MOVIE REVIEW: The Host. Starring Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons and Jake Abel; directed by Andrew Niccol.
OPINION: Looking at Andrew Niccol's past films, it's easy to tell that he is a director and writer who likes science- fiction. The man at the helm of films like Gattaca and In Time, carries on his favourite genre with his latest film, The Host, based on Stephenie Meyer's novel of the same name.
Leaving the vampires out of her story this time and tackling an alien invasion, Meyer has delved into a future where aliens known as Souls, have taken over the bodies and memories of humans, leaving a small group, known as the Resistance, fighting for survival. Searching for the remaining humans, a Soul named Wanderer is inserted into the body of Melanie in the hope that the memories of her host body will lead to the location of the Resistance. However, Melanie doesn't give up her body so easily, making it difficult for Wanderer to learn any information needed by the Souls. Instead, Wanderer is exposed to Melanie's memories of love and family, specifically her brother Jamie and her lover, Jared.
Filmed in the stunning New Mexico landscape, fans of the novel will be pleased to know that it is a faithful adaptation, with only a few changes that are necessary for the film to move along at a good pace. The set locations and interpretation of the Souls are beautiful to look at, so it makes sense that the actors in leading roles are just as appealing.
The delicate-looking Saoirse Ronan has quite a number of films to her name. Her previous films, The Lovely Bones and Hanna, prepared her well for this role as the strong-willed and two-minded Melanie and Wanderer. Ronan's acting is good and definitely better than her leading men, Max Irons (Red Riding Hood) and Jake Abel (Percy Jackson), who perhaps just haven't had the opportunity to play challenging roles. But, in the end, they are there to look good and to make certain audience members sigh, which each of them do successfully.
While the concept of body snatching aliens isn't new, there is still a fan base for The Host, namely those Twilight fans craving more of a star-crossed lovers, against-all-odds scenario. It's also for those who enjoy an entertaining two hours, with a little bit of action, a splash of drama and of course a lot of romance. However, if you are a true sci-fi fanboy, perhaps stay clear. This one isn't for you.
- The Southland Times