The Host: Review

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I had read the book by Stephenie Meyer quite a few years ago but I couldn’t remember what happened. All I could remember was the concept, which I thought would be difficult to recreate on screen. At first, the voiceover is jarring, but you soon get used it. It is a sweet film that is nice to watch but it isn’t overly enjoyable.

I’ll clarify what I mean. Basically, there is nothing terribly wrong with the film yet I came anyway thinking it was good, but not great, amazing etc. This is odd because I loved the book and was really excited about the film. I can’t put my finger on why I simply liked it. The film is generally good but I didn’t really enjoy it and I wouldn’t be bothered about seeing it again. I’m bewildered about why that is.

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Saoirse Ronan stars as Melanie Stryder/Wanderer. Humans have been taken over by “souls”, who inhabit their bodies but sometimes the human memories linger. There are a few pockets of humans left. Melanie is of them. When she is found, a soul (named Wanderer) is implanted inside her to search her memories for clues about the remaining humans. Melanie is tough and she hangs onto her mind, eventually making Wanderer take her side to help her find her friends and family.

It must have been difficult for Saoirse to play two minds in one body. You don’t see it psychically that often. Melanie’s thoughts are said using a voiceover, which can take a lot of getting used to. Once you’ve got over the idea of Melanie’s body arguing with Melanie’s thoughts, it becomes easier to enjoy.

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I don’t think the concept is too difficult because it is explained well, although I would recommend you read the book. The main theme of film though is love, with Wanderer loving one person and Melanie loving another. These complex relationships begin when Melanie discovers her people, who treat her with disgust at first.

I really liked the first introduction of the cave and how the people have learned to live. It was really interesting and the set must have been so complex. Despite her being a “soul”, you really start to like Wanderer more than Melanie and you want her to be happy too.

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There isn’t much in the way of action (except when “seekers” try to hunt Wanderer down, lead by the evil Diane Kruger). It is mainly about evolving relationships within the cave and how the humans learn to accept Wanderer as a soul. It does border on boring occasionally.

I thought Saoirse did a great job but her American accent was inconsistent. We had enough man candy with her boyfriend, Jared (Max Irons), and a Twilight style love triangle (or square) with another human, Ian (Jake Abel), who Wanderer has feelings for.

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It is interesting and I love the concept. It is the same teenage fodder that Twilight is, though perhaps slightly more mature. The ending is really happy, in a sad way, and the cast did a great job but was let down by some cliched dialogue. Overall, it is a nice film which would be more suitable for watching at home with girlfriends.

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