“The Host” is a science-fiction film based off the novel by Stephanie Meyers, author of the Twilight Saga. “Twilight” was a mediocre film in the eyes of most critics but struck a chord with millions of teenagers, the saga’s target audience. “The Host” attempts to duplicate this response, but it falls short.
The film tells the story of life after an alien invasion of Earth. These aliens have conquered all other planets and are seeing the most resistance from the humans. They dress in all white, drive shiny silver cars and never lie, cheat or kill. When the aliens catch 17-year-old Melanie (Saoirse Ronan), her body is inhabited by an alien called Wanderer, who searches Melanie’s memory in order to find the location of the other humans she traveled with. Because Melanie is so strong, she refuses to let her memory die and convinces Wanderer to run away.
Wanderer and Melanie, in one body, eventually reach a desert cave hideout that belongs to Melanie’s Uncle Jeb (William Hurt). There she is reunited with her little brother Jamie (Chandler Canterbury), and lover Jared (Max Irons). It takes time for Melanie’s family and friends to realize that Melanie is trapped within Wanderer, or Wanda, as they call her. Wanda finds a way to win the hearts of the humans and to use her resources, and the voice inside her head, to give hope back to the small cluster of humans who are left on Earth.
The plot and characters are so superficial that the film has no chance of engaging its audience. There are brief moments of true conflict, such as when a hider attempts to kill Wanderer, but the premise of the plot is the strange love triangle between Wanderer/Melanie, Jared and Ian O’Shea (Jake Abel). Jared and Melanie were in love before Melanie was caught, and now Jared is hesitant to trust Wanda.
It isn’t until Jared kisses Wanda that he knows Melanie is trapped inside. Ian, on the other hand, is one of the first humans to befriend Wanda, and they develop feelings for each other. It’s very complicated because Wanda and Melanie share the same body but have different minds.
This love story is very strange and a lot like “Twilight.” In one scene, Wanda has lost Melanie’s presence and tries kissing Ian to make Melanie return. This doesn’t work, so naturally her only option is to kiss Jared. After this, Melanie’s voice returns. It mimics the love triangle of Bella, Jacob and Edward in “Twilight” and serves as a good opportunity for a couple of teenagers to make out on screen.
The plot is romance-driven, which isn’t enough to make it stand out. The intent of director Andrew Niccol was to create another “Twilight,” but “The Host” fell short of that goal. This film will not touch the box office success that the Saga experienced, but that’s to be expected from a movie with a dry plot and a cheesy love story.
Rating: Two stars