Early on in the life of this blog, I reviewed the book The Host by Stephenie Meyer. The film came out this spring. As usual, I didn't make it to the theater to see it. But now it's available on video and pay-per-view.
The film version of The Host opened to mediocre reviews. Who cares? I loved the book, especially the concept of an alien implanted in a host's body, lots of room for dramatic conflict in such a situation. But this isn't the invasion of the pod people. This host is very strong-willed and does not give in to the intruder. They learn to work together and call each other sister in the end.
Shot in part in the New Orleans area, some of the film features beautiful historic settings, and areas deep in the bayou. Much of the rest of the film was shot in the Shiprock area of the Navajo nation in New Mexico - a beautiful, spiritual setting in the desert.
It seems renegade humans are hiding from the all-powerful aliens wherever they can find sanctuary.
Wanderer is implanted in Melanie and the battle begins. Melanie finally convinces Wanderer that she must honor her promise to her young brother and go back to him. So Wanderer/Melanie go in search of them.
Wanderer is not welcome among the humans, nor does she trust them. But she is an old soul, veteran of 1,000 years of life lived in various hosts on different planets. As she learns from the humans, they learn from her as well to a unique and satisfying conclusion.
Into the mix, there is an ambitious seeker of her people in a human host, who is relentless in her pursuit of Wanderer. The seeker violates all of the beliefs of her peaceful species by committing acts of violence and murder.
How can the species be peaceful if they take over humans, you ask? Simple, time-honored concept - they think they know best. They don't intend to do harm and do not understand the harm that they inevitably do. But in the end, some of them become enlightened by the human way of life, leaving an opening for a most interesting future.
Saoirse Ronan as Melanie/Wanderer is a beautiful young woman and a capable actor. She works with an inner dialogue, often contentious, and always audible to the audience. Melanie/Wanderer becomes two unforgettable characters.
Diane Kruger as The Seeker/Lacey is a memorable villain, refusing to give up the hunt when ordered by her kind to do so. She makes a perfect counterpart to Melanie/Wanderer.
Max Irons as Jared is Melanie's longtime love interest. He does a good job of portraying the confusion and disbelief when confronted with Melanie/Wanderer.
Jake Abel as Ian is Wanderer's love interest - yep, she has her own. Now THAT does get a bit complicated, but is well handled in the film.
William Hurt as Melanie's Uncle Jeb adds the wisdom of a lifelong warrior to the cast. He is one of the first to believe that Melanie is alive inside her body, along with Wanderer the alien.
Frances Fisher as Melanie's Aunt Maggie is great in her role of angry, disbelieving woman who has seen too many people that she loves be taken over by the invading aliens.
The script follows the wonderful novel very well. The only thing I miss in the film are the descriptions of the other worlds Wanderer has visited and the type of hosts she has had. There is some hint of it. The individual aliens "souls" as they call themselves are beautifully depicted from the description in the novel.
The film is lovely, a couple of beautiful love stories rolled into one movie. The colors of the production are muted but beautiful. The desert panoramas are glorious and make me want to go back to visit New Mexico once again.
Honestly, I read all the books in the Twilight series and saw all the movies. But The Host, novel and movie appeals to me more.
The closing credits roll to Radioactive by Imagine Dragon, the same theme music used for SyFy's great new series, Defiance. What's not to like?
Watch the video of this one. You won't be disappointed.
And now from the sublime to the ridiculously campy - Thursday night, SyFy premiered another of their often ridiculous, often hilarious horror films about marauding monsters. In keeping with their oft-used theme of sharks (when they're not doing crocodiles and snakes), this one was about hordes of sharks being sucked up into multiple tornadoes and dropped down on an unsuspecting populace.
I watched it and enjoyed it but did not focus on it - in other words I was reading and doing other things. These movies don't require one's complete attention. And remember, I'm not a big fan of gratuitous gore...
But the funniest thing of all about Sharknado is that it broke all records on Twitter with lots of folks, including famous ones, watching and tweeting about the film while it was being aired. That makes me laugh more than the movie did...I guess watching big breasted bimbos in skimpy clothes with buff guys in peril from sharks dropping from tornadoes appeals to a bunch of us...
Wonder what the founding fathers would say about that? Pass the popcorn?
Later, Gator...oh wait, that movie will be out next month...bless you SyFy. From Ghost Hunters to Defiance to Face Off to the monster movies, you represent a microcosm of American entertainment.
You go SyFy! Besides, you were the creators of my all time favorite, Battlestar Galactica.