As with her Twilight series, the infelicities of Stephenie Meyer's The Host-- drab dialogue, ridiculous plotting, more emotional crises than story-- are enlivened by its thematic eccentricities. For all her programmatic love triangles, Meyer's fantasy is at least humane. You know how most fantasy adventures films have their orcs or stormtroopers or Germans who the good guys have a grand time genociding? The Host's heroine-- or heroines, more on that later-- actually forbids her friends from killing any of the parasitic space-protozoa who have taken over the bodies of most of the Earth’s population and are actively hunting down the last human survivors. Of course, that's only after she's slumped about for much of the story (in true Meyer fashion) trying to choose between two hunks who seemed to me interchangeable—despite living holed up in a Utah cave, far from civilization, both appear to have gym memberships and limitless access hair product. Once she is stirred to action, the heroine-- a part-human, part-alien frump played by Saoirsie Ronan-- argues for peace. This isn't quite like if Princess Leia, post-Alderaan, urged appeasement with the Empire as she sulked over whether she preferred Luke or Han. Instead, Ronan's Melanie understands the low odds of a human victory and hits upon a solution that isn't all pew-pew. She even suggests to the surviving Earthlings that best way to handle the invading force is to show it love-- the thing that makes us human, and the thing that the aliens can learn from. The movie's a slog, but it's nice to see Hollywood offer an option besides killing every motherfucker in the room.
Andrew NiccolSaoirse Ronan, Max Irons, Jake Abel, Diane Kruger, William Hurt, Frances Fisher, Chandler Canterbury, Boyd HolbrookStephenie Meyer, Andrew NiccolNick Wechsler, Paula Mae Schwartz, Steve Schwartz, Stephenie MeyerOpen Road Films