Movie Review: The Host (2013)

The Host (2013) Poster

Not to be confused by the Korean Science Fiction movie of the same name from 2006, or the impending American remake of that same Korean movie, The Host (2013) is a movie written by the infamous Twilight author-producer Stephenie Meyer, and directed by Andrew Niccol who is famous for In Time, Lord of War, S1m0ne, Gattaca, and Truman Show.

host eyes

I wonder if they re-used the same contact lenses from Twilight..

Most of the reviews given to The Host has been poor and I am inclined to agree. 10 minutes into the movie preview and I’m wondering why this movie had to be made for the big screen. It felt more like a production suited to a television movie. Special effects were kept to bare minimum with some alien transplant animation, a few car chases and some explosions. Nothing a television movie budget couldn’t handle. For the big screen, I suppose most of the budget must have been spent on actors, directors and the producer.

host surrounded

Lets Tango!

Kiwi director, Niccol, might have faltered with this project in terms of quality, but he probably still got a nice paycheck. His last feature film, In Time (2011), in my opinion, had been painful to watch and this one no less. His best work as a director, writer or both had been for Lord of War (2008), Gattaca (1997) and the classic, The Truman Show (1998).


This movie had potential to be well told but it simply degenerated into a slow-paced love story set in a science fiction genre.

To sum up this movie, we’ve written a ridiculously convoluted sentence (make sure you have glass of water handy as you read this out loud) :

“Hidden behind the advertised storyline, where a superior but peaceful parasitic alien race invades earth (and other planets), by occupying the bodies of its inhabitants and taking over their minds, to spread the perfect socialist state, to manage earth, lies a silly teenage romance, which Meyer’s has similarly injected into the Twilight series.”

Here’s another one:

“Loopholes abound such as, how did the first wave of amoeba shaped aliens overcome the first hosts without superpowers, and physical appendages, or why not develop an advanced host body which doesn’t degenerate like a human body does, when this superior alien race has the intelligence to make a magical liquid in a spray bottle that heal wounds instantly, and bring humans from near death back to life almost immediately.”

diane kruger and lotus evora

Kruger and the silver Evora – the car you can grill hotdogs with, on a hot day

The only way to enjoy this movie then is to prevent your mind from being over analytical and spare any comparisons to other science fiction dramas. Of course, you can enjoy the view of Diane Kruger, her shoes, Saoirse Ronan, the male actors, or maybe just the silver-chrome Lotus Evora cars.

A note of warning, there is an added irritation if you are watching the movie on the big screen in Malaysia, the country’s film censorship boards exercised its mighty scissors and snipped every single kissing scene no matter how harmless they were. To make up for this, here is a passionate one from the movie…

host-kiss

Original synopsis: The Host is a story of love and sacrifice in a futuristic world with the fate of humanity at stake. Planet Earth has been taken over by peaceful aliens, known as Souls. Melanie (Saoirse Ronan), one of a small band of human resistance, is caught by The Seeker (Diane Kruger), a peacekeeper responsible for defending this new race from the last of the humans. After a desperate struggle, a Soul named Wanderer is surgically implanted into Melanie’s body. Melanie’s strong will convinces the reluctant Wanderer to be her ally and they set off on a dangerous search to save her family, and the men they both come to love

The Host is taking over Malaysian cinemas 4 April 2013.

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