“No, don’t kiss him -- you’re not even from the same planet!” Yes, Stephenie Meyer’s eloquent subtleties of life and love strike theaters once again with The Host, an adaptation of her follow-up to the enormously popular Twilight series. Here, an alien race takes over Earth one human body at a time, but when one soul refuses to leave her own body -- what’s an alien parasite to do but make out with both the human’s boyfriend…and his buddy! This time, Meyer’s love-triangle nonsense is brought to the screen by Andrew Niccol, the Gattaca vet whose career has had just as many ups (The Truman Show, Lord of War) as downs (S1m0ne, In Time). After this fanciful teen-romance turd, it’s safe to say that the filmmaker has padded his pocket, but not his show reel.
Saoirse Ronan stars as Melanie, a desperate young woman struggling to survive in a world where aliens have made the Earth a peaceful place, but also one where every person’s soul is pushed aside and their bodies controlled by a space jellyfish that is inserted in their necks. During a foot chase, Melanie escapes being overtaken by jumping out a three-story window and killing herself. Thankfully for her, she suffered no broken bones because “her soul was too strong.” Cue Wanderer, the alien parasite who is inserted into Mel and is tasked with searching through the rebel’s memories to find the rest of the human outcasts. The problem is, Melanie’s mind won’t be pushed aside, and somehow manages to talk Wanderer into busting out and joining up with her boyfriend, brother, and friends in the desert. In pursuit is The Seeker (Diane Kruger), herself an alien being who is struggling with her own control of her body.
Soon Wanderer and Melanie find the humans they are looking for and before you know it, Mel’s old boyfriend Jared (Max Irons) wants to hook up with Wanderer (now dubbed Wanda) while Wanda wants to hook up with Ian (Jake Abel), all the while fighting off the nagging voice in her head (aka: Mel) who’s telling her she’s ruining everything. That’s basically the plot. Much of it takes place in caves. It’s all quite stupid and at two hours and five minutes, the movie is insufferably long. It’s also very obviously a franchise starter, so expect familiar Hollywood faces to show up at the end and become big parts of future films. It’s too bad a parasite couldn’t have taken over this film and made it into something remotely interesting -- then again, not every movie from Stephenie Meyer can have a half-vampire baby busting out of its mom’s ribs...we can always hope, though.
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