Universal // 2013 // 125 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // July 9th, 2013
You will be one of us.
What happens when Twilight meets E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.
It's the future, and the aliens have already won. Extraterrestrial parasites known as "souls" have taken over human bodies -- pod people style -- and turned the Earth into a utopia with no violence, no hunger, and no disease. When a rouge human named Melanie (Saoirse Ronan, The Lovely Bones) is captured and implanted with a new "soul," the fight for survival turns inward, as Melanie and her new inhabitant -- named "Wanderer" -- battle for control over her body. After Melanie wins the battle, the two escape into the world to find Melanie's brother Jamie (Chandler Canterbury, Repo Men) and the love of her life, Jared (Max Irons, Red Riding Hood), who are living with a tribe of humans hidden deep in some remote desert caves. On her tail is "The Seeker" (Diane Kruger, Inglourious Basterds), a tenacious military style "soul" who will stop at nothing to find Melanie and erase her memory. Can our hero find her past to save her future? And will there be vampires in this movie?
Will it surprise you to learn I'm not a fan of the Twilight franchise? Actually, I'm not a fan of Twilight. It was such an abysmal experience, I never saw any of the other films in the series. My understanding is, as the sequels progressed, they got minutely better, in the same way that two week old sour milk is more palatable than four week old sour milk. When push comes to shove, you're still chugging sour milk.
Since author Stephanie Meyers already conquered sparkly vampires, the million dollar scribe turned her eye to the stars with the intergalactic thriller The Host. The book became enough of a hit to spawn a film adaptation, which is just as terrible as Twilight, oozing so much melodrama I feared my Blu-ray player would start leaking. Any 2013 flick that uses the cliché "I'm going to end this once and for all!" deserves to be ridiculed. This is a shoddily acted, poorly paced embarrassment, and Andrew Niccol (In Time) should be relegated to making at least two Troma straight-to-DVD titles for writing and directing this train wreck.
The Host is one big steaming pile of awful. Make that laughably awful. Remember how terrible the Edward-Bella-Jacob love triangle was? If you hated that, you're going absolutely loathe The Host's weird four-sided love square where two men want to be with the same two women, the catch being the two women (I guess the alien counts as a woman, right?) are inside of the same body. At one point, there's essentially a kissing contest to see who is who and how everyone feels, because the alien and the human are separate, but one is...Wait. Where are you going? Stop laughing. This is serious stuff!
You see what we're working with here? The aliens all have pale blue eyes that make them look like the offspring of Meg Foster. The dialogue is so ridiculous it's as if an eleven year old girl wrote it inside her glittery spiral bound notebook adorned with unicorn and Jonas Brothers stickers. Labeling The Host as science fiction is akin to making a zombie movie with a G-rating. It makes absolutely no sense!
Saoirse Ronan has been a talented and indispensable actress in such films as Hanna and Peter Jackson's under-appreciated The Lovely Bones. Here Ronan comes close to being terrible as Melanie and her alien counterpart. What we get is essentially a two-sided conversation from one person, all but reenacting the Steve Martin comedy All of Me. To be honest, I can't figure out which is funnier. At least director Carl Reiner was going for intentional humor. The Host can't even recognize its script is a real howler. The rest of the cast -- including Kruger, I Am Number Four's Jake Abel, Titanic's Frances Fisher -- are all wasted on this material. I hope they got a fat paycheck, because this one isn't going to do their careers any favors. Side note: Esteemed actor William Hurt (Children of a Lesser God) is also in this movie, which I almost did not mention because it's just too depressing to contemplate.
Presented in 2.40:1/1080p HD widescreen transfer, this exceptional looking picture sports an awesome color scheme and bold black levels. The visuals are crystal clear, offering up some of the best imagery in recent memory, wasting all this magic on a sub-par movie. The aggressive DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio Surround mix sounds spectacular, with its throbbing bass and a ton of directional effects enveloping the listener. We also get English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles.
Bonus features include a commentary from writer/director Andrew Niccol, author Stephanie Meyer, and producer Nick Wechsler; a brief making-of- featurette ("Bringing The Host to Life"); a fake PSA from the film; four deleted scenes; a few trailers; and the obligatory DVD, iTunes digital, and UltraViolet copies of the film.
The Host is only worth your time if you have placed most of your hard earned money in everything that is Twilight. And if that's the case, you deserve this movie.
A bottom feeding Twilight wannabe. Guilty!
Review content copyright © 2013 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 2.40:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 125 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
* Deleted Scenes
* DVD Copy
* Digital Copy
* UltraViolet Download