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edge staff writer


The Host' with the least

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Author Stephanie Meyer has a legion of adoring fans thanks to her best-selling 'Twilight' series of books. And the movies based on those books have grossed over $2 billion (yes, with a 'b') at the worldwide box office. So it stands to reason that Hollywood would leap at the chance to make a film of 'The Host,' Meyer's latest novel.

This time, it's aliens instead of vampires and werewolves. But never fear the empty-headed romances and ludicrous plot developments are still there. And really, what more could you want?

Earth has been invaded by aliens. These creatures invade our bodies and assume control of them, overwhelming the personality of their hosts in the process. They have gradually spread over the entire globe, taking command of the bodies of all but a precious few. There is no outward physical change, save a band of silver around the iris of the eye.

Melanie (Saoirse Ronan, 'Byzantium') is still human. She, along with her little brother Jamie (Chandler Canterbury, 'Little Red Wagon') and more-than-friend Jared (Max Irons, 'Red Riding Hood'), have been eluding the aliens for years. But when Melanie gets captured, she is implanted with an alien known only as 'Wanderer.'

However, it turns out that Melanie's personality is too strong for the Wanderer to overcome; the ensuing internal conflict results in Melanie/Wanderer's escape. This leads to zealous pursuit from the Seeker (Diane Kruger, 'Special Forces'), an alien who has a particularly fervent desire to complete the takeover of Earth.

Melanie/Wanderer make their way across the desert, where Melanie's Uncle Jeb (William Hurt, 'Hellgate') just happens to have a cabin. It turns out that there's a human settlement out there a settlement where both Jared and Jamie have arrived safely after Melanie's capture.

Of course, she's an alien, so her presence is met with distrust and even outright hostility. No one is told of Melanie's presence, though a few particularly Jeb start to have some suspicions. But when the Seeker's pursuit threatens the safety of the entire group, Melanie and Wanderer have some hard choices to make choices that involve not just their individual futures, but the future of humanity.

There is nothing that is not terrible about this movie. 

It's all bad. The plot is a hole-riddled mess, existing less to tell a story and more to provide a framework for leaping from overwrought moment to overwrought moment. Characters pull attitudinal 180s without any real motivation or explanation. Few of the actions taken make even a little sense, while the self-seriousness of the proceedings result in far more moments of unintentional hilarity than moments of actual emotional impact.

And the acting. Dear God, the acting. The works of Stephanie Meyer seem to pull the absolute worst out of actors, and 'The Host' is no exception. Ronan spends the entire film trying desperately to express emotion and mostly failing. Irons looks constantly addled, as if he's suffering from a Stage 2 concussion. Kruger comes off like she's saying all of her lines phonetically and most of the supporting characters even the human ones sound kind of like robots. The only real question is this: What were you thinking, William Hurt? Are times that tough?

I'll be the first to admit that I am not the target audience for 'The Host.' Frankly, I'm grateful for that. I would hate for someone to think so little of me that they would aim this crap-filled trebuchet in my direction. This movie stole two hours of my life.

1 out of 5


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