Friday, April 19, 2013

Movie Review: The Host

The Host 
Chockstone Pictures
Rated: PG-13
125 Minutes

Movie Description
A parasitic alien soul is injected into the body of Melanie Stryder. Instead of carrying out her race’s mission of taking over the Earth, ‘Wanda’ (as she comes to be called) forms a bond with her host and sets out to aid other free humans.

Overall I pretty much loved the movie. I thought they did a great job adapting it to the screen...but I know that part of my reaction came from having read the book first. I read some reviews that thought the movie didn't have enough action and was too focused on the emotional relationships between characters (with too much kissing...LOL), but those people have obviously never read the book. The book itself delves pretty deeply into the relationships between the characters precisely because the author was trying to define what makes us human, and what love truly looks like.

Visually, the movie was stunning. The alien creatures were fascinatingly both beautiful and well, alien. Their appearance once they took over the human hosts was well defined through calm demeanor, slower movements, and sort of a 1950's vibe in clothing and interpersonal interactions...I loved, too, how the Seekers were only ever in white and drove around in pure silver vehicles. It induced an almost clinically cold feeling when you were watching their scenes.

I thought Saorise Ronin did a fantastic job as Melanie/Wanderer.She was almost like two different people when she was acting the memories of Melanie's life and then when she was actively inhabited by Wanda. They did a great job with her voiceovers (everytime Melanie spoke inside Wanda's head). There was no awkwardness like the actress couldn't quite match up the timing. It really was as if she had two personalities interacting throughout the movie.

While at first I had been unsure of the casting for Ian (Jake Abel - who I tend to think of as an actor who plays not-so-good guys...) I found myself completely sucked in by his character...again. Ian is the first ever adult book crush that I had.
*Spoiler Alert* In fact, one of the biggest problems I had with the movie was that they altered the scene that absolutely melted my heart where Ian holds Wanda in her true form and still finds her beautiful... I missed that moment!

*Spoiler Alert!*
The only other problem I really had was the transition from Wanda being in Melanie's body to the new girl at the end. While I was reading the book because I was so emotionally invested it did not feel quite as jarring or perfectly poised to solve all of the characters' problems... but when you see it in the movie, it almost feels like a cop-out. Oh, you are choosing to sacrifice yourself and leave so Melanie and her family can be happy? Oh, Look! We found a new body for you... you have to take it or she'll die... and look, now you and Ian can live happily ever after... It just was ending. (And Emily Browning, while I love you in everything else you've done, I wasn't quite feeling you in this role...sorry!)

However, aside from those small issues, I found myself totally sucked into a fabulous story again and I will absolutely be buying this on DVD when it comes out. :)


  1. Great review Jessica. The love triangle isn't the only thing wrong with the movie. The characters are also just these boring people that I didn't care for at all.

    1. I feel like since I read the book I was actually very emotionally invested in the characters. I'm sorry you didn't end up feeling that way. Without that investment, I can see how the movie would be boring for you...