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I know Stephanie Meyer wasn't everyone's cup of tea when Twilight came out, and then on the other hand some people loved her and her writing. The problem being that when she penned another book, it seemed to get incredibly looked over, because the enormity of Twilight just over shadowed it - I know a couple of my friends read her other book, and I know I loved it so when I heard it was coming out as a film I was quite dubious as to the directors ability to turn it from a much loved book of mine into a film I could watch repeatedly. Which is partly why I never watched it in the cinema, I didn't want to be disappointed in public!
~*~ The Host ~*~
The Host as I've mentioned is another book from the hand of Stephanie Meyer, the famous lady that wrote the Twilight Saga - and gave us a whole new look at vampires and the lives they lead. However, once the hype of reading Twilight had died for me, I decided to look at further books from the author. I was quite impressed to find another book so quickly from her, and bought it one day on a shopping trip to Morrison's actually - it was a whole new ball game compared to Twilight, it kept the supernatural aspect but on a totally different scale - and it surprised me to know that she could write something that wasn't quite so childish and full of soppy romantic notions as Twilight had been. My copy of the host ended up being passed around a fair few of my friends and family actually, so it's been a widely read book in my close circle of friends and family.
~*~ Film Stats ~*~
Directed by - Andrew Niccol
Produced by - Stephenie Meyer, Nick Wechsler, Steve Schwartz and Paula Mae Schwartz
Screenplay by - Andrew Niccol
Based on The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Release date - March 29, 2013
Running time - 125 minutes
Budget - $40 million
Box office - $48,227,201
There was me and my best friend saying the other day we thought it had been a huge flop, maybe not as bad as we thought, not as good as Twilight - but who cares!
~*~ Plot ~*~
Without saying too much about the plot, the film follows the story of a human named Melanie Stryder who is one of a few humans dotted about the planet that haven't fallen prey to the intruders. The intruders that have been slipped into the necks of humans as tiny souls and taken over their bodies, to create a world of peace, harmony and a kind of utopia - however it comes at a cost. I can't say anytime recently I've watched a film about any kind of utopia let alone one where the world has been infected by souls, so it's definitely something different - I'm not sure if it's just because I'm biased because I'm a big fan of the book or just because the whole idea of this film is something different to a lot of the films out there at the moment. We tend to get a lot of aliens invading the planet and fighting us, but very few of them taking over us - which is why it's an attractive type of film to me. I like to have something to watch that isn't something the film industry is over saturated with; the only problem with this film is that it doesn't really fit in a film category - so when I suggested watching it with my boyfriend his response was 'I don't want to watch that random alien thing.' So it's not overly attractive as a story line to some men, my other half is fairly open with films but wouldn't want to watch this, although I know he'd like it. It's one that you have to be open minded to, even though the concept is fairly simple it can't be pigeon holed and I think it's a shame really because the plot is great and it really does involve you, right from the beginning.
Without giving too much away, watch out for those with silver rings in their eyes - just telling you that they have been taken by a soul and are one of the hosts, as pretty as the eyes are it's a sign of soul invasion!
~*~ Acting and Characters ~*~
Saoirse Ronan as Melanie Stryder, who really surprised me - to be honest I've not seen her in anything before now and haven't seen her in anything since, but she is actually quite a good actress. Although her character wasn't necessarily the hardest to play I wouldn't have imagined -she does well to make the character her own. As a character though it's frustrating to watch because you don't want what does happen to her, to happen (my attempt at not giving it away!) - and you want to see the character fighting back and claiming what's rightfully hers, but at the same time you learn to love what she's become as much as you can despite everyone else's reactions. Which compared to Max Irons' character Jared, who from the first moment you meet him outside of Melanie's memories you want to slap - his character seems to unreasonable without knowing the full story and it just angered me. However that's how he is meant to be, so he definitely plays his part exactly how you'd expect him to, I just prefer the Jared that's happy and in love with Melanie rather than the one that hates her. However the young lad, who plays Melanie's brother Jamie, has a much smaller part than I ever expected - but it didn't really take much away from the film. Most of the characters are afflicted with confusing emotions that are passed onto the viewer, Ian one of the other remaining humans is another that plays his part well despite being in a confusing situation - I hadn't ever heard of Jake Abel before this film, but I can see him cropping up in further films in the future because there is a bit of talent there in my opinion - the way he was directed was great because you do a complete flip in hating him to really liking him. Unlike the character played by Diane Kruger, who I've seen a lot about but didn't really know her, her character is infuriating - even close to the end I want to slap her face and tell her to stop being such an idiot, but that's the way the character is meant to be, persistent and a giant pain in the backside in my opinion! The rest of the cast are prominent but not to a point that you really connect with them, apart from Melanie's uncle Jeb, he's a friendly old guy who is a little bit neurotic at the same time but perfectly likeable, gives chances and is rewarded for it. There is a fair amount of resentment in this character group, but when you see why - it's more than understandable, however as a viewer I found that I was pulled into the emotional side of it and had to make a decision for myself who I was going to back. However the direction was always going to make you pull in one particular direction, but I'll let you see which direction that is for yourself!
~*~ I promised not to compare it to the book but... ~*~
It's a film taken from a book, so it's inevitable that there are going to be comparisons made, and given that from the start I was a little bit concerned if it was going to meet up to the expectations I have from the book. However I was happily surprised, admittedly it wasn't perfect but it was a lot closer to the book than I ever imagined it to be. There is a big section in the book of Melanie's memories, which I really enjoyed sinking into and playing out these memories in my imagination - but there wasn't quite enough of it in the film for my liking - but then for some the book may have been too much; that aspect is a definite matter of personal preference rather than being set out in a particular way. Similarly with the memories of the soul and what she saw on her previous planets, that wasn't shown at all which is a shame because Meyers made such a picture with her words about these places so it's a shame we didn't see them, but it didn't ruin the film for me personally. However the item I thought they'd ruin in this book they did really well, when you read the book I think everyone has their own opinion of what they think the souls will look like; as they are described in such a way that they could be interpreted to how you want to see them. So when I saw one on the screen I was surprised that they were pretty much exactly how I imagined them, when I was reading the book - it was a pleasant surprise and it reassured me that they really had thought about this film and apart from a few things that were left out for some reason, they'd kept the film quite close to the book. The actors were chosen very well in my opinion as they reflected what I'd imagined quite nicely, but I just wish there had been more of the human times depicted as there was in the book but I can't complain too much really, as I like the film a lot.
~*~ A film that is soft, but so involving at the same time! ~*~
This film is one that needs to be given a chance, don't let the idea that it's a Stephanie Meyer book put you off, it's not like Twilight nor will it ever be. It's a standalone book and film that will have a much bigger impact on you than anything to do with choosing between vampires or werewolves ever will. It involves your emotions, and gets you thinking about the world we live in and the reality of having a utopia and a perfect world. It's a film that I will watch repeatedly because it really does hit something in me and the first time I watched it, the string of emotions that brings to the surface really did get to me - but it's not a tear jerker in that sense it's just a film that you will enjoy on many levels.
~*~ Price and Availability ~*~
This DVD is a new release so it's still quite pricey at the moment, around the £10 mark in varying stores - but I don't think it's going to stay too expensive for too long, if you can hang on it'll more than likely be cheap come Christmas time, which is a shame because it's a good film well worth the money!
'The Host' is a sci fi thriller based on the novel of the same name by the creator of Twilight, Stephanie Meyer. Due to the divisive views on the Twilight movies, anticipation of this movie was mostly met with negativity. Despite this, the trailer was intriguing and led me to give this movie a go.
Set in the future where aliens inhabit human bodies and threat to wipe out mankind, Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan) is determined to fight the alien soul Wanda from within her body in order to reunite her with her lover Jared (Max Irons), protect her little brother and evading The Seeker (Diane Kruger) who is on her tail.
As The Resistence strive to rescue Melanie from within her body, things get complicated when Wanda falls in love with human Ian (Jake Abel) and becomes compromised.
Whilst the setup to the movie was great, once Melanie is found by The Resistence, the themes of romance take over the sci-fi and almost becomes Twilight in the desert- with a love quadrangle, and a hint of sci fi thrown in. The thrilling tension of capture by The Seekers is also quickly lost in favour of romance. The tension of whether Wanda will betray The Resistence was not at all explored deeply enough and dumbs the movie down.
In this way, the movie incorporates many promising elements, but fail to execute them in a way that compliment each other to become an enthralling and captivating movie experience (which it very well could have done)!
The progression of the plot then became predictable and the ending too was no surprise. It left very little to the imagination and so was very much a typical Hollywood ending, which does not do this movie justice.
Saoirse Ronan- Melanie Stryder/ Wanda
Max Irons- Jared Howe
Diane Kruger- The Seeker
Jake Abel- Ian O'Shea
Also stars William Hurt.
Saoirse Ronan is making quite a name for herself in action having previously wowed us in 'Hanna' and will star in upcoming films 'Violet & Daisy' as well as 'Byzantium'. Here, she is a possessed teen who is conflicted between lovers, her voice dominating at times. The opening sequence and the build up was great and Ronan proves her strengths, but the romance was forced and unbelievably awkward. I found her character to be somewhat annoying at times and wished that she was a strong dominant female without all the lovey dovey mess which has been upgraded from the Twilight triangle to this love quadrangle.
Unfortunately, Max Irons and Jake Abel both do nothing and add nothing to the movie apart from flesh it out with eye candy for young teenage girls.
'The Host' has great potential in being a strong solid sci fi movie as it has extremely promising plot lines, but perhaps due to the target audience and marketing (Twilight fans/ Stephanie Meyer fans), was made to be a flaky sci fi movie with the focus on romance and in doing so fails to do the ideas justice.
Saoirse Ronan is a great actress and because of the script/character writing is somewhat conflicted- she would've been better utilised in more action sequences and being a stronger character than being subdued by two men.
Overall, if you liked Twilight, you might like this, if you don't like Twilight, then avoid this.
About the film
The Host is a science fiction/ romance film that was released at the cinema on 29th March. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Stephanie Meyer. The Host has a rating of 12A and a run time of 125 minutes.
Set in the future, an alien species called 'Souls' are taking over the human race. Once entered inside a human body, their memories are erased completely and they become part of a society who trusts each other and does not believe in murder. However, some humans still survive and Melanie Stryder is on the run with her boyfriend and younger brother. When Melanie is taken by a Seeker, and overtaken by a 'Soul', she fights to keep her place in her own body. As a new member of her society, the 'Soul' inhabiting Melanie's body (called Wanderer) is supposed to give information about Melanie's human friends. As there are two voices inside her head, Wanderer fights to decide on what is right. While she knows she has a job to do, Melanie fights hard to save the ones she loves.
Saoirse Ronan as Melanie Stryder/Wanderer
Jake Abel as Ian O'Shea
Max Irons as Jared Howe
Chandler Canterbury as Jamie Stryder
Frances Fisher as Maggie Stryder
Diane Kruger as The Seeker
William Hurt as Jeb Stryder
Boyd Holbrook as Kyle O'Shea
Scott Lawrence as Doc
What I thought
Stephanie Meyer is so well known for having written the Twilight Saga and for those having become very popular films. The Host is Meyer's book for adults although not one I have read myself even though I bought it the day of release.
The Host is set in the future where the world is no longer our own. Human bodies are overtaken by parasitic aliens against their will. Not all humans have been overtaken though and some run for their lives, determined to keep control of their own bodies and minds. I absolutely loved the idea behind this film. Very early on, we are introduced to the alien species of 'Souls' in human form. Although a species believing in calm and trust, they go to great lengths to find any remaining humans and do anything possible to capture the bodies. The thing that distinguishes the 'Souls' from humans is their metallic silver looking eyes, which was both beautiful and creepy at the same time.
Playing protagonist Melanie/ Wanderer is Saoirse Ronan, an unknown actress to me. I thoroughly enjoyed Ronan's performance throughout this film and I thought she did a wonderful job considering it being quite a tricky role to play. Throughout the film, Wanderer has to deal with Melanie's voice in her head, which obviously wouldn't have really been there. Never did it look like Ronan was thinking too much about who or what she was replying to and it all looked as natural as it should have. Ronan also plays both characters with conviction and she was very believable as each. What I really enjoyed about her performance was that she was able to make both characters very different.
As the plot follows Wanderer carrying out Melanie's wishes of finding her boyfriend and little brother, the setting changes from the city and the 'Souls' headquarters to remote desert land. The difference in settings was really interesting as they contrasted so much. Within the city, everything is very regimented and formal whereas in the outback, it is so beautiful and remote, without the stress of anything else going on. When Wanderer does find who she is looking for, they do not treat her like she is Melanie but instead as a prisoner where again, the stunning setting is used. Wanderer is kept underground, hidden away in a place where people are self-sufficient. I enjoyed how this setting also went with the 'Souls' ideas of peace and tranquillity, even when the humans didn't agree.
The plot isn't really all that exciting apart from a couple of moments so secondary characters are what help to make this film good. Other 'Souls' such as the Seeker played by Diane Kruger give the plot a good chase, with her trying to track down Wanderer and more humans. The Seeker was an interesting character because you can tell something is not quite right with her. She isn't the same as the other 'Souls' and has a lot more fire inside of her. While others say to let Wanderer be, she cannot let it go and goes to great lengths to find her again.
Then there are the love interests. Melanie has a boyfriend called Jared but Wanderer becomes attracted to another boy, Ian. While I think love triangles are somewhat overdone now, I loved this one although I'm not sure it is technically a triangle. Melanie gets mad at Wanderer for liking someone else other than her own boyfriend but Wanderer wants to treat the body as her own while respecting Melanie's wishes at the same time. Explaining it is a little confusing but not when you are watching the film. The romance aspect of this film was completely new, unique and different and definitely better than other romance stories out there at the minute.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Host as it was different from everything else out there at the minute. It also made me want to pick up the copy of the book that I have had sitting on the shelf for years.