(Rating: 12A, 125 mins) Written by Zen Terrelonge
Starring – Saoirse Ronan, Diane Kruger, Max Irons, Jake Abel.
Just when you thought The Twilight Saga offered the most convoluted romance ever created, Stephenie Meyer surpassed herself when she penned The Host; a labyrinth-like love tale, which, frankly, is Twilight, but with aliens replacing vampires.
The year is unspecified, but palm-sized extraterrestrials called Souls have infiltrated the minds of the human population in order to possess their bodies, leaving pockets of survivors driven into hiding. Melanie (Ronan) and love Jared (Irons) are two of the aforementioned outlaws, and the former finds herself captured and taken over by ‘Wanderer’.
The caveat of being provided with a body, is that the Soul, Wanderer, in this case, must provide the Seekers (Soul law enforcement) with information from Melanie’s memory that will help track down the human resistance. That’s easier said than done, of course, as Melanie doesn’t go down without a fight, which creates an peculiar body-sharing dynamic that prompts Ronan to portray two roles; one tangible and one transcendent.
With Melanie and Wanderer forging a hybrid personality called Wanda – think of her as Bella Swan – there’s alternative agendas on all sides as she finds mass hostility and panic when she returns to the place she once considered sanctuary. Meanwhile, lead Seeker (Kruger) – think of her as anyone that wants to kill Bella, there’s a long list – embarks on a Terminator-esque mission to track and destroy the renegade being.
Amidst all the confusion, hormones run wild as Jared – think of him as Edward Cullen – experiences conflicted feelings of hate and love, while Ian (Abel) – aka would-be Jacob Black – is waiting in the wings to pick up the pieces. The film is a sizable two hours and is sedate throughout, which I find disappointing considering the potential the sci-fi genre has to wow and amaze, but it’s the romance that seems hurried and forced, with adoration seemingly occurring in the blink of an eye.
There’s a cheesy taint to the film, although there are also moments of cuteness, with Ronan doing a fine job of distinguishing her roles, but overall, the film lacks bite – pun not intended.