Stephanie Meyers, the author of the "Twilight Saga," has done it again. Another one of her books, “The Host,” has been created into a film.
Similar to the "Twilight" franchise, the main character is female. However, in “The Host,” Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan) is resisting change, whereas Bella from "Twilight" was willing to die for it. Indeed, Melanie is confronted with her worst nightmare, but her will to live is strong.
A new life-form has come to Earth, a type of parasitic, perfectionist beings who use human bodies as catalysts of change. They believe they are doing what is best for humankind as well as for the planet.
Perfection is the goal, but annihilation is the result. Now an institution of these beings track down the remaining humans in hopes of destroying the defectiveness they perceived when they first arrived. The idea of perfection leads to a sterile atmosphere. Those in the institution wear all-white outfits and use sport cars and planes made of titanium, a look similar to that of a doctor and his tools.
Usually, after a body is taken over, the only thing remaining of the person’s prior life are the memories, but it was different with Melanie. When this new soul was injected into her body, she was still present in the mind and thus still possessed some control of her body.
Initially this soul, which comes to be known as Wanderer, or Wanda, does her job and uses Melanie’s memories to lead the seekers of the institution to the remaining rebels, but that changes as Melanie begins. Melanie leads her to the others, who are understandably untrusting, but they do not extract the life as is the usual protocol because she is a familiar face.
Some of the humans are still skeptical of Wanderer until she makes the risky move of returning to the institution to retrieve lifesaving medicine. Ultimately, the group bonds with Wanderer and they do not wish to part. She was quite fond of the humans, which is why she was horrified when she realized they were killing her kind. After returning from her journey, she showed the doctor there was a way to save the humans as well as her kind. The aliens must be coaxed out, not forcibly removed.
In addition, the characters realized that cohabitation is possible. Earth does not have to be a battlefield between the aliens and the humans. There is ultimately no achievable perfection, and an attempt at such will always leave something to be pursued.
The man cast as the human’s doctor bears an uncanny resemblance to the president. I’m not sure if that was an intentional move to convey a subliminal message that he could be doing us more good if he had better insight from the other half. He was doing what was best for the humans, but not the implanted souls until Wanda informed him on how to do it properly.
Ronan was an excellent choice to play Melanie because she’s good at playing the girl-gone-rogue, as seen in “Hanna." Yet she still has the captivating combination of an innocent look with a powerful mind, as seen in her performance in “The Lovely Bones."
This movie delivers strong messages of acceptance and the beauty of differences. It’s a good portrayal of some important life lessons delivered via a science fiction film. Check it out, book enthusiasts especially, as it is always interesting to see the changes made from print to film. Regardless of any alterations, the film is guaranteed to hold the viewer's interest from beginning to end.