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I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I had the opportunity to screen THE HOST a couple weeks ago in San Francisco. Being that I was a huge 'Twilight' fan, when I heard that Stephenie Meyer wrote another book that was an "adult" book a few years ago, I immediately had to check it out. I'm going to confess here that I didn't finish it. I wasn't a fan. I just couldn't get into it. I'm not a HUGE sci-fi fan to begin with unless you count Star Wars which I don't since I was raised with two older brothers. I mean who doesn't like Star Wars. So that being said... I eventually returned the copy I borrowed from a friend unfinished and moved on with my life.
Fast Forward to Comic Con last July, I got to see the exclusive 8 minute trailer introduced by miss Stephenie Meyer herself during the 'Breaking Dawn Pt 2' panel... Meh... Not Impressed.(CueGrumpy Cat)
Again, moved on with my life although I was quite intrigued with the cast they acquired. Then a month ago John came to me with the opportunity to screen the movie and interview Max Irons and Jake Abel who play the two main male lead roles in the film. Done. In. Who wouldn't be right? I immediately downloaded the book on my nook again and tried to read it. Real Life got in the way and I wasn't able to finish before I saw the movie but honestly I am kind of glad that I didn't.
I am such a huge reader and so many times I am disappointed with the book to movie adaption.(aka Beautiful Creatures) So for once it was actually really nice to go into this movie not having read the book first. I knew the general story line so I wasn't too terribly confused with the plot. I brought a friend with me who also hadn't read the book.
THE HOST is technically "sci fi" and "alien invasion" but it's not your typical Alien story. It takes place after the invasion, which was a sort of peaceful invasion. The aliens which are referred to as souls inhibit human bodies and take possession of their mind, body, spirit. All for the common goal of reclaiming the world for the betterment of humanity. The "aliens" fit in the palm of your hand and are really a bright light with tentacles almost. Not exactly the gross alien I was picturing. Only a few humans have escaped possession, by hiding out in remote areas. Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan) is one of the humans that is on the run with her brother, Jamie (Chandler Canterbury) and boyfriend Jared (Max Irons). Melanie is cornered in an abandoned hotel and tries to sacrifice her life to protect the ones she loves, however she does not die and is implanted by a millennium old soul (alien) named Wanderer.
Seeker (Diane Kruger) then tries to have Wanderer access Melanie's memories to rat out the location of other humans in hiding, in search of the "resistance", however Melanie's voice starts a sort of "tug of war" with Wanderer for control over Melanie's body. Melanie convinces Wanderer to escape, and drives out to the desert in search of Melanie's family. She trenches through the desert and nearly dies of dehydration when Melanie's Uncle Jeb (William Hurt) finds her. It is very quickly realized that humans do not realize that a human can remain alive once a soul has been inserted into a body. This is one of my favorite parts of the movie which totally catches me off guard. Wanderer/Melanie is reunited with Jared and it's fantastic I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't read the book like me because the shock factor was great!
I have to say that the story that follows is quite moving! I was pleasantly surprised! While there were things that I found very predictable and totally "Stephenie Meyer" cheesy, I was greatly surprised with how adult the story was compared to 'Twilight'. There are amazing themes of love, friendship, family, loyalty, and humanity that really cause you to think. The love story is actually quite interesting and fascinating. It isn't a triangle, but more of a box, as I heard one of the actors Jake Abel say in an interview, because SPOILER ALERT, His character Ian, falls in love with Wanda- The Alien inhabiting Melanie's body. I was greatly impressed with Jake's acting ability in this role to really make the audience feel as though he wasn't just attracted to "Melanie's" physical appearance but to Wanda (Uncle Jeb shortens Wanderer to "Wanda") herself. I found their scenes very moving. Also while we are on the topic of the love story, since all the girls out there are wanting to know... this movie does not leave you wanting in the department of eye candy. Max and Jake are quite nice to look at and there is SOO MUCH KISSING. Kissing in the Rain. Kissing on a mountain. Kissing in a wheat field. MORE Kissing in the Rain. A little bit of Max Iron's butt cheek.... Moving on!
William Hurt's character of Uncle Jeb was probably one of my favorite things about this movie as well. I loved that his character didn't give up on Melanie and that he gave Wanda a chance. His lines were some of my favorite's and his delivery of them just made me chuckle! I wasn't too familiar with his work before this but now I want to go rent all of the William Hurt movies I can get my hands on. He was just fantastic and on Point.
Saoirse Ronan was quite impressive. Her disappearing southern accent as Melanie bothered me at times but I really, really enjoyed her performance as Wanderer/Wanda. After hearing her thick Irish accent in person last weekend at the Host junket (interview coming this week!) I was even more impressed with her controlled American accent in the movie! One of the things that really turned me off from this story was the fact that it was sort of "body snatcher" and that I knew the Alien invaded the main characters body and honestly it kind of weirded me out and I just wasn't interested in it. But to see it on screen I was really surprised at how well Saoirse portrayed it and how it didn't bother me at all. The little things that she did to make it seem believable were fantastic. I really got into it and I didn't ever find myself thinking that it was stupid.
As far as split personalities you also get to see this a bit with Diane. Not to the same extent as Saoirse but I figured out very early on in the movie that the Seekers "host" must have been "fighting" her as well... You very quickly become aware to the Seekers internal struggle with her host as it become a very public and outward struggle as she starts to lose control. It starts with finger twitching. Then she slips and says "we". Diane also executed this rather well.
I got a chance to see a second screening of the movie in Los Angeles last weekend and this time I took a friend who had read the book. I actually found that the 2nd time I saw the movie I was brought to tears in some scenes. My friend that read the book and adores the book enjoyed it as well. She felt that although there were certain things missing as naturally there are going to be when you adapt a 600 page book into a 2 hour movie the main theme's and major emotions were translated really well onto the screen and she loved it. I'm sure @ferferlina would love to talk about it more in detail with someone! I honestly haven't heard a bad thing about it yet from all the people I know that have seen it!
On that note, I would say go! Even if you aren't a normal Sci Fi person like me, check it out. Even if you haven't read the book! GO!! I actually quit enjoyed it and during press junkets, I heard quite a few people say that they enjoyed the movie actually MORE than the book!! Kind of happy that I made the decision that I did now! Don't let the fact that the author of "Twilight" scare you off.... Trust me when I tell you it's NOTHING like twilight. It had a fantastic writer/director! I plan on dragging my husband along to go see it opening weekend for my birthday!
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