The Movie Waffler New Release Review - The Host | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - The Host

A teenage girl struggles to free her mind and body from an alien parasite.

Directed by: Andrew Niccol
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Diane Kruger, William Hurt

In the future, a race of parasitic aliens have taken over the planet by using the minds and bodies of humans as hosts. One of the few surviving humans, Melanie (Ronan), is captured and a parasite by the name of Wanderer infects her body. Melanie's mind is strong however and refuses to allow the parasite to fully take over. As Wanderer begins to experience Melanie's memories, the parasite becomes sympathetic to its host and decides to help Melanie reconnect with her people, one of the last bands of survivors. When she tracks them down, however, they refuse to treat her as anything other than a host.
The distributors of 'The Host' opted not to screen the film for critics; never a good omen. I guess they saw the general critical mauling of the 'Twilight' series, whose author, Stephanie Meyer, wrote the novel this film is based on, and decided it better to keep things quiet before release. Somehow, I've managed to avoid experiencing the 'Twilight' phenomenon for myself so I had no preconceptions of 'The Host' to draw on. To me it just appeared to be another sci-fi movie from the lineage of 'Invasion of the Body-Snatchers' and 'The Thing'. How wrong I was. 'The Host' is an absolute travesty of a film, already a strong contender for this year's Rotten Waffle award.
Whatever of Meyer's influence, the blame has to be placed solely at writer-director Niccol's feet. He opts to convey the communication between Melanie and Wanderer through voice-over. The effect is hilarious for the first couple of minutes as you're instantly reminded of Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin's similar interaction from 'All of Me'. When you realize you're going to have to put up with this for the rest of the movie, it quickly becomes exceptionally aggravating. Ronan is a fine young actress but she really struggles with this preposterous idea. Most of her scenes consist of close-ups of the actress looking confused while she awkwardly, and laughably, argues with herself. I can't believe that at no point in the film's production did nobody acknowledge how ridiculous and anti-cinematic this idea was.
'The Host' could have served as a nice gateway for young girls into the world of sci-fi but, as with all of Niccol's past films, it's a wasted opportunity; one which you'll need to be wasted yourself before attempting to watch.