Netflix Movie Review: The Host

I read Stephanie Meyer‘s Twilight Series. Enjoyed all four books considerably. The movies, I hated. They were terrible. Well, I say they were terrible, but I only saw the first one. At that point, I realized, there was no need to see the other four. Yes, four, because they turned the fourth book’s movie adaptation into two separate films. Kind of a Harry Potter copycat.the host

I am going to assume Meyer’s The Host is only slightly different in that while I did not read the novel, I did watch the movie. The concept was intriguing, and interesting, and although not unique, very well done. I would compare it as a cross between Avatar and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  ***SOME SPOILERS BELOW***

In The Host, a parasitic alien life form invades planets. They are known as Souls, and are peaceful beings that don’t lie, cheat, steal or kill. They do not believe in weapons or violence. They inhabit a planet to enjoy existing in it; they accomplish this by taking over human life forms. Pockets of resistant rebels are spread across the planet. A team of Souls are charged with finding and filling the humans with alien residents.

Once cornered, Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan) chooses death over risking having the Souls discover where her younger brother, Jamie (Chandler Cantebury) and boyfriend, Jared (Max Irons) are hiding. Only her survival instinct is too powerful, and death alludes her. The Souls implant an alien inside Melanie known as The Wanderer.

The Seeker (Diane Kruger) meets with The Wanderer with hopes of gaining new information on rebel hideouts, and the number of survivors remaining. The problem begins when The Wanderer realizes her body-host has not vacated the premises.

This was where my main, and maybe ONLY problem with the film occurs. It is what will keep this movie from receiving 5 Tombstones. The Voice-Over for internal dialogue between The Wanderer and Melanie is done poorly. It is annoying. The voice of Melanie inside The Wanderer’s head is oftentimes so adolescent sounding and whining (making the character very reminiscent of Kristen Stewart in the Twilight movies) that I cringed and thought ten minutes into the film I would have to turn it off.

I am glad I did not. Although the voice-over NEVER improves, the plot and intrigue and suspense did. Melanie convinces The Wanderer to stop giving Soul Fleur answers and to flee the Souls with the hopes of reuniting with her brother and boyfriend.

Once reunited with Melanie’s family and friends in a remote desert cave, the group of humans have choices to make. Can The Wanderer be trusted? Was she leading the Seekers to their beneath the mountain fortress? How much of Melanie still existed?

Tempers and mistrust run high among most member of Melanie’s Uncle Jeb’s group (William Hurt). But Jamie, Uncle Jeb and eventually, Jared realize the truth. The problem now was finding a way to unite . . . everyone for the good of the survival of the human race.

There is enough uniqueness and action, gripping dialogue and cinematography to entertain sci-fi, fantasy and dystopian fans. There are also some pretty cool plot twists and unexpected turns of events that are laid out. And the ending just may surprise viewers. Surprised me.

Written and directed by Andrew Niccol (screenplay), who is maybe best known for Lord of War and The Truman Show, the movies weighs in at a whopping 125 minutes. It went fast. There really were very few parts that dragged. But 125 minutes … Anyway … It has a PG-13 rating. I don’t recall any bad language. There was no nudity. The violence is a little bloody, but not grotesque. A lot of sexual tension — and an interesting love . . . Square??? It is not a triangle, that’s for sure.

I AM a dystopian fan from series such as The Hunger Games and Divergent, to Legend and The Maze Runner. The Host fits in nicely, and I just may have to go back and read the novel as well. I give this movie 4 out of 5 Tombstones (the fifth withheld for crappy Voice-Overs).

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