‘The Host’ Movie Review – Worst of the Worst
There’s bad. Then there’s awful. Then there’s AWFUL. Even taking out all the unfair preconceived notions – the genre, marketing, and Twilight connection – Andrew Niccol’s The Host is perhaps beyond even the AWFUL moniker. Most movies have a silver lining or, at the least, a redeeming quality.
This is a true rarity.
Full disclosure: I’ve never seen a second of a Twilight movie. And while I love to hate on the general critical consensus, I understand those movies weren’t made for the 20-something male. In the same way, I understand The Host plays to similar crowds.
Set some time (real specific, I know) in the future, an alien race takes over the human population. Parasites “bond” with the human race and basically turn them into monotone personalities that just want to take over the universe. Their white eyes are the most telling sign they’ve been hosted. When they take over Melanie’s (Saoirse Ronan) body, her conscious refuses to go away.
Niccol, who also serves as the screenwriter, chooses an interesting way to continue her conscious. Where some filmmakers would hint or allude to her resonating inner-self, Niccol uses a listless inner dialogue. For more than half of his film, Melanie is talking to herself through Ronan’s voice over. Her acting, in general, is subpar, but the worst of the worst comes through with Melanie’s personality, which is just as bland as the parasite’s.
Of the remaining half, the majority is painful exposition. The drama really suffers from a stoic conflict with virtually no payoff. Without giving too much away, they play towards some of Twilight’s appeal by again adding a love triangle.
Before she was overtaken by the alien race, Melanie was (without any real warrant) in love with a guy named Jared (Max Irons). After she turns into Wanda (a nickname for Wanderer), she falls for a different guy, Ian (Jake Abel), even though her inner-Melanie disagrees.
This inner-conflict is an odd combination of painful and laughable.
Stretched to past two hours, The Host can virtually be summed up in two or three sentences. Still, it suffers on and on. The truly sad part, though? There were multiple tweens crying as the “love story” came to a conclusion. This is the underlying problem. More than the atrocious script, the insane decision to use so much voice over, and the mediocre (at best) direction, it’s the childish story that absolutely destroys virtually every aspect of the film.
As a dystopia, the thinnest science fiction veil tries to mask the love story. Still, though, it doesn’t feel the least bit real. Knocking realism isn’t the best criticism (especially in the science fiction genre), but it’s also hard to defend a movie with such little generalizability.
Going back to who this movie was made for, I still can’t justify it. I can’t justify riding the coattails of a giant franchise. Even without seeing the much-maligned Twilight saga, I’m guessing they still have more depth and all-around better storytelling. It can’t get much worse, and The Host may be a personal rock bottom.
Open in wide release, chime in with your thoughts if you see it this weekend.
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