‘Host’ leaves bitter taste in your mouth

Logan Qualls | writer

Imagine you’re at the top of a roller coaster, adrenaline coursing through your veins, anticipation forming a pit in your stomach.
All thoughts are forgotten as the car drops suddenly, only to stop jarringly a few feet later. The car stops again and again and keeps doing so until the end of the ride.
What could have been a thrilling, enjoyable ride now only leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. This is the ride audiences can expect from “The Host.”
The story begins with Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan, “Hanna,” “The Lovely Bones”) attempting to escape from mysterious pursuers, who audiences later discover to be a species of extraterrestrial psychic parasites called “Souls.”
Desperate and with options quickly running out, Melanie jumps through a pane of glass, to come crashing to the unforgiving cement below.
The group pursuing her, led by a particularly determined Seeker (Diane Kruger, “National Treasure,” “Inglorious Basterds”), find Melanie’s broken body and restore it by inserting a soul called The Wanderer into Melanie’s body.
The Wanderer awakes only to discover that its previous owner is still inside, resisting and fighting desperately to regain control of her body. The Seeker asks the Wanderer to search Melanie’s memories, in hopes of finding one of the last pockets of human resistance.
With Melanie resisting so fervently, the Wanderer begins to question the ethics of taking another person’s free will. Using Melanie’s knowledge, the Wanderer escapes the clutches of the Seeker, and heads out to the desert with only the vaguest notion of where to go to find Melanie’s companions.
After walking through the desert for what feels like ages, battling heat, dehydration and exhaustion, the Wanderer collapses beneath a tree. Miraculously, she is found by a group of humans, which conveniently includes Melanie’s crazy uncle, Jeb.
William Hurt (“Mr. Brooks,” “The Good Shepherd”) plays the character of Jeb Stryder, the hermit that everyone thought was crazy, who conveniently turned out to be a genius instead.
Were it not for his intervention, both Melanie and the Wanderer would be dead before the movie was even half over.
Among many setbacks, the film’s biggest drag came with the dialogue. Every exchange between characters felt awkward, stiff and unnecessarily long-winded. With each character interaction, you stop caring what’s actually going on in the movie and just pray for it to end soon.
The music used in the film was nothing special. However, background sounds like the rain falling or the wind blowing through the grass provided great ambiance throughout the film.
Many moments in the film were unintentionally hilarious because of unlikely plot progression or unclear character choices. When I wasn’t cringing from bad dialogue, I was laughing my head off at the ridiculous “romance” playing before my eyes.
This movie proves that regardless of species, a sappy romance will always be just that, a sappy romance. “The Host” had potential to be a good movie, exploring the interesting dynamic between two different species, yet squandered that opportunity with lagging dialogue and implausible plot progression.

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