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August 7, 2018

The Host (2013) --- "Choose Your Own Destiny; To Believe, To Love, To Fight. Or You Will Be One Of Them."

Plot Summary
Earth has been colonized by the Souls, an alien race that wipes out the minds of humans and turns their bodies into hosts for interstellar travelers. Most of mankind has been eradicated, but some, like Melanie (Saoirse Ronan) and her family, have survived and are hiding. Melanie is captured by a Seeker and has a Soul named Wanderer implanted in her body, but she refuses to relinquish control. When Wanderer betrays her people to save Melanie, the Seeker sets out in relentless pursuit. (1)

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     After the relative success of the Twilight series on film, author Stephenie Meyer puts her touch on another young adult piece that takes us into a post-apocalyptic world after aliens invade planet Earth. The Host (2013) is an unexpectedly entertaining film with a subtle sci-fi story that offers a new kind of alien invasion about survival, perseverance, love, and the discovery of one’s identity. Part of the film’s success relies on the director and writer Andrew Niccol, who is the mastermind behind Gattaca (1997), The Truman Show (1998), and In Time (2011). His experience with these films is exactly what The Host needs, especially when the book has a lot of inner dialogue.

     A good book makes you consider your lifestyle and how your choices impact other areas, but a good film brings those questions to life. The storyline was entertaining with mystery and adventure but it was also thought-provoking that makes us think about who we are as a species. We learn that as a co-operative species we work better together rather than relying on the survival of the fittest. We learn to question our choices as a whole, have done the best we can do with what we’ve given or is there a better way of living that we are not partaking in. We learn how to believe the best in one another, that people can change and deserve to be given that chance to change. And finally, we learn what it means to truly live, to truly survive.
     For most people life is but a daily grind where we go to school, go to work, and deal with the same day to day things most people experience. We take everyday commodities for granted and should our lives of luxury be disrupted then it might as well be the end of the world. The biggest lie we tell ourselves is that despite knowing otherwise, we believe that we will always have enough time to tell people how we feel. That we will have time to say “I love you”, “I’m sorry” and/or “Goodbye.” But in The Host (2013), life itself is a luxury and a daily battle for survival for the entire human species. As romantic relationships blossom, family values are tested, and through the beautifully subtle sci-fi look, we get the complete picture of endangered species that hinges on the success of one brave girl’s fight to save all she holds dear.
     Among the cast performances, the most noteworthy is Saoirse Ronan (Mary Queen of Scots) as Melanie/Wanda. Ronan offers a fascinating trip through the mind of Melanie/Wanda as she fights for individuality and attempts to believe in the better nature of people. As the alien, Wanda is not allowed to have individual feelings or opinions but instead, she fights to understand and keep those feelings as well as understand the world around her. As the host, Melanie is simply supposed to give up control to the alien and basically be non-existent but Melanie has too many things to fight for to just simply give up. As Melanie fights for control over her body she starts to see the world how Wanda sees it and learns that not all aliens are bad. We see how both sides view the current invasion of Earth, that Earth’s in all its beauty and plentiful resources is being squandered by climate issue and violence among its human inhabitants. It’s through this process, of two individuals fighting to survive, that we see the rationalization of the characters that raises the question of who really deserves to preside over Earth. The rest of the cast do much of a similar process which allows for the audience to see both sides of the spectrum in a balanced form. In addition, the costume, props, vintage yet futuristic costumes, breathtaking scenery make for a stunning visual feast.

     Overall, The Host (2013) is an entertaining, beautiful, and thought-provoking film with a story that goes much deeper than first expected. The film makes you think about your life choices as a person and as a species, as well as forces you to see the world and its species in a whole new light. We come to value the privilege of individuality and the luxury to have our own feelings. The cast performances further enhance and carry the story along, while the costumes, props, set designs, and scenery make for a stunning visual feast. Whether you’re a fan of the Twilight series or not, you should give The Host a chance because it might just surprise you.

"Her name is Wanda not 'it'."
- Ian O'Shea

Final Vote
Worth Seeing: 7.8 of 10 star
Worth Buying:  7.8 of 10 stars

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
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