogue heavy explosion light sci-fi novel, but all we’re left with is a meandering two hour film where nothing much happens except for a lot of eye rolling on my part.
It’s the near future, and an alien race of body snatchers, known as The Souls, have almost totally taken over the human race. They mean well; proudly eradicating Earth of such man made problems like war, pollution, and reality television, but they don’t see what the big deal is of making it so the original occupier’s spirit is all but vanished. That is until one feisty young female adult rebel by the name of Melanie (Saoirse Ronan) gets snatched up and implanted with an alien named Wanderer, later nicknamed Wanda, but Melanie sticks arounds, being a split personality voice who eventually gets Wanda to sympathize with the human plight and tangled up in the complexities of young love.
Wanda/Melanie are on the run from The Soul enforcer known as “The Seeker”, played by Diane Kruger, a weak villain who’ll stop at nothing to get her human survivor. When Melanie leads her and Wanda to her old rebel family that consists of her handsome lover Jared (Max Irons) and her Uncle Jeb, played by the great William Hurt, who must have taken this film in need of a check. Where the film had potential, but greatly squandered it, is with the good idea of not just a love triangle but instead a love square.
As Melanie is trapped in her body but only as a voice over, she still yearns for Jared, but then whaddaya know- Wanda starts to fall for another fellow brooding rebel by the name of Ian (Jake Abel). What could have been a fascinating look at dual personality having to figure out how to each be in love is just middle school corny dialogue that is wasted on the superior talents of Hanna star Saoirse Ronan.
From there, like I said, it’s just a bunch of nothing that dulls our senses at a snails pace. Here’s hoping the innate melodrama of Meyer’s latest in The Host doesn’t catch on like that of the Twilight films and is one and done.
“This” is one and done.