Film hosts a good time

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Movie poster for The Host

By Victoria Walker
Staff Writer

On March 29, 2013, opening night of The Host, the AMC Tyngsboro 12 theater was packed, mostly with teenage girls. The film, which marks popular author Stephenie Meyer’s second series to hit the big screen, was directed by Andrew Niccol and starred Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons and Jake Abel.

The film takes place on futuristic earth after the planet has been plagued by an invasion of alien “Souls”, who inhabit the bodies of humans in an effort to perfect the world.
The plot follows the story of Wanderer, a host who inhabits the body of Melanie, a girl who was part of the small human resistance to the alien colonization. Soon after beginning life in her new body, Wanderer discovers that Melanie is still conscious and mentally fighting against her. Through a series of flashbacks and internal conversations between the two, the audience soon learns of Melanie’s past, various relationships and the human resistance, and they set out into the desert to find her past.

The movie, like the book, outpaced Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, so there are likely to be some fans of this new franchise among those who cringe at the thought of sparkling vampires. Even the quirky love triangle introduced, while odd and frustrating at times, is an improvement to the typical indecisive one girl, two guys scenario. While the film does not reach all the fine details of the scientific, futuristic universe portrayed in the book, it did manage to capture all of the essential ideas of the story. Don’t expect many surprises if you read the book, but also don’t expect to be left very frustrated at the lack of accuracy.

One refreshing touch was the lack of extreme visual effects. Aside from the glowing eyes of the hosts, outworldly medicine and transportation devices, the visuals were pretty believable. The clean cut white attire of the “seekers” and their reflective metallic vehicles established identity without going out on any crazy alien limb. Some more action would have been nice in place of a couple of the sitting-in-caves scenes, but what was done was done nicely.

This film is, above all, a love story. There are some nice shots of scenery and clean, alien-inhabited office buildings, along with various scattered action scenes, but the basis of the plot is the mental conflict between Melanie and “Wanda” and the development of family ties, friendships and relationships. While the film does not lack a sci-fi element, the desert and cave scenes and mental conversations take up just as much, if not more, time than that spent on flashy high-tech buildings and gadgets.

Overall, this is a good movie to go see with friends. It combines romance, action and an apparently utopian society, while managing to draw forth laughter and a few tears from audience members on opening night. If you’re looking for something extremely deep, a complete tear-jerker or something to keep you on the edge of your seat, this may not be the movie for you, but it is a fun way to spend a couple of hours, with a good storyline and a lot of emotion.