STARRING: Saorise Ronan, William Hurt, Diane Kruger, Jake Abel, Max Irons, Chandler Canterbury, Frances Fisher, Emily Browning.
DIRECTED BY: Andrew Niccol
I missed this film while it was in theaters, so this is a DVD review. Like most of America, I heard the phrase “from Stephanie Meyer, the author of The Twilight Saga”, and thought this would be complete crap. America turned away from it. Only 26 million domestically, far less than the Twilight films. I’m pretty sure a Twilight film opened to more than that in one day. It also has a disturbingly low 9% on Rotten Tomatoes. I was expecting this film to be terrible, yet… I liked it.
In the future, a parasitic alien race has taken over most of our bodies. Only a few humans still remain. Melanie (Saorise Ronan) is one of those humans, yet she’s captured at the top of the film. She is implanted with a soul known as Wanderer. However, Melanie is still inside, and she’s fighting for control of the body. Wanderer is interrogated at length by Seeker (Diane Kruger) about Melanie’s memories. At first, Wanderer is compliant, offering up information. But as Wanderer begins to catch glimpses of Melanie’s younger brother, Jamie (Chandler Canterbury), she begins to be conflicted. Then she starts catching memories of Melanie’s boyfriend, Jared (Max Irons), and she begins to think there is more to humans than her race believes. Wanderer escapes, with the help of Melanie’s thoughts, to return to Melanie’s friends and family.
When she gets to the safe camp, run by her uncle (William Hurt), everyone is skeptical and hates her. But her uncle takes a chance on her, and keeps her alive. He believes Melanie might still be in there somewhere. They rename her Wanda (because Wanderer is weird), and she slowly earns their trust, including that of Ian (Jake Abel), who she slowly begins to fall for, much to the dismay of Melanie’s thoughts. When one of the humans becomes injured, it is up to Melanie to save the day.
Director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca) handles what could have easily been a really crappy film well, and puts his trust fully in Saorise Ronan. It’s close to impossible to hate anything Saorise Ronan does, because she’s a fantastic actress. For someone who is only 19, she has a real depth and range of emotions. The supporting cast is all good in their parts. It’s hard to find a reason to hate the film. I suppose it could have been darker, except for the fact that the “souls” are presented as a mostly peaceful race who believe they are actually saving our planet by inhabiting us.
The only complaint that I have is that it is a little distracting having Saorise Ronan voice both Melanie and Wanda, because you don’t know who is thinking what, or saying what, at times. Wanda does have internal thoughts, and Melanie speaks inside her head. I don’t really have a solution for this, but maybe some things can’t be fixed. Also, the love story between Wanda and Ian happens so insanely fast it can’t be taken seriously. Ian is super horny or something.
The reviews I’ve read are super harsh, and I feel like an idiot for liking this film, but I did. Every once in a while, someone has to enjoy a crappy film I suppose, and The Host is that film for me.
FINAL GRADE: B