Host, The

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: +3

Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons, Jake Abel, William Hurt. From the novel by Stephenie Meyer (Twilight), with the screenplay written by the filmís director, Andrew Niccol.

FILM SYNOPSIS: An unseen civilization from another world has taken over mankind, using our bodies to live in on Earth. When they enter our beings, the eyes change, and the process threatens to destroy us, everyone becoming robotic rather than joyous over the fact that we no longer have war and pestilence. But some, like Melanie (Saoirse Ronan), have managed to stay alive inside their occupied body. A few humans have escaped and live by their wits, forming Mad Max-like communities determined to survive and win back their planet. Melanie, a determined soul, will risk everything to protect the people she cares most about, proving that love can conquer all in a dangerous new world.

PREVIEW REVIEW: One of the scariest movies I ever saw was Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Kevin McCarthy was perfectly cast as a kind of everyman who discovered people were being replaced by pods/replicants when they slept. (I didnít sleep for days afterward; the film warned us not to.) That motion picture became a metaphor for whatever agenda you sided with, be it political, social, or religious. I think it still relates as evidenced by the changes in our culture. The sentiments of JFK (ďAsk not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your countryĒ) were replaced by a new mantra for many who fell asleep: ďAsk only what the more affluent can do for you.ĒThe Host is not quite as profound. Itís more sci-fi-lite. And in the opening sequences, despite the jarring effect of a person jumping out a window to her near death, the movie moves at a snailís pace.

It's basic premise of a girl struggling to gain dominance inside her now possessed body is presented to the audience by means of an overused, but surprisingly emotionless voice-over. Eventually Melanie convinces Wanderer (Wanda for short) her new ďsoul mate,Ē that itís wrong to take over the body of a human being. These beings from another world are peace-loving, supposedly wouldnít harm a fly, but they have no problem with destroying our wills, our freedom to live, our souls. Their rights trump ours. We donít matter to these beings. (ďCall it what you want, this is murder.Ē) Hmmm, might be a lesson in there someplace.

But to get the message, one has to be in tune with the lead character and, unfortunately, Ms. Ronan (Atonement, Hanna, The Lovely Bones) fails to interest. Many of her lines are supposed to have an ironic lilt in order to relieve the tension and to bring resonance to her predicament. Ms. Ronan fails to engage. She, like her character(s) seems humorless. Considered by many as a solid thespian, I find the young actress limited. In fact, I find her the least interesting character in the film. And thatís saying something, as there isnít one character with much more than one dimension.

In fairness to the picture, it does come alive, so to speak, once Melanie is found by relatives and brought to a huge cave in a desert mountain. There, like Kristen Stewart in those Twilight movies, she finds not one, but two suitors, as well as the great William Hurt as a grandfatherly character who senses Melanie is still alive inside this now occupied shell.

I think the film is aimed more at a younger demographic (well, what film isnít these days), and likely will be most appreciated by adolescent females who can now replace their crushes on Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner with those for Max Irons and Jake Abel.

Glad to let you know there are positive messages in the film, it is entertaining overall, and whatís this? thereís no objectionable language! But, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, it ainít.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Open Road

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: None

Violence: There are a few jolting sequences and violent sequences that stay within the PG-13 premature: shootings, fights, car crashes; a person jumping out a window to her near death; Melanie/Wanda is considered an ďitĒ and often hit by male characters. Some blood when we see the body of a man shot in the head.


Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: None

Other: None

Running Time: 125 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens who loved Twilight

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.