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The Host: BD Review

Aug 13th, 2013

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A post-apocalyptic Twilight on a barren Earth? What could possibly go wrong...?

Universal / 125 Minutes / 2013 / Rated PG-13 / Street Date: July 9, 2013

In some films, a pivotal point arrives where viewers simply can’t believe things are happening as they appear. As this writer was watching The Host last night, I kept wishing there was someone else in my living room, because I was desperate to ask out loud: “Is this really happening?” And when instances like these occur, things can go one of two ways: a movie can avalanche into audaciously enjoyable camp territory (so bad it’s good) or lose its audience completely (it just becomes too much to handle).

It doesn’t take long for The Host, Universal’s attempt to get on the Stephenie Meyer money-making train, to hit such a crossroads. Folks with a penchant for sparkly vampires cooing and fawning all over each other might have a certain capacity to give a movie like this one the time of day, but if you have shown resistance to Twilight in the past, you’re going to have some issues with The Host’s dystopian smoochies.

Tell me when you start to lose interest: In the future, Earth has been invaded by entities known as Souls, aliens who invade homo sapiens forms and turn them into zombie-E.Ts. Saoirse Ronan plays a girl named Melanie who has been invaded by a Soul with the moniker Wanderer, but she’s unique among her hybrid forms, and this alerts Soul Seeker (Diane Kruger) – her leader – that all might not be under control. And, of course, Melanie finds love with a slender, young, white guy named Jared (Max Irons), and they make out as their braindead adventure unfolds.

The Host may play out as a tolerable breathy romance to some cross-sections of the viewing public, but there’s a parity to the narrative here that keeps it from being divertingly misguided. As was the case with Twilight, as endearing as some of these characters may be, there’s a leaden quality to the storytelling style on display here that limits both dramatic oomph and dum-dum escapist thrill. The post-apocalyptic boredom at hand in this young-adult world never gels – it simply treads water. And after about fifteen minutes, it hits that moment where you most likely will dismiss it completely. 

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