Sometime in the not so distant future, our planet has been invaded by an alien race known as Souls. These so called parasites have taken over nearly every living body on the planet and use their “hosts” as their own vessel to walk, talk and work just like the former occupants. But this twist on the Invasion of the Body Snatchers premise comes from a new perspective: the invaders. For the first time in human history, peace exists across the planet and the alien race truly believes that they are doing Earth and everyone on it a favor. Stephenie Meyer, creator of the Twilight series and author of The Host novel, brings us a thoroughly original examination of love, “soul” mates and what it really means to be human.
Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan), one of the few humans left alive, is on the run with her younger brother, Jamie (Chandler
Canterbury), and her end-of-the-world-brought-them-together-boyfriend, Jared (Max Irons). When the Seekers, Souls who work to round up the last remains of human kind, capture Melanie, Wanderer (or Wanda as she is later nicknamed) is placed in her body to retrieve information on the whereabouts of Melanie’s family from her memory. But Melanie has not left the body despite Wanda’s presence and Wanda is unable to access all of the information she needs. As the war in Melanie’s head continues, they eventually find themselves alone in the desert on a search for Melanie’s former family and Jared. Melanie and Wanda’s feelings become intertwined when they are reunited with their family and the struggle for their survival begins against the last of the human race.
Some of the intriguing science fiction gets lost in translation between book and film and I found myself missing the extensive world building found in the novel. However, the story and the romance remain in tact and Melanie and Wanda’s different characters are clear from the onset. The voiceover is somewhat awkward and never quite evokes the internal struggle Meyer intended to portray, but the love stories are poignant for both characters. Although no follow up book has been written, the ending certainly gives the hint at a possible sequel.
The Verdict: The main characters’ interaction is confusing and doesn’t quite work but the story still comes through. Not just for Twilight fans, The Host’s unique take on the apocalypse and an alien invasion will pique the interest of audiences everywhere.
Opens: March 29, 2013
Director: Andrew Niccol
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons, Jake Abel