Thursday, March 27, 2014

Review: The Host

I know I'm late to the party on this one but you have to give me some leeway. After all, it received an aggregate of 8% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and only half of the audience liked it. That's usually not a good sign. Nevertheless, I decided to give this a shot, fully expecting that since my expectations were low, it was going to be an enjoyable experience.

The Host is a young adult science fiction novel written by the infamous Stephanie Meyer (author of the highly successful series, Twilight.) Set in a dystopian/utopian world (depending on how you look at it), the story's setting also involves the disconcerting fact that nearly all of Earth's population had been taken over by parasitic aliens. Said aliens log themselves onto your brain stem and take over your motor functions, memories, etc. However, occasionally, the human host fights back...

This tale begins with a young girl named Melanie Stryder who is part of a human resistance movement against the aliens. She is captured quite early on in the movie and taken over by one of the aliens. The alien is named Wanderer. You can think of "her" as a kind of free spirit that has been to numerous planets and enjoys experiences over order. Wanderer can experience all of Melanie's memories, including her past love life, and in no time at all, she begins to sympathize with her host, eventually forming an uneasy alliance with Melanie, and of course, trouble ensues.

The premise isn't bad, and I actually enjoyed Twilight (the book, not so much the movies) so that wasn't what troubled me the most. What I had a hard time getting past were two aspects:

1.) There were too many implausible situations in the narrative.
2.) The conversations between Melanie and Wanderer looks ridiculous on film.

To address the first  problem, I wont' go into too many details or I'll spoil some major parts of the film, but to get my point across, I'll ask you a question.
  • If there was a zombie apocalypse, and you were part of the last survivors on the Earth, would you allow a zombie to live among you without taking major precautions?
  • Would you fall in love with the zombie after a few days?
  • Why would you allow this particular zombie to live among you when there had been many, many others in the past? Why is this one so special? (I get it might be your niece, but to think that no one else in your group had family members they could have helped is just ridiculous)
For the second problem...well, let's just say that some books were not designed to be translated into film easily. Because Melanie is just a voice, she'll randomly shout out something or argue with Wanderer, while Wanderer has to give her retorts audibly. I understand what they're trying to do, it just doesn't translate well. It makes you want to laugh or wish that Melanie would just shut up (which would defeat the whole purpose of the movie).

And for the record, I actually enjoy romance novels so it's not like this is a bash against that. Maybe I'll make a list soon.

Either way, here's the rundown:

Go see it if: 
  • You are a Stephanie Meyer fan and you must experience all her work
  • You like Saoirse Ronan, because she is a good actress and does solid work here
  • You don't watch science fiction normally and want a good introduction to the genre without all the heavy "science"
  • You go with the flow with your movies. Plot holes don't matter as long as the experience is good. 
  • You have time to kill.
Don't go see it if:
  • You like your movies to make sense
  • You don't care for cheesy movies
  • You have to pay to see it.
Rating: 1.5 stars - While the actors and director certainly do their best to make the source material work on screen, the result is a cheesy, implausible mess that makes you laugh for all the wrong reasons.

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