The Movie / Book Comparison The Host by Stephanie Meyer
I walked out of every Twilight adaption film a bit disappointed, but able to look past that, because for some reason the films were able to retain the fandom spirit of the novels. Incorporating all of the swoon-scenes and giving the novels that candy-sweet visual interpretation of shiver inducing awesome, with over-the-top good-looking characters who took their shirts off just when the plot faded to sluggishness.
I expected the same from The Host.
What we got instead was a comedy of awkwardness, a plot that was strung together in no discernible congruency and a bunch of silver vehicles.
I hadn’t expected an epic movie, but I thought I would at least enjoy seeing the characters come to life on the big screen. I didn’t even get to enjoy that. Only two of the characters rang true for me, Uncle Jeb (William Hurt, The Village) and Aunt Maggie (Frances Fisher, Eureka) and considering Fisher had maybe two lines that is saying a lot.
To hold back no punches, The Host was boring, filled with too much angst, plot points were just shoved into the time-line mishmash with no explanation and some of the acting was on the ridiculous side. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. The main entertainment factor came from the running dialogue that me and the other patrons felt the need to “include” during the show.
A spoilerific breakdown. Please be warned, if you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, I wouldn’t go any further:
Book to Movie Breakdown, where it all went wrong.
The movie opens up with Melanie running from the seekers. She was not trying to find her cousin, they were just in a random hotel scrounging for food. Seekers surround her and she manages to break from them and hurtle herself out a window.
Wanderer is implanted with absolutely no trauma, the healer and a very laid-back Seeker stand over her. She literally wakes up with the line “You can call me Wanderer” and no death memory like in the book.
Later, while sleeping, Wanderer wakes up (in her silver nightie) and glances in the mirror, where Mel makes her presence known in an echo voice, with a sort of twang accent that turns on and off randomly through her dialogue scenes.
Once the dreams start, Wanderer is also very forth-coming, with the pleasant Seeker. She quickly divulges the information about Jamie and Jared with very little remorse or emotion. In fact, the whole plot-line of her leaving her current city and going to “Fort Worth?” was played-out as a “trick” by Melanie. Let’s go see your original Healer – all the while I trick you with memories and make you drive in the opposite direction, then crash your car in a very dramatic scene to get you to not turn around — then force you to walk through the dessert and almost die. Mel seemed to have a lot of control over Wanderer at certain times.
The first part of the movie diverged greatly from the book. They didn’t show any of the transition of guilt with Wanderer or her realization that she cared about Jamie and Jared. This could have easily been shown in a scene with Wanderer’s shrink, but it wasn’t. To me there was no obvious “feelings” from Wanderer. The reason she went to her first Healer was to stop a forced removal, but it didn’t ring as an emotional reaction to her “hanger-on.”
Yet, as we get to the caves, Jeb’s reasoning and Jamie’s instant like of Wanda is that she has to love both Jared and Jeb. Inferred only because she threw herself in-between Kyle and Jared. It was a good play to show this…but up until that moment there was no lead-up to it. Just a bunch kissing dreams that Mel shared with Wanda.
Once we did get to the caves, it did line up more with the book. But, there was a lot filtered out and the only main focus was on the odd love-square between Jared, Ian, Mel and Wanda, which I could tell had a lot of the movie-goers kind of freaked out. Especially since there was a ton of emphasis on the fact that kissing brought Mel close to the surface. So, the scene where they took turns to bring Mel back by kissing her was kind of freaky. Luckily, though, those scenes were the only ones that had considerable explanation. Unlike a few other scenes that should have been explained better:
The scene where Wanda walks in on them trying to remove souls. There was just a flash of some squiggles on the table and Wanda running away screaming to Mel to “go away.” This could have easily been rectified with the conversation between the doctor and Jeb, where they remarked that the bodies were covered and it was stated, not the Soul bodies. Easy, ten-seconds to give explanation to that scene to give it more poignancy. But, it was left-out.
The scene with Wes and the Seeker was ridiculously brushed over. First off, The Seeker’s presence was a lot more prolific within the movie. She chased, shot, pursued the humans. It led to crazy car chases, shooting at helicopters, dead Seekers left and right and a very dramatic scene where drivers of a supply truck ram themselves into wall just to escape capture. So, when the Seeker does finally ostracize herself from the other Souls they have this scene with a dead guy on the path. Just a dead guy, no one knows who he is. Readers know he is Wes. Jeb comes out of no where and shoots the Seeker. Flash to Seeker in the “hole,” with the line, “why did you waste healing on me?”
No explanation what-so-ever. Then the movie progresses to one anti-climatic scene after another. There were no failed attempts at removing souls with the bodies unresponsive.
Then the ending. Wanda dies — for like two-seconds. Then there is this weird scene where I guess she is coming back to life. Then an explanation that they gave her a body that wasn’t coming back from all the fifty that they had saved. Just that one wasn’t reviving and the body was dying, so might as well put Wanda in there. No search for the perfect body, with Ian, Jamie, Jared and Mel on a mission to save their beloved alien. Nope, it sounded almost like a side thought. There was this body just lying around, she’s cute enough…
Flash two months later and then there is this crazy scene where the core group is being pursued by Seekers. It looks like the end. They take them out and they are all wearing sunglasses in the night. Kind of obvious. The Seeker removes their glasses, shines a light…
Human, Human, Human, not-human. He assumes she’s a captive, but Wanda takes Ian hands and states, “No, a friend.”
And then the Seeker calls over his shoulders, something like we have friends too. And the humans posing as Seekers reveal themselves, with a final parting, I’m a friend too…or something innocuous like that. It made no sense, why would this resistance group be posing as seekers and pull over someone??? It was just straight up bizarre way of ending it. I guess they were trying to end the movie dramatically in another random car chase. At least the cars weren’t silver.