Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Host Book/Movie

Originally, I was going to do a review on the movie The Host, but I realized that not many people have read the book, The Host, so I decided to review the book as well even though I have not read it in a long time.

*Spoiler Alert

The Host is a book by Stefanie Meyer, one very different from her Twilight series.  It's a romance/science-fiction story set in a post-apocalyptic world in which an alien species known for invading and then living in the host species.  They're described as kind and benevolent, having no need for deception or violence.  They are implanted into the species and control them as if the bodies were their own.  It is necessary to note that even during their invasion, violence was not used as all was needed was to capture, implant and then let go.

The story is about Melanie who is the host human, whose presence/consciousness never left (or suppressed for that matter) when Wanda entered.  Wanda or Wanderer is the alien who is known for having lived on many planets prior to Earth, (it is necessary to note that these aliens are immortal unless subject to physical harm).

The book follows the journey of Melanie/Wanda as they try to escape the confines of the altered society to Melanie's old family who have become rebels in the midst of the occupation.  Her family has hidden themselves in a network of tunnels and caves which has allowed them to survive without any problems of being discovered.  There, she is initially regarded as person non grata, as she is a member of the alien race, however due to the kindness of Uncle Jeb (her actual Uncle), she is spared and slowly assimilates to the society.  However, the situation does get worse, as they begin to assimilate, Wanda begins to develop relationships with the other rebels, namely Ian (who becomes Wanda's love interest), Melanie/Wanda's brother, Jamie and Jared (Melanie's love interest).  As she assimilates in the caves, she begins to educate the rebels about her past, about her various lives before in the different planets.

When I first read this book, I had no idea how much I would enjoy it seeing as it came from Stefanie Meyer.  While I did read the Twilight novels, this book pales in comparison in terms of the plot, character development as well as the different diction used.  Now, diction may not seem that important, but The Host was written for adults as opposed to her Twilight series who were written for teenagers. This book is a very complicated story with many nuances and small details that are very important as the story progresses. However, unlike this marvelous book that I truly enjoyed, the movie that was made was terrible. 

Now before I proceed and destroy the movie, I would like to say that in the director's and producers' defense, the book was immensely long (656 pages), and that it would be impossible for them to incorporate all the information and story that was presented in the book. Nonetheless, it was terrible. Not surprised. 

I would like to break this critique into a few parts, in that I will discuss different aspects of the film in which I will conclude (not surprisingly) with my deep dissatisfaction with the movie. 

Firstly, while I don't really care about the actors portraying the characters (actually I do, but if I say I didn't like them, then I am expected to come up with different suggestions, which at the moment, I could care less about, however, the actor who played Uncle Jeb, spot on.), I found it very annoying at times when the producers decided to kill of some characters or not even other to explain the characters fully. For example, the hatred Jared was supposed to have with Wanda/Melanie, in the beginning of the movie was not really that dramatic, in fact it almost felt like it was a slight annoyance. Also, the fact that Melanie gave up so easily in the beginning was very disconcerting. The whole point of the story was to portray two dominant identities, this was clearly not shown. 

Secondly, there were many aspects of the book, that was expected but completely ignored in the movie, an example would be the lack of mention of Walter, who played a integral role in the story as determining the ending in the book. However, the lack of him made the movie felt empty or rushed even. Another example would be the lack of elaboration of the life in the caves such as the soccer matches mentioned in the story, or the tribunals. In fact, one thing I was looking forward to in the movie was perhaps, a visual interpretation of the worlds that Wanda described in the book; sadly, that wasn't the case. 

Finally, I was very very annoyed when the movie decided to spoil a crucial plot point right in the middle of the movie: the Seeker's motivations in her fervent search for Wanda/Melanie. When I watched the scene when that occurred, I was so upset and angry that I had to voice my opinions (softly of course) to the person who was watching the movie with me. 

So, just as I stated above, this movie was atrocious. The only other adaptation movie that sucked as well would be M. Night Shamalyan's utterly disgusting adaptation of this hit tv series Avatar: The Last Airbender. But, and a big resounding but at that, please read the book, it is definitely one of my favorites.