Thursday, August 29, 2013

THE HOST

For the synopsis of the story, first read my book review here. The film closely resembles the book plot, only changing the smallest of details.  


The book having ultimately left me disappointed, I had no great inkling to see the film version of Stephenie Meyer’s The Host.  That being the case, I didn’t rush to the cinema for a ticket, but finally got around to watching it now. 

Much like the book, the film left me unsatisfied, though for different reasons.  The film improved the final scenes, but also let down in major ways.  Allow me to clarify.

I read (and watched) The Host because of the premise – Melanie’s love for Jared is so strong that she refuses to give up; she refuses to allow Wanderer full access into her mind, and she fights for control of her body.  That is what hooked me – Melanie and Jared.  Two humans who found each other and love each other, and Melanie working even once occupied to return to Jared and to keep him safe.  The problem that I have with the book is that it is written completely from Wanderer’s perspective – I said in my book review that I would have appreciated some Melanie chapters – Melanie was the reason I was emotionally invested in the story, not Wanderer.  Then the book went and ruined the ending for me by implying that everybody was a little bit in love with everybody else.  While Jared and Mel are together, and Ian and Wanda are together, it seems that Mel and Ian are making moon eyes at each other, as are Jared and Wanda.  This ticked me off big time.  Also, the fact that Jared kissed Wanda and meant it – this greatly lessened Jared and Mel’s connection for me. 


Now, the movie thankfully omitted this kiss and Wanda shared a passionate kiss with Ian instead.  However, the movie failed to show Mel and Jared’s reunion; my favourite part of the book (granted, it is a bonus scene)!  After months apart, Jared and Mel are finally back together, Mel is back in possession of her body and they can be together again.  The film simply went to the scene where Wanda wakes up in her new body.  What a let-down!

The major issues I have with the film, however, is that the book is about both Wanda and Mel, about their struggles and their relationship – they become as close as sisters.  The film, however, focuses solely on Wanda.  In the film Mel’s presence isn’t nearly strong enough and for some reason their connection doesn’t translate well on screen.  Also, Jared and Mel’s relationship didn’t come across as powerful as it does in the book.  It seems that the movie is more about  Wanda and Ian’s story, and Mel and Jared are merely secondary characters.


Ian and Wanda

On the positive side Jake Abel did a great job as Ian!  He embodied all the qualities that make Wanda trust Ian and fall in love with him, and I much prefer film Ian to book Ian.  Max Irons also played the part of Jared really well, giving just the right combination of bitterness and vulnerability.  Saoirse Ronin was the perfect choice for Melanie/Wanderer.  She perfectly portrayed Mel’s strength and loyalty as well as Wanda’s innocence and naivety.  I also loved William Hurt as Jeb.  All round the casting was spot on.  The movie, however, fell a little flat – as evidenced by the fact that the movie is widely considered to be a box office flop, having barely grossed its production cost.  That being the case, I doubt the studio will bother making a film version of the sequel Meyer is currently writing (The Seeker), or the third and final book of the planned trilogy (The Soul).  Truthfully, at this stage, I don’t have much interest in either.  If the next book is once again solely written in Wanda’s perspective, I doubt I’ll read it.  I’m just more invested in Melanie than Wanda.

For some reason this is a film that just does not translate well from book to screen; the book manages to tell the story and convey the depth of emotions much better than the film - perhaps the film just did not have enough time to properly lay the foundations and focus on all of the details.  Visually it is beautifully done and does the descriptions in the book justice, but ultimately some stories work better as books than movies, and The Host is one of them. 


Jared and Melanie

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