[Review] The Host Adaptation


The Host

I wouldn't particularly call myself a fan of Stephenie Meyer's works, at least not anymore, but of all of her works that I have cared to read, I would have to say that The Host is my favourite, just because the characters in it are more interesting (to me), although unfortunately I do think it has some of the same fatal flaws at Twilight did.

Nonetheless, when I was reminded a few weeks ago that a movie for The Host had come out earlier this year, I decided to go check it out and see what they had done. While I think the acting was interesting in some parts, I felt pretty sorely disappointed by the movie.

Of course, when analysing it with the knowledge of the book (why I can still remember it after all this time is anyone's guess), it lacks in most areas and seems like a poor attempt at trying to make the apparently science-fiction story into an action movie. They tried to emphasise the action aspect of it too much, and ended up just doing both poorly.

The Host

Although the choice in actor seemed interesting at first to me, it became apparent she seemed to have the same flaw as Kristen Stewart, the same reason that the actor who was the protagonist for Twilight was given much criticism for. Her soft mannerisms would have been perfect for Wanda, but her acting lacked the proper emotion to play the much more emotive and expressive Melanie which left a lack of proper distinction between the two characters.

I feel that the actor in this instance probably likely could have done a better job since there are indications she appears to be able to act well, but was too focused on keeping up this 'soft' and 'calm' appearance when Wanda had no problems opening up during the course of the book to show she definitely had deeper emotions and thusly, becoming more 'human'. Funnily, this actor is eerily similar to Kristen Stewart in appearance though - wonder why, huh?

The Host

I'd always imagined an depiction of Melanie as a separate incarnation whenever I tried to imagine an adaptation of The Host. As an anime or manga personally, I'll admit, since that is my element. But I was sorely disappointed by the fact she was simply depicted as a 'voice' in Wanda's head, despite the fact that was exactly what she was. She was strongly characterised, almost as an individual in the book, but in the movie she was a faceless voice that often didn't carry all that much emotion. I would have picked someone with previous voice acting experience for the role.

Understandably, the story required acceleration in order to fit it into the time frame, but the affect of this acceleration I felt meant that the characters were not given the chance to be characterised properly nor the environment really given the chance to truly be established properly. The Seeker and her helpers became the 'bad guys' who interrogated and were on the hunt for rebels which perverted that universe.

Overall I felt it was a bad execution if you did a comparison of it with the original story, but as with any adaption, you're going to get more out of the original anyway. As a standalone, it works fine as a cinematic piece. It's still hard to see adaptions in the way Nobuhiro Watsuki does though, as his children and thus free to walk different paths from the original work. Unfortunately, we are still going to cling to the memory of the original work.

Possibly the only movie that has ever met my expectations though, interestingly enough, is the Rurouni Kenshin movie. But that's for another time.

I wish this book had worked, I truly do. I'm not a hardcore fan of science-fiction, but I do love the genre, and I would have liked to see it work but it never even grazes that mark. Unfortunately the book was as disappointing as the movie in being 'science-fiction' - can't say I'm that surprised though.