Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Book to Film Review: The Host

About the film
The Host is a science fiction/ romance film that was released at the cinema on 29th March. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Stephanie Meyer. The Host has a rating of 12A and a run time of 125 minutes.

Set in the future, an alien species called ‘Souls’ are taking over the human race. Once entered inside a human body, their memories are erased completely and they become part of a society who trusts each other and does not believe in murder. However, some humans still survive and Melanie Stryder is on the run with her boyfriend and younger brother. When Melanie is taken by a Seeker, and overtaken by a ‘Soul’, she fights to keep her place in her own body. As a new member of her society, the ‘Soul’ inhabiting Melanie’s body (called Wanderer) is supposed to give information about Melanie’s human friends. As there are two voices inside her head, Wanderer fights to decide on what is right. While she knows she has a job to do, Melanie fights hard to save the ones she loves.

What I thought
Stephanie Meyer is so well known for having written the Twilight Saga and for those having become very popular films. The Host is Meyer’s book for adults although not one I have read myself even though I bought it the day of release.

The Host is set in the future where the world is no longer our own. Human bodies are overtaken by parasitic aliens against their will. Not all humans have been overtaken though and some run for their lives, determined to keep control of their own bodies and minds. I absolutely loved the idea behind this film. Very early on, we are introduced to the alien species of ‘Souls’ in human form. Although a species believing in calm and trust, they go to great lengths to find any remaining humans and do anything possible to capture the bodies. The thing that distinguishes the ‘Souls’ from humans is their metallic silver looking eyes, which was both beautiful and creepy at the same time.

Playing protagonist Melanie/ Wanderer is Saoirse Ronan, an unknown actress to me. I thoroughly enjoyed Ronan’s performance throughout this film and I thought she did a wonderful job considering it being quite a tricky role to play. Throughout the film, Wanderer has to deal with Melanie’s voice in her head, which obviously wouldn’t have really been there. Never did it look like Ronan was thinking too much about who or what she was replying to and it all looked as natural as it should have. Ronan also plays both characters with conviction and she was very believable as each. What I really enjoyed about her performance was that she was able to make both characters very different.

As the plot follows Wanderer carrying out Melanie’s wishes of finding her boyfriend and little brother, the setting changes from the city and the ‘Souls’ headquarters to remote desert land. The difference in settings was really interesting as they contrasted so much. Within the city, everything is very regimented and formal whereas in the outback, it is so beautiful and remote, without the stress of anything else going on. When Wanderer does find who she is looking for, they do not treat her like she is Melanie but instead as a prisoner where again, the stunning setting is used. Wanderer is kept underground, hidden away in a place where people are self-sufficient. I enjoyed how this setting also went with the ‘Souls’ ideas of peace and tranquillity, even when the humans didn’t agree.

The plot isn’t really all that exciting apart from a couple of moments so secondary characters are what help to make this film good. Other ‘Souls’ such as the Seeker played by Diane Kruger give the plot a good chase, with her trying to track down Wanderer and more humans. The Seeker was an interesting character because you can tell something is not quite right with her. She isn’t the same as the other ‘Souls’ and has a lot more fire inside of her. While others say to let Wanderer be, she cannot let it go and goes to great lengths to find her again.

Then there are the love interests. Melanie has a boyfriend called Jared but Wanderer becomes attracted to another boy, Ian. While I think love triangles are somewhat overdone now, I loved this one although I’m not sure it is technically a triangle. Melanie gets mad at Wanderer for liking someone else other than her own boyfriend but Wanderer wants to treat the body as her own while respecting Melanie’s wishes at the same time. Explaining it is a little confusing but not when you are watching the film. The romance aspect of this film was completely new, unique and different and definitely better than other romance stories out there at the minute.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Host as it was different from everything else out there at the minute. It also made me want to pick up the copy of the book that I have had sitting on the shelf for years. 

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