The Host (2013)

dir. Andrew Niccol

The standard line with respect to Stephenie Meyer, creator of The Twilight Saga, is that her work isn’t high art. It’s not exactly cerebral. There’s precisely no need for deep, hard thinking to understand the story of Twilight. But then again, play The Host, which is based on a novel by Meyer, to an audience full of society’s top geniuses – Mensa members, our greatest writers and scientists and inventors and thinkers, whoever – and it’s an absolute guarantee that they’ll struggle to make head or tail of it. Questions might include: In this world where parasitic aliens have enslaved mankind, why do the aliens go from being ruthless vicious captors to eternally benevolent pacifists, changing from scene to scene? And similarly, why do the humans of this world go from despising and killing aliens one second, to warmly embracing them and palling around with them the next? Why would a talented actor like Saoirse Ronan agree to play these annoying characters, a human body inhabited by both human and alien souls yet barely ever in any actual conflict? And if the only discernible difference between a human-hosted body and an alien-hosted body is whether their eyes sparkle like Edward Cullen’s skin or not, then why don’t more people simply take advantage of contact lenses to fool the other side? Also, why do the three bland teenage boys of the story all look exactly the same? Why do none of them seem to understand what consent is? Why is there so much wheat? Since when do mirrors work that way? Truly, with all this pondering and consternation caused by watching The Host, we can only conclude that Stephenie Meyer’s work is that of a genius we mere mortals simply cannot fathom. Either that, or it’s somehow even more stupid and inane than what we already knew to expect from her.

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