Hating 'The Host' 

Our reviewer continues his Stephenie Meyer-fueled jeremiad

Hey, kids, especially you aspiring filmmakers, gather around because Uncle Bob has got something to tell you. OK? Now, listen up.

I want you to make your next movie experience The Host. I want you to go and see it as soon as possible because it is an important step in your moviemaking education. It's an important step because it is the quintessential example of how to make a movie so shitty, Satan would actually turn his nose up at it and proclaim it too profane for his torture cineplex down in hell.

This car crash of a movie is based on a novel penned by Stephenie Meyer, writer of the Twilight things and, at this point, one of my sworn enemies. Nothing good has been produced from this writer's works, and I want her to take up full-time bowling or stenciling to distract her from her computer. Seriously, Stephenie ... you have a lot of money now. Please ... have mercy on those of us who can't handle your pap. Stop hurting us with your crazy words and ideas.

The Host leaves the land of sparkly vampires and journeys to a future Earth where aliens have invaded. These aliens are CGI super-white, flowing clusters of psychedelic sperm. They look like the trippy end result of a Daft Punk robot ejaculating (Daft Spunk?). These aliens have traveled through the universe, "bonding" with species by entering through a cut in their necks and turning their eyes a very light blue.

In the opening moments, we see Melanie (Saoirse Ronan), a human resister being cornered by alien-infected human beings, chief among them being The Seeker (Diane Kruger). They give chase and Melanie plunges through a window to certain death.

Sadly, for Ronan, Melanie lives on. Her life is saved after a Tiger Woods-looking dude puts an alien in her neck. She becomes Wanderer (later, Wanda) and seems in line with the alien plan for global domination. But, wait ... Melanie is still inside her head, and she's got some whining to do about the whole body being dominated by an alien thing.

Watching Ronan having arguments with her inner voice is trash cinema at its absolute acrid apex. It reminded me of All of Me, that movie where Steve Martin's body is possessed by Lily Tomlin. While Martin did a fine job arguing with the voice within, Ronan just sounds like a really wacky teenager with voices in her head.

Wanda winds up with Melanie's still-human uncle (William Hurt ... oh, it's so sad to see you here) somewhere in the desert. Her uncle and his followers eventually accept Wanda (the essentially possessed Melanie) as a friend and family member. She entertains the advances of two boys (Max Irons and Jake Abel), one being Melanie's old flame and the other being a dude who just thinks alien-possessed girls are super-hot.

Andrew Niccol, who made the decent Gattaca but also made the awful In Time, directs the movie. In Time was visually unimaginative and sterile, as is this film. Shiny cars and white suits are the accouterments of choice for the aliens, and nothing could be more boring visually.

Poor Saoirse Ronin. Here's a young actress with the talent to command great roles for her age group and she finds herself in this swill. Sure, her peeps probably thought getting her a gig in the latest film based on a Stephenie Meyer novel would be a sure thing to get her blockbuster actress status. It's actually one of the biggest creative bombs of the decade in cinema and will do nothing to move her forward. Ronan has chops. She doesn't deserve this.

On an optimistic note, Ronan is in Wes Anderson's next film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Perhaps this will be one of the films to get her back on track. Anderson is reliable, and surely he will find something to do with Ronan's talents besides allowing her to argue with herself for two hours.

I value my minutes here on this Earth. I consider each minute a precious little diamond nugget that I will never get back. Therefore, I don't normally wish for these minutes to pass me by quickly. I like to savor them.

When I was watching The Host, I found myself wishing I was some sort of amazing Time Lord, who could grab the minutes in The Host's remaining running time—just grab them in my amazingly powerful Time Lord hands and squash them to death, resulting in their passing without me actually experiencing them.

Alas, I just sat there watching The Host, helpless and sad, jaw agape and eyes glazed over, aware that some moments on this Earth aren't precious. They aren't precious in any way at all.

The Host
Rated PG-13 · 125 minutes · 2013
Official Site: thehostthefilm.com
Director: Andrew Niccol
Producer: Nick Wechsler, Steve Schwartz, Paula Schwartz, Stephanie Meyer, Jim Seibel, Bill Johnson, Marc Butan, Claudia Blüemhuber and Ray Angelic
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Jake Abel, Max Irons, Frances Fisher, Chandler Canterbury, William Hurt, Diane Kruger, Boyd Holbrook, Bokeem Woodbine, Scott Lawrence, J.D. Evermore, Rachel Roberts, Shyaam Karra, Brent Williams, Stephen Rider, Jaylen Moore, Stephen Conroy, Lee Hardee, Mustafa Harris and Tatanka Means


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