A human girl, possessed by something alien and undead, must choose between two cute boys. WTF! Is this another Twilight? Nope. But The Host is born from the mother of all things Twilight, Stephenie Meyer, which is the next best – or worst – thing, depending on your point of view. Meyer’s 2008 bestseller has its moments; the movie has fewer, owing to director Andrew Niccol’s bizarre decision to drag things out. Ever. So. Slowly.
The MVP is 18-year-old Irish miracle worker Saoirse Ronan (Atonement, The Lovely Bones, Hanna). Ronan plays Melanie Stryder, one of the last humans alive until aliens insert a soul named Wanderer into her body. You can tell because her eyes glow like one of those children of the damned. Melanie’s handler, Terra the Seeker (Diane Kruger), wants the Wanderer to invade Melanie’s memories and lead them to the hideout of other human rebels, led by Melanie’s Uncle Jeb (a slumming William Hurt). But, hell, the Wanderer can’t shut Melanie off or up. We keep hearing Melanie’s internal dialogue in the Wanderer’s head. It gets even more maddening when Melanie is reunited with her former lover, Jared (Max Irons), who now hates her alien ass, and the Wanderer, now called Wanda, falls for the human Ian (Jake Abel). Since Melanie and Wanda are two personalities in one body, the love story is a virtual three-way. “Don’t kiss him!” “Yes, I will!” “No, you won’t!” Even the resourceful Ronan can’t make this stuff play.
There’s a lot of nonsense about the rebels trying to eradicate the Souls. But The Host basically comes down to a vote for Team Jared or Team Ian. I voted myself into oblivion about half an hour in. Niccol, who once added mystery and suspense to the sci-fi of 1997’s Gattaca, is no match for the giant marshmallow that is The Host.