Review: The Host


Director:Andrew Niccol

Cast:Saoirse Ronan, Diane Kruger, Max Irons, William Hurt, Jake Abel

Running Time:125.00


With the Twilight series, Stephenie Meyer has perpetrated unspeakable crimes against the written word, and the five films have been equally horrific for anyone who enjoys film. The only atrocity yet to be translated to the screen was her foray into sci-fi, The Host, which even fans would decry as her worst work.

When it was announced Andrew Niccol would tackle the futuristic film, a glimmer of hope appeared. After all, he wrote two of the best films of the '90s (Gattaca and The Truman Show), and his movies are always interesting if not flat-out amazing. Alas, The Host is certainly not amazing and, unfortunately, not even interesting.

For all the issues with The Host, chief among them a weak script and lousy acting, it's first and foremost boring. That's a real shame because if Niccol was writing at even half his usual level, this would have been a fascinating story with plenty of themes to explore. Instead, we're treated with the most basic version of the plot.

It goes like this: an advanced alien race peacefully invaded the Earth, overtaking the bodies of nearly every human. Since then, they've stopped global warming, wars, and traffic. Much like The Matrix, the "bad guys" don't really seem all that bad. Of course, the downside is the loss of free will, but this is an issue the movie has no interest in exploring. No, the most important thing is picking which boy to kiss. 

The girl who's been taken over is Melanie (Saoirse Ronan), who went on the run since her dad opted to shoot himself instead of play host to an alien invader. She's had to look after her brother (Chandler Canterbury), but that took a backseat when Jared (Max Irons) rescued them. Now that she's been captured and implanted, she's trying to hide her memories from the alien inside her to protect her loved ones.

Here's where everything gets utterly dull and predictable: Melanie escapes the other aliens and leads her possessed body to her uncle's desert compound. No one trusts her because she's "one of them." The slight twist in all this is that the alien inside her falls in love with the brother of Melanie's boyfriend (Jake Abel).

This makes the film makes things needlessly complicated, but never in a way that gives it a deeper meaning. There was plenty to explore about being a person divided, but it all has to give way to a completely undeveloped and pointless love triangle.

Anyone who enjoys the shallow romance of the Twilight series will absolutely love this trash, but if you've still got a brain and control of your own body, stay far away. 


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.

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