Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

April 12, 2013

‘The Host’ under-appreciated at the box office

Movie Review

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat

Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — For all the hype and worship expressed over the past several years for a certain glittery nightmarish treatment of vampires, it doesn’t make much sense that the same audience wouldn’t break down theater doors to see an example of the same author’s next work, especially with actual talent from the lead actress. Heck, it even seems some of the same cringe-worthy expressions of teen love discovery that have been used in every Hallmark-esque television movie ever makes an appearance, yet despite this, it’s been ignored as if Team Edward got lost on the way to their seats.

That being said, without sacrificing too much of my Mann-ly image, for something undeniably chick flick in substance, the overall story actually was at times entertaining or no worse than average. In fact, as far as science fiction alien invasion plots go, it was at times refreshing to see something with an answer a bit more thought out than kill them all with Michael Baysplosions. “The Host” certainly finds its center with a lady centered target market, but not completely terrifying for guys brought along on date night.

The tale pretty much focuses on an Earth that has indeed been taken over, but by a mostly peaceful parasite that has humans mentally enslaved. However, a few rather stubborn few people like Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan) are not keen on giving up control of their own bodies, and continues to fight even after she is implanted with a soul(what the parasites are) called Wanderer.

Despite all efforts to be a cooperative alien and enslave some of those other remaining pesky humans, Wanderer is convinced by Melanie to instead escape to safety with ones like her little brother Jamie Stryder (Chandler Canterbury) and the love of her life Jared Howe (Max Irons). However, these remnants of humanity have rather hostile feelings toward the captors and if it weren’t for open minded Uncle Jeb (William Hurt), her chances of survival there would be rather pathetic as well. So begins a journey for both species which each discover how despite their differences, there can be peace between them… well, except for the one alien brain leach called The Seeker (Diane Kruger), who seems to become everything she dislikes about humans.

It is a rather interesting social commentary on how regardless of any perceived perfection a society has achieved, the biggest flaws come when everyone is forced into a single mold or definition. In many ways it reminds me of the 1985 movie “Cocoon” or “Alien Nation” with a similar compassion for life, but with a bunch of hormoney teenagers instead of retirement residents.

It’s relatively safe for most ages, barely qualifying for even its PG-13 rating and suffering is really limited to just a few groan-worthy dialogue exchanges. All in all, I might not own it, but it’s much more tolerable than the majority of critics who panned it would have you believe. Due to my survival and lack of regret over ticket purchase I’d say the verdict for “The Host” is two and a half out of five galaxies.