Movie review: “The Host”

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by Aileen Norris and Kaitlyn McCurdy

We don’t know about you, but we’re really sick of Twilight. So, of course, the moment that series ends, here comes another franchise from Stephenie Meyer.

When Earth is taken over by an unseen enemy, called Souls, that is implanted into the human body, Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan) is part of the human resistance working to take back the planet. Of course, Melanie falls in love with the dashing human Jared (Max Irons) after being on the run with her little brother, Jamie (Chandler Canterbury). While hiding one night, the Souls find their shelter and she distracts them before attempting to commit suicide to avoid being captured. However, the attempt fails, and she is inhabited by Wanderer, one of the Souls who seems to have a thing for human emotions. The Soul empathizes with Melanie and finds herself searching for the other humans, running away from the Souls and a vengeful Seeker (Diane Kruger). Finding an underground resistance leads Wanderer, later coined Wanda, to meet and fall in love with Ian (Jake Abel).

Yeah, a love square. Bet you didn’t see that one coming.

Let’s be real, Meyer’s main audience is young, teenage girls, and that’s just as obvious in The Host than in Twilight.

On that note, The Host is much, much better than Twilight. Following a protagonist that is not constantly whining about her lack of “girlfriend material” is a nice change.The sci-fi aspects are stronger, if not a tad cliche. The villain was more dynamic, although she wasn’t utilized enough. The setting and cinematography are also gorgeous. The animated Souls are a feat pulled off quite well, although they can be a little blinding. The Souls’ bright irises are also visually stunning.

However, be warned, for there are also pitfalls in this movie.

First, some aspects would definitely work better in book form, and didn’t transfer well to the big screen. Ronan having internal battles with herself while the camera is so close to her face you can see up her nostrils? Yeah, a little awkward.

Second, most if not all of the make out scenes are uncomfortable. That or they make the audience hesitantly laugh. Seriously, it’s like every problem can be resolved in a kiss. First human you’ve seen in three years? Must kiss. Discussing whether or not to repopulate the human race? Must kiss. Don’t know if Melanie actually is still alive in her own body even though Wanda’s taken over? Must kiss Jared. Melanie hasn’t made her presence known in a while and Wanda’s scared?

Must kiss Jared and Ian.

Sure, teenagers have hormones and all, but jeez.

On the subject of love, why is it that Meyer’s “main” men are always terrible? Edward’s an abusive, controlling jerkface. Jared’s harsh, abrasive, and just kind of blah. We guess that makes sense, seeing as Melanie is just as blah. Most if not all of the audience, along with ourselves, were rooting more for Wanda and Ian.

In terms of acting, the actors worked well with what they had been given. Unfortunately, the script wasn’t spectacular, and so trying to deliver the lines with power must have been difficult. Kudos to Ronan though, who spent three-quarters of the movie talking to herself while pretending to be two different characters. The leading men, Irons and Abel, didn’t have strong back stories, but they definitely had a lot of potential. They were great with the stereotypical dialogue they had. The show was unexpectedly stolen by Canterbury, though, who for his age really delved into the emotions Jamie was meant to portray. Kruger portrayed a great villain and left us wanting more screen time for her.

Also, ladies, the eye candy? Fantastic.

SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

Emily Browning just showing up in the last fifteen minutes of the movie? Goodness, was a wonderful surprise. And seeing as how Meyer’s planning on writing a sequel that focuses on Browning’s character? Yes, please.

END SPOILER.

In conclusion, men, you probably still won’t enjoy this film. While the sci-fi elements are better than the ones in Twilight, romance is still the key here. Plan to have little laughter, but there are the ooey-gooey moments that will make girls sigh. The script isn’t superior, but the overall plotline is interesting enough.

It’s another huge young adult hit that probably should never have been made a movie, but it’s a nice thing to see when you just need to shut your brain off for a while.