Monday, April 8, 2013

Bechtloff Movie Night: The Host (2013)

When I first saw commercials for this movie, I actually thought it looked like it would be pretty damn good. But when I found out it was based off of a book by Stephanie Meyer, the woman who gave us Twilight my hopes died down dramatically. But the commercials and trailers still looked really good, so how bad could it really be?

The story here is that these little alien symbiotes/parasites have taken over the world. They get inside humans and live there, leaving their bodies intact and have pretty much made a utopia out of our world. In most worlds they co-exist with their hosts but because humans are apparently the assholes of the galaxy they have to fully take over with us. What makes us assholes? We have war and pollution and stuff. Apparently other sentient life forms never had those problems. In most cases the host is erased, in some cases, such as our leading lady they remain alive, trapped in the back of their head.

So an alien named Wanderer, later shortened to Wanda has taken over Melanie. But Melanie is still alive in there and Wanda can hear her. After hashing it out Wanda starts to pity humans and makes her way to a hidden camp of remaining humans that Melanie was from. The initial reaction from most is to kill her but the leader of the camp stops them. Eventually Wanda befriends the humans and shows them how to remove the aliens from people to free the ones who are still alive and Wanda takes on a body of someone who never woke up after the operation because they were apparently erased by the alien. Oh and there's some forced love triangles because Stephanie loves that shit.

You know it's easy to hate Stephanie Meyer for being a complete and total hack, because she is, but at this point I find her more adorable than anything else. It's like she made a crayon drawing of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Wow Stephanie, did you do that all by your self? Well this is going right on the refrigerator. There was so much about this story that was incredibly interesting and creative, but all those elements were shunted to the background in favor of love triangles, the power of love, and characters who never seem to have clear motivations. I have no idea why anyone is doing half the shit they're doing. When Wanda/Melanie first get back to the camp Melanie keeps telling Wanda not to tell everyone she's still in there. Why? I have no fucking idea. Our two in one lead is lucky she didn't get killed by them and that was information that could get her in everyone's good graces. Thankfully the people in the camp warm up to her anyway, because...again I have no damn clue. And then she just tells them anyways. So not only did it make no sense, it was abandoned for no real reason. Oh and once Wanda decides she's going to leave Melanie's body she tells the doctor he should kill her rather than send her to another planet like the other aliens. Why? Because...ummmm....martyr? Meyer is very fond of martyr characters, but she doesn't seem to understand what being a martyr actually is. It's not a noble sacrifice if nobody else gains anything from your death, it's just suicide. This becomes yet another nonsense plot thread that is abandoned because they just put her in a shell body anyways.

I found myself so fascinated by some of the things in this world. I wanted to know more of how the alien's utopia functioned. When we would see glimpses of how the humans were surviving in the caves, some of it was ingenious. The leader of the human resistance was an awesome character, we didn't spend nearly enough time with him. There is so much about this that could have been great, but instead our focus is on characters who do some of the most nonsensical things for the flimsiest of reasons.

In an odd way however this film is very much worth seeing, if just for the case study of wasted potential. I wouldn't recommend paying to see it in the theater, but if you see it on TV years from now, or even in a Redbox, it's worth checking out. It's a failure of a film, but it's a fascinating failure.

1 comment:

  1. Tbf to Meyer she actually explains the background of the souls and how the invasion happened in the book. Also she shows a bit more of the world than the film does. The film just doesn't bother to explain things and puts way more emphasis on romance which the book didn't.