Movie Summary: (from IMDb) When an unseen enemy threatens mankind by taking over their bodies and erasing their memories, Melanie will risk everything to protect the people she cares most about, proving that love can conquer all in a dangerous new world.
I Liked It: As a reader of the book, I thought the movie was pretty well done. All of the important scenes were there and the casting and acting was terrific. While the main “focus” was a little more on the romantic relationships than the book, it wasn’t quite as romanticized as I thought it would be and most of the important scenes and moments were in the movie and done well. Some of the conflict with the Seeker was amped up, but I thought it was needed. I was also happy with how the movie handled the duality inside of Wanda/Melanie. Wanda spoke out loud, while Melanie spoke in her head as a voice over.
What I Wished The Movie Included: The only things I missed seeing more of was Wanda integrating herself into the human community and teaching classes and seeing her interact with all of the people. After all, I thought The Host was a terrific story about survival and human relationships, from family and friends to the more romantic ones. Also, the mystery surrounding the location of the settlement and the puzzle Wanda and Mel had to follow to get there was glossed over in the movie. Also, there wasn’t as much detail regarding how the invasion occurred, how the survivors survived and evaded capture and how the aliens lived and went about their daily lives. And I also missed the moments where Wanda described her lives on other planets. For a story without much external struggle, I REALLY thought these scenes should have been in the movie. It would have been awesome.
Why it’s hard for me to judge the movie: I wonder if I hadn’t read the book if the movie would have captured the depth of the characters and if I would have cared as much about their struggles and lives. All of the details that made the story what it was (to me) were definitely hurried and glossed over. This is something that I usually struggle with when I see movie adaptations of books. Would I care as much for the characters? Are the other viewers getting half the story? Is this impacting others as much as the book did for me? I usually don’t have the answer because I already know how I feel about the characters and the events. But I suspect those who haven’t read the book are missing out on a lot of emotional progress that the book spends a lot of time on. It makes the OMG moments much more important.
What I expected: I’ve been dying for The Host to come out. It was a book that totally shook my opinion of Stephenie Meyer and I was totally shocked she wrote this story. I mean, it’s so intelligent. Not that I don’t love Twilight. Not that I thought she was a terrible writer or anything. But The Host was amazing. So I wanted this movie to come out and hopefully change everyone else’s opinion, too. Maybe not the people that hate her without ever having read or seen the movies based on her books. But the people who just don’t care for Twilight. But maybe those were high hopes. Also, I don’t think I’m alone in hoping that because of the science fiction aspects of the book, maybe this was a movie I could drag my husband to and he’d actually enjoy with me. Based on the book, I thought this wasn’t too high of a hope, especially if that person is open to having love be important to a science fiction story, like in The Fifth Element. But I’m incredibly glad that I didn’t see the movie with him because he would have been bored.
What I didn’t like about the movie: As far as entertainment value goes, the movie was slow and there were tons of lulls. Readers will love this because the book was slow and the moments were still important. Movie goers, though, will probably be bored. It’s kind of a slow, boring film. Which is something I should have expected given that the the story is more of internal struggle. I think it’s easier to watch a slower contemporary movie than a movie with futuristic, post apocalyptic, and science fiction aspect because of our own expectations. For this reason, the story is better read than watched. I shouldn’t complain, but even the scene with (SPOILER FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T READ THE BOOK OR SEEN THE MOVIE YET) Jared kissing Wanda and getting punched by Melanie and having that be the AHA! moment in the book for Jared was underwhelming on screen. I suppose I expected the movie to take the AHA! moments from the book and make them a little more explosive and awesome and while it did that with the Seeker conflict, it totally missed this one.
Random Complaint: Also, I felt like in every scene where a character walks into a room, the character in the room is staring off into space with his or her head turned. No one ever looked busy or occupied. Every scene was set up for that character to walk in and it happened so often, I think it gave an overall picture that the humans surviving had plenty of time to stare off into space. It just bothered me.
Overall: The Host was a good movie. I think readers will really enjoy seeing some of it come to life. I think people who haven’t read the book but like Stephenie Meyer and aren’t expecting Twilight will also love the movie. I think people expecting Twilight will be disappointed, but I said that in my book review, too. And unfortunately, I think people who didn’t read the book but were hoping for a great science fiction mixed with a love story might be bored by the movie to some degree. It wasn’t a boring film, but it was slower than I think it ought to have been. I took my friend, Alice, who loves Twilight, wasn’t expecting Twilight, respects Stephenie Meyer as a storyteller, and had a vague understanding of what The Host was about, but didn’t read the book. She loved the movie and didn’t find it boring at all. She did find it to have a few lulls, but assumed it was trying to stay true to the book and that made her love the movie even more. So maybe it’s just me.
Basically, if you are like me and you’re trying to defend the story to a lot of people and explain that The Host is awesome regardless of opinions of Twilight, recommend the book. I don’t think the movie is amazing enough to speak for itself or to wow anyone who is skeptical. I suppose at the end of the day, that is what I wanted from the movie and I just didn’t get that.