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09 April 2013 @ 12:53 pm
Picoreview: The Host  

Picoreview: The Host: A hell of a lot better than Twilight.

I mean this in the same way I meant “It didn’t suck!” when I saw the first X-Men movie. I mean, I realize, yes, that Twilight is not a high bar to reach in terms of quality of acting or storytelling, but since that was approximately my expectation going in, “a hell of a lot better” is meant very kindly.

The nutshell summary of The Host, adapted from Twilight author Stephanie Meyer’s 2008 SF novel of the same title, is “Peaceful parasitical aliens have taken over most humans, but a young woman resists amalgamation and fights back.” Right out of the box that’s better than TWILIGHT, because our heroine, Mel, has what the kids today appear to be calling “agency”: she has something to fight for, and does. Takes control of her own destiny. Etc. I found that heartening enough to want to go see it, and did. (Unfortunately, no one else did: it’s an amazing flop.)

My biggest *problem* with the film is that the alien, who becomes known as Wanda, has control of the physical body, so Mel, the resistant human, is a disembodied voice in Wanda’s head. It…probably works better in the book, but it gives a weird, unintentionally funny vibe to chunks of the movie. Emotionally it may have been a little flat, but since I was comparing it to Twilight, a movie in which I feel the leads have approximately the chemistry of a wet Wonderbread sandwich, “a little flat” is again still better than expected. So a mixed bag, but overall I was glad I went.

One moderately spoilery comment behind the cut.

So Mel has a boyfriend, and Wanda meets another boy and Quite Likes Him, much to Mel’s outrage. I must admit I spent the last third or so of the movie really hoping Wanda would stick around and she, Mel, and the two boys would have to Work Something Out. Sadly, that didn’t happen, but I was *really* hopeful. Now *that* woulda been pushing some boundaries. (Actually, I thought they resolved it fairly well, all things considered, but I really *hoped*, man. :))

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
 
The Dread Vixen Alinsaalinsa on April 9th, 2013 12:24 pm (UTC)
Hah. That *would* have been awesome. It would actually be neat to have some really mainstream movie go there, just to see the types of discussion that might result...
kitmizkit on April 9th, 2013 12:45 pm (UTC)
I was SO HOPEFUL. But no. :)
Bryantbryant on April 9th, 2013 11:26 pm (UTC)
Exactly what I thought when I read the plot summary!

I hear Savages had some of that, but nobody saw it. Poor Tim Riggins.
hegemony hedgehogagrimony on April 9th, 2013 11:41 pm (UTC)
Many, many spoilers from the book if you are concerned about such:

I've just read the book (but not seen the movie). In the book, Mel uses memories of Jared and Jamie as a kind of wall against Wanda finding out where to find them and in dwelling on the minutiae of her love of them, ends up inspiring similar levels of feeling in Wanda for them. This unrequited love on Wanda's part makes for a creepy, domestic abuse vibe in her interactions with Jared upon finding the hideout. </p>

Melanie, however, then takes great exception to Wanda's reaction to Jared (her reaction to Jamie doesn't bother Mel in the slightest). Then Ian's efforts at showing interest inspire even more objecting by Mel. Despite these internal struggles, Mel and Wanda actually end up with a very close bond and Mel greatly disagrees with Wanda's plan for fixing the situation.

I really enjoyed the book, for all that most of it is internal mental stuff for the main character. The pacing stumbles a bit in places, but it's a good read.