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April 13, 2013

Weekend Reviews: 'Host' plot offers no surprise

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The Daily Star

---- — Just when we all thought we would be safe to turn on our televisions and re-enter the movie theaters after the last “Twilight” film was released on DVD and Blu-Ray, the cinema gods decided to toy with our emotions once more.

That’s right: Stephenie Meyer, author of the “Twilight” series, released another book in the midst of all of the “Twilight” fever. That book, titled “The Host,” was recently adapted into a film, no doubt to carry on the “Twilight” legacy and rake in unnecessarily large amounts of teenagers’ disposable income.

I’m not going to lie: I read “The Host” around the time of its release about four years ago, when I was a freshman in high school. The book was fairly thick and I needed a book to take on spring break, so it served its purpose.

The story takes place after an alien species has overtaken Earth and implanted their kind into the bodies of humans, thereby “perfecting” the human race and ridding it of its flaws.

However, there are small pockets of humans that have been able to avoid detection and capture, and fight for day-to-day survival. Melanie Stryder and her younger brother Jamie are two of those people, and they eventually meet up with another survivor, Jared, with whom Melanie develops a romantic relationship.

Eventually Melanie is captured by the “Seekers” when she is trying to distract them so that Jamie and Jared could escape, portraying the “brave” and “selfless” qualities the plot is heavily reliant on throughout the entirety of the story.

A soul called Wanderer is implanted into Melanie’s body to access her memories and give the Seekers an idea of where the rest of the survivors are hiding out. Much to their aggravation, Melanie is one of the humans that does not fade away once replaced with another soul, and she and Wanderer develop quite a rapport throughout the book.

It actually is almost as confusing as it sounds. And it only gets worse.

Melanie convinces Wanderer to escape from the quarters they’re being held in. They travel through a desert to return to the survivors’ camp, which is run by Melanie’s Uncle Jeb. Although she still looks like Melanie, the humans are able to see that she has been taken over because her eyes glow a silverish-blue.

Despite a large rift between those who want to kill her and those who believe that Melanie is still somewhere in her body, Wanderer (who is now nicknamed Wanda) is still able to develop very human feelings. 

These are influenced in large part by Melanie’s memories of Jared. Wanderer herself also develops feelings for another survivor, Ian, which makes for a very interesting and complicated love triangle, or rectangle, I suppose.

I went into the movie theater this past weekend with mixed expectations. The book definitely was more interesting than any of the “Twilight” books, but that wasn’t really saying much. I’ve also been a fan of the film’s star, Saiorse Rowan, for a while (her acting in “The Lovely Bones,” for one, was fantastic).

Unfortunately, not even she could save the film. I also thought the casting of Diane Kruger and William Hurt as the antagonistic Seeker and Uncle Jeb, respectively, would spice up what could very well be another sappy teen supernatural romance, but I was very wrong.

The film was just that, which I suppose is what it was going for. However, if you were hoping that the filmmakers would make greater strides to make a less laughable film, you are in for a great disappointment.

So, I advise you to save your money and avoid going to see this in the theaters. If you are that desperate to watch the numerous awkward make-out sessions and glowing eyes, you might as well wait for it to come out on DVD and rent it.   

Maggie McVey, a 2012 graduate of Oneonta High School, is a freshman at the State University College at Plattsburgh. ‘Teen Talk’ columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/teentalk