“If our memories are alive, are we?” – Jeb
What exactly constitutes life? Where does the soul reside? How hard would you fight to keep a promise to one you love?
Leave it to Stephenie Meyer to make us ponder life’s great mysteries…. Wait. What?
It’s true. In The Host, Stephenie Meyer attempted to create a story rich with philisophic intrigue that is still attractive to the Twilight crowd.
I actually read the book when it was first released years ago and I was skeptical when I heard it was to be made into a movie. The story is heavy with inner turmoil for our heroine that remains largely unknown to the other characters. There are only two obvious ways to translate this to film. The movie can be laden with heavy voice over or the characters can talk to themselves aloud. If you ask me, both methods are highly annoying.
The Host decides to go out on a limb. Instead of relying on either of the obvious methods for portraying internal dialogue; the creators decided to employ BOTH highly obnoxious manners of sharing thoughts with the audience. I considered turning it off about 50 times in the first 20 minutes. For my perseverance, I was rewarded with just over 2 hours of mindless entertainment that is capable of giving days of meaningful, if slightly pretentious, conversation in the real world. (Just don’t tell anyone what inspired your new level of What Is Life soul searching.)
It all starts when a group of glass jaw aliens take over Earth by invading the bodies of humans. (Seriously, one punch lays them flat, HOW did they gain domination?!?!) A small minority of humans have managed to maintain control of their bodies by evading the twinkly eyed aliens through any means necessary. Their evasion techniques include, but are not limited to, BASE jumping out of the window of a building without a parachute, and pulling a Thelma and Louise into a wall to avoid capture.
But what if they knew that the alien invasion does not always mean the death of man? What if the human lives on, sharing the body with the invader, truly acting as a host to an unwelcome guest?
That is the predicament Melanie Stryder finds herself in when she is captured and forced to share her body with Wanderer, an alien just trying to do her job. Exposed to Melanie’s memories and emotions, Wanderer develops great compassion for the humans of Earth.
Melanie could give two shits about Wanderer’s growing empathy. She wants control of her body, she wants freedom from the aliens, and she wants to find her human companions.
The Host tries to walk a line between Young Adult fiction and adult drama. What makes us better than them? What right do they have to judge us too animalistic? Exactly which girl will end up with which guy?
Melanie and Wanderer circle the mind they share, fight for control of the body they inhabit, and of course find a way to create a Love Square. (Love triangles really are so played out.) The hive of human survivors and the ever-present Seekers all work to showcase the many sides of man and humanity.
While succeeding in getting us to the other side, there is no poetry to the tightrope walk along the way of this tale. Although meaningful thoughts are aroused from the story, it just feels awkward to the end. It is obvious why there are no Team Wanda/ Team Melanie shirts for sale – the truth is that it is really hard to care what happens to any of these characters.