For the record, I enjoyed the “Twilight” film franchise and even read the first novel. Author Stephanie Meyer’s vampires versus werewolves epics amused, excited, and delighted with surprises galore. The third installment "Eclipse” ranks as my favorite, but I loved all those lightweight horror chillers. Unfortunately, Meyer’s doesn’t deliver narrative material either as suspenseful or as compelling with “The Host.” The bestselling author produced this shallow, one-dimensional thriller with the usually competent writer & director Andrew Niccol. Niccol is no stranger to sci-fi since he has helmed “Gattaca,” “S1m0ne,” and “In Time.” Basically, “The Host” (* OUT OF ****) derives its narrative from movies like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and "The Puppet Masters." You know when somebody has gone alien because their eyes glitter like the creepy adolescents in “Children of the Damned.” Meantime, as a road-trip melodrama, "The Host” broods more often than it boils. Sadly, Niccol generates marginal conflict in this lukewarm thriller. Not only are these aliens well-mannered, but they also dress in immaculate white outfits. They patrol the planet in silver Lotus sports cars, hover overhead in shiny Bell Jet Ranger helicopters, and straddle shimmering motorcycles. The drawback is these aliens dominate each human with one of their own Souls. Typically, the Soul overrides its captive human, but our heroine proves far from typical. Actress Saoirse Ronan makes a fool of herself as a woebegone human who constantly bickers with the alien occupying her body. Despite her best efforts, Ronan appears pretty silly during these hysterical moments trying to imitate the antics that Jim Carrey performed in “Me, Myself, and Irene.”
Heroic Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan of “The Lovely Bones”) struggles to hide her little brother Jamie (Chandler Canterbury of “Repo Men”) from the Souls. Melanie conceals her sibling under a desk. Scrambling off in different direction, she leads the aliens away from Jamie. Melanie doesn’t flee far. She crashes headlong through a window and fall to what should have been her demise. Miraculously, despite breaking every bone and rupturing every organ in her body, Melanie survives the plunge. The Souls heal her with their minimalist technology that resembles silver packages of expensive cologne. They introduce one of their own parasites into Melanie’s body to learn where the last pockets of resistance exist. The mind control that the Souls have perfected, however, suffers a setback with Melanie. She refuses to kowtow to the alien in her body known to us as ‘the Wanderer.’
“The Host” spends most of its time with Melanie and the Wanderer fighting for supremacy over their body. Melanie reacts with considerable rage and jealousy when the Wanderer kisses her old flame, Jared (Max Irons of “Dorian Gray”), and then Melanie forces the Wanderer to slap him. Jared feels relieved because he realizes Melanie has survived the alien possession. Later, Ian (Jake Abel of “I Am Number Four”) falls in love with the same alien that he had abhorred earlier and refuses to see her tortured. Presumably, “The Host” was designed to appeal to junior high school girls because our heroine concentrates primarily on kissing. At this point, “The Host” degenerates into a formulaic, chick flick tearjerker. The one-thousand year old alien inhabiting Melanie’s body doesn’t understand the emotions that occur between humans under passionate circumstances. Essentially, what we have here in a romantic triangle: two studs with one babe who suffers from a dual-identity crisis. Meantime, Terra the Seeker (Diane Kruger of “National Treasure”) and her personnel search relentlessly for the Wanderer/Melanie. Eventually, they are able to locate our heroes because the grain that Uncle Jed cultivates inside a mountain relies on a sophisticated array of mirrors to gather sunlight. Nevertheless, Uncle Jeb intervenes and saves the day for our lovers. This is the kind of melodrama where the heroes rehabilitate the villains rather than exterminate with extreme prejudice. A final scene during the end credits when our heroes are joyriding through enemy country reveals that the Wanderer isn’t the only alien who isn’t happy with its own kind.