Whittling down the almost 700 page novel The Host into the two hour movie The Host was never going to be easy-but Andrew Niccol seems to have done a pretty good job of hitting the high points. The Host movie is what The Host novel might have been if an Editor had the balls to tell Stephanie Meyers to rein it in a little.
I liked The Host, the story of a race of benevolent overloads who travel the stars looking for populated planets to conquer-and they found ours a few years back. The bulk of the human race has been taken over by Souls-a kind of glowing caterpillar with a seemingly endless supply of magical technologies. But there are a few holdouts who miss the good old days of senseless death and endless violence.
There’s no war, no hungry, and no crime. The only downside is that there are people being occupied are not too happy to be Hosts. One such unhappy person is our Hero, a rebel who is captured and implanted with our other hero-a Soul named Wanderer. The bulk of the story is in internal dialogue between the human and the alien possessing her. Over the course of time, they learn to get along and once the story rolls to an end, there is a small hope for humanity’s future.
The Host, like all the other monsters turned good guys stories, lacks the real drive and desperation of The Puppet Masters or Invasion of The Body Snatchers-it also lacks a villain. The closest thing we have to a bad guy is a member of the Soul police force-and the only reason she is evil is because of the human she has occupied.
There were a couple of changes from the book that I didn’t care for. In the book, there is a physical real world way to deal with the problem of Souls inhabiting humans, in the film, there is a mushy Tinker Bell ‘If you believe hard enough’ solution. Why change that? Also missing are virtually all of Wanderer’s adventures on other worlds-but then, Wanderer was the main character in the book, where she has co-star status in the film.
The Host looked really good, except for all the chrome covered Lotuses, motorcycles, and helicopters the Seekers drive. That was just kind of silly.
The Host was not a great movie, but I don’t think it was as bad as many reviewers are making it out to be, either.