I’ve found it rather difficult to even begin my review of this film without immediately bringing to the table Stephenie Meyer. Yes, the same woman who brought us the titillating vampire love saga known as the Twilight series has also thrown us a bit of a curve ball with The Host. Warning: this film does not escape Meyer’s signature taste for love triangles and foreign species. However, it’s done with a bit more tact than Twilight and has a believability factor that completely eludes her other hits.
Set in a futuristic world (or perhaps an alternative world altogether), The Host stars Irish actress Saoirse Ronan as Melanie, a young girl from a small Southern town who is running from alien beings that have claimed Earth as their own. In order to colonize on our planet, the aliens cannot survive in their natural form but must inhabit human bodies.
Melanie eventually allows herself to be captured by Seekers, a group similar to our police force, in order to lead them away from her younger brother Jamie (Chandler Canterbury) and their traveling companion Jared (Max Irons).
When the alien being is implanted into Melanie, she no longer has control of her body. The alien being, named Wanderer, now controls Melanie; however, Melanie is still alive in there as well (most human hosts die in relinquishing their bodies to the new occupants).
Wanderer is sympathetic to the human cause, and, through Melanie’s memories, grows attached to the human life Melanie once claimed - she is willing to help Melanie. Melanie leads Wanderer to a desert mountain ridge where her family and friends have been in hiding. Wanderer, soon nicknamed "Wanda," must convince the tribe of fearful non-believers (including Jamie, Jared and Melanie's uncle) that she does not mean to bring them harm but merely wants to only belong somewhere in this strange, new, uncharted world.
The majority of this film takes place inside Melanie’s head through conversations between herself and Wanda, as well as in flashbacks. Melanie’s voice over is jolting at first, but it doesn’t take long to become accustomed and even enjoy her social commentary.
Diane Kruger is a menacing antagonist as The Seeker, and this film's hunky men don’t leave your eyes hurting one bit. Avid fans of the book will most likely be satisfied with this adaptation.
But it is Ronan who is the real deal. With an impeccable accent and a keen sense of timing, she steals the show. The movie could have easily gone down the same road that many other adaptations with large young adult followings have gone down before if a less capable actress had taken the lead. Instead, despite the voice over and strange CGI aliens, Ronan's performance convinced me that both characters, Melanie and Wanda, were actually co-existing.
The Host is now currently playing in theaters. For more information, click here.