The Host Review: Achieving the Impossible

9780316218504_p0_v2_s260x420Unfortunately, in this case “The Impossible” refers to the creation of something even more poorly written than the Twilight Series.  I don’t know why, but at some point in time I decided to let myself believe that this movie could be something more than the vampire angst-fest of Meyer’s previous claim to fame.  Maybe it was the futuristic Sci-Fi backdrop, or the presence of Saoirse Ronan and William Hurt, or maybe it was simply the trailers’ excellent use of “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons.  Whatever it was, I managed to completely avoid any sort of reviews and enter into the theater with an open mind.  Unfortunately, I spent the next 2 hours of my life having my open mind forceably filled with this mindless, gratingly awful mess like some sort of reverse Pandora’s Box.  As horribly written as they come, the hollow characters and bad acting of The Host make it one of the most tragic abuses of the Science Fiction genre I have ever seen.

The Plot: 3/10

When an unseen enemy threatens mankind by taking over their bodies and erasing their memories, Melanie will risk everything to protect the people she cares most about, proving that love can conquer all in a dangerous new world.

Kissing in the rain?  How Original!

Kissing in the rain? How Original!

That last line of IMDb’s plot summary says it all in terms of how silly the story of this movie is.  The movie takes something as huge as the conquering of our entire planet by an alien race and distills it down to something as silly and trivial as a love triangle.  Meyer doesn’t even make much of an effort to hide the fact that the movie’s human resistance is nothing more than an overly elaborate frame for the kind of immature, self-obsessed romances my generation seems to be enamored with.  The only aspect of this that presents any sort of intrigue is the idea of two separate beings, attracted to two separate people, being trapped in the same body.  That being said, however interesting the idea is it is so horribly executed that it ends up not making much of a difference.  If Meyers really wanted to know how to make that relationship dynamic work, she should have just watched The Prestige and taken notes.

The Writing: 1/10

Miranda is the most bearable when unconscious

Miranda is the most bearable when unconscious

Even if the rest of the movie had contained brilliant acting, a compelling plot and amazing special effects, the gravity of just how bad the writing is would have still ruined all of it.  I have never read a Twilight book, but I’ve heard that Meyer’s writing style is just as bad as the movies themselves would suggest.  In my opinion, however, the level of writing in The Host is below even that of the Twilight films.  Alternating between blatant cliches, eye-rolling melodrama and lame attempts at comic relief, the script reaches a level of terrible that is usually reserved for Lifetime originals or Uwe Boll movies.

Split personalities has never been so dull

Split personalities has never been so dull

The worst offender by far, though, is the incessant barrage of internal bickering between Wanda and her host, Miranda.  Ignoring the weird mechanics of how the entire “body sharing” thing works, the dialogue that each character is given is nothing short of awful.  Because we never really get to see much of Miranda as a primary resident in her body with the exception of a few flashbacks, her character just comes across as incredibly childish and   utterly useless when it comes to helping out in the resistance effort.  Wanda’s a bit more bearable, but I never understood why she keeps trying to “save” Miranda when she’s essentially an embodiment of the sort of selfish, impulsive qualities that made us an undesirable race in the first place.

The Acting: 2/10

Stephanie Meyers is on a Taylor Swift level of arrested development

Stephanie Meyers is on a Taylor Swift level of arrested development

To be fair, it’s incredibly difficult for even the best of actors to rise above a terrible script.  That being said, watching a good actor or actress read off terrible lines is still much more bearable than watching mediocre-to-bad actors reading terrible lines.  Before this movie, I’d actually always thought of Saoirse Ronan (pronounced “Seer-sha”) as a pretty decent actress.  Watching her performance in this made me re-evaluate some of her work, however, and I’m now of the opinion that her lack of emotional range only lets her fit into the least dynamic of roles, i.e. Hanna (although I did like that movie).  As Wanda, she has about zero personality and even less development.  As Miranda, the only chance she has to make an impact is through her annoying voice-overs that constantly shift in and out of a Southern accent.

Chrome: Not the best camoflage in the world

Chrome: Not the best camoflage in the world

On the supporting end, the picture is just as bleak.  Max Irons’ performance is about as wooden as they come, making the focus relationship with Miranda feel even more pointless.  Jake Abel is a hair better than Irons, but the romance between him and Wanda comes out of nowhere and is equally uninteresting.  William Hurt saves a little face for the film, which is unsurprising given the fact that he’s about the only seasoned actor in the entire cast.  All of that face is lost by Diane Kruger as The Seeker, the film’s main antagonist who could easily have been replaces with an actual block of wood to achieve the same effect.  Comparable January Jones’ emotionless role in X-Men: First Class, The Seeker has now robbed all of the goodwill I bore Kruger from her role in Inglourious Basterds.

The Sci-Fi: 4/10

Thisscene  probably took about half of the movies' entire budget

This scene probably took about half of the movies’ entire budget

As I said above, the Sci-Fi setting is nothing more than another frame for Meyers to plug in the same weak romantic crap she is so well known for.  The special effects are limited to a few city backdrops and the brief glimpses we get of a Soul’s physical form.  Other than that, the only other efforts the creators made to establish a futuristic setting is an overabundance of brightly colored contact lenses and The Seekers’ fanatical devotion to chrome plating.  While I’ll admit that the Lotus Evoras the movie uses are beautiful cars, their shininess is not enough to distract from the complete lack of ambition the film shows in its production values.

The Verdict: 2.5/10 – Horrible

– The reduction of the grandiose premise to a love quadrangle is just sad

– The screenplay is among the worst I’ve seen all year

– The acting is atrocious, especially in the case of Kruger and Ronan

– The Sci-Fi elements are not even close to enough to justify the price of admission

Critical Consensus:

Rotten Tomatoes: 11%

IMDb: 5.9/10

Metacritic: 36/100

Other Reviews:

Fogs’ Movie Reviews: B+ (April Fools)

Dan the Man Movie Reviews: 3/10

Peter Finn Films: 2/10

Fogs’ Movie Reviews: D (Real)

About r361n4

I'm a student at the University of Washington Majoring Business. I've always loved movies and my goal is to work on the financial side of the film industry. Until then though, I figure I'll spare my friends from my opinions and shout them from a digital mountaintop for anyone who's interested. After all, if a tree falls in a forest and nobody blogs about it, does it really happen?
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17 Responses to The Host Review: Achieving the Impossible

  1. ninvoid99 says:

    I just realized that this film was the last film Roger Ebert reviewed. And he panned it. Well, at least he went out with a winner. We will miss him.

  2. CMrok93 says:

    Pretty crummy movie and just shows you that Meyer can barely do anything right. Nice review bud.

    • r361n4 says:

      Thanks, glad we’re on the same page with this one. Hopefully this will decrease her stock enough that it’ll be a while before we see her produce another movie

  3. filmhipster says:

    I see you got dragged into seeing this one. 😉

  4. Sucks for Ronan 😦 She’s normally so good!

    • r361n4 says:

      Yeah, I like her too but she’s not the kind of actor that can only shine when she’s given a good character. She’s not able to do much to break out of the clumsy writing

  5. Thanks for the pronounciation assist there! I think on my podcast I said something like “However the Hell you pronounce her name”! LOL 😀

    You’re right, this movie was dreck. Thanks for linking BOTH of my reviews, I would have hated for just the April Fools one to be the official version. Heh.

    I do disagree with you about it being worse than the Twilight movies though. At least this movie had something to offer aside from teen romance. That was basically ALL the Twilight films had. Here, as poor as it was, they did step into the sci-fi arena a little.

  6. mettelray says:

    “Unfortunately, in this case “The Impossible” refers to the creation of something even more poorly written than the Twilight Series.” THIS MADE MY WEEK!

  7. Mark Hobin says:

    Thanks for taking the bullet. I wasn’t that brave.

  8. Maria Gonzales says:

    The movie was god awful. But the book itself was pretty good. They just adapted it wrong. They made an action packed book that looked deeper into the true nature of humanity and of fighting a battle for your freedom look like a tween love triangle fest. The book is much better and is not as full of the romance junk. They tried going for the ‘Twilight’ look instead of sticking to the actual book plot. The book is worth reading but the movie is NOT worth watching, EVER.

  9. Pingback: Linked 7/4: Horror & other news | Mettel Ray Movie Blog

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