“The Host” Sinks or Swims In Theaters

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Colleen Rockwell

The Host

Fear and dread of “the other” have long ruled American Science Fiction, fantasy, suspense thrillers and politics, with villainous aliens lurking among us, waiting and calculating for their chance to swipe our freedom and our lives.  Stephenie Meyer’s science fiction novel The Host, has finally landed in theaters and fans could not be happier to see the love quadrangle on the big screen.  Fans of the book had mixed reactions toward the film and people just seeing it without knowing of the book thought it was amazing.  The movie started out with William Hurt who Plays uncle Jeb, narrating about how Souls came to inhabit the Earth, and then the movie starts off with an action sequence with Melanie, one of the last remaining humans along with her brother Jamie, runs away from the Seekers who wants to insert a Soul into her body, and jumps through a glass window, sacrificing herself to protect her brother.  The book was very confusing to follow when reading it, and Andrew Niccol did a fine job writing the screenplay so people who did not read the book could easily follow along with the movie without being confused during the whole duration of the film.  Soul Outside, which was composed by Antonio Pinto was the films main theme because it played throughout the entire film during dramatic scenes with Wanda, who is the Soul who took over Melanie’s body.

The Host was a very difficult film to pull off because of Meyer’s core idea calls for two minds, one Soul, one Human, co-habiting in the same body and arguing internally.  It does help that Saoirse Ronan gave an incredible performance of the double role of Wanda/ Melanie, playing both characters like having a multiple personality disorder.

The Host stayed true to the book for the most part, but there were many disappointing elements to the movie though, as most movies that are taken from books.  The flashback scenes in the movie were disappointing because it mostly just showed Melanie and her boyfriend Jared being aquintances not lovers like in the book.   The flashbacks were fast paced and did not show their relationship whatsoever.  Another disappointing factor of the film was Ian and Wanda’s relationship.  In the book, their relationship was at a slow pace evolving into something more.  Out of nowhere, their relationship in the movie was fast paced.  When Wanda says she is giving her body back to Melanie, in the scene where Ian says, “You are not leaving me”, Jake Abel acted that scene without emotion and that was one of the biggest emotional scenes and a fan favorite in the book.

On the bright side, there were some things in the movie had that stayed true to the book.  The human refugees still lived in a cave and Wanda/ Melanie got slapped by Jared and Aunt Maggie just like in the book. The fight scenes shown in the book between Jared, Kyle and Ian and the  scene where Kyle tries to kill Wanda were also on the big screen.  The scene where Jamie cuts himself by accident was in the movie also, but that scene was showed in a different way.   Pet ( Wanda’s new body, when she is taken out of Melanie’s body) was in the movie at the end.

The cave was exactly how fans interpreted it in the book.  The viewers could tell the mirrors in the wheat field in the cave were Computer Generated Imagery, but everything else was real.  The filming location was in the beautiful but harsh desert in New Mexico.  The set in the movie was amazing and it was not over the top tacky  like some Science Fiction movie sets.

Director Andrew Niccol, put in the raid scenes that Jared leads to procure food for the entire cave dwellers and put in a chase scene to add action and what a raid normally looks like for humans who live in the cave.  There was some humor in the movie,to which some people laughed some people didn’t, and it really depended on what part of the scene which the viewer interpreted that was funny to them.  The movie overall was interesting and it was sometimes fast paced or slow at times.  Even though there were disappointments with the film it was not as boring or terrible as people are making it out to be.

The plot is very different from other Science Fiction films out there.  The movie also has that Twilight vibe considering it is about things that will never happen in real life and it has the whole romance thing in the movie, but the whole thing about aliens being inserted into human bodies and stealing their memories is just plain creepy, but cool at the same time.  The acting in The Host was decent, but it could have been better.  The movie was good, but the trailer was such a tease because it made the movie look amazing and awesome.  The Host is a great step in the next direction for more Stephenie Meyer books-turned-movies and this film adaption is definately worth a trip to the movie theaters as long as the audience hasn’t read the book.  So will the alien takeover win fans over as the new vampires and werewolves or will aliens just leave gracefully like they were never really here in the first place?