Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Investigating a Murder: The Host | Movie Review [Spoilers!]

The Victim: The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Murder Site: The Big Screen
Accused: Hollywood
Dear Hollywood Producers, a piece of advice: if, in the course of adapting a book to a movie you find yourself discarding half the novel and drastically changing the remaining half... DON'T ADAPT THE NOVEL. 
Saorise Ronan as Melanie/Wanderer
Seriously, can I give a movie minus stars? because if I can, I'm giving this atrocity minus 100 stars.

When I first heard of the movie adaptation to one of my favorite books, I was skeptical, to say the least. Especially considering The Host is not the most visual of novels. But I never, in my wildest dreams, considered the possibility it will be this bad

After ten minutes of watching Hollywood butcher this wonderful story, all I wanted to do was re-read the book so I could cleanse myself of this monstrosity. So I could wash away all the blood from my clothes after being an eye witness to that.


For those of you who don't wan't the elaborate reasons, here is a short summary; the movie was boring, the acting not at all believable, the best parts weren't there or have been changed, the romances sprang out of nowhere and was in-your-face and everything I did want to see wasn't there.
Does't really need to be elaborated because, dude, there's so little of it. 

But, the souls are beautiful and I love how they did them. 

Earth is made much more sci-fi and futuristic under the palms of Hollywood, but it made for some stunning visual contrast between the shiny cars and sterile clothes and houses of the souls and the nature and desert background of the rebels.

A+ for Max Irons, Chandler Canrerbury and Jake Able's acting. 

*bare in mind that I'm saying this as a film-major as well as a fan of the book*
**And that this is a really reduced version. I have so many other complaints**

Diane Kruger as The Seeker
Let's start with the first red flag - the first ten minutes of the movie. They were really really weak. Melanie's capture is paced incorrectly which makes it boring instead of exciting and nerve-wrecking. It's very hard to ruin something so inherently blood-pumping as a young girl literally jumping out of a window to escape pursuers. This movie succeeded. 

If it was cut differently, or if it was shot differently, this could have been an epic start to a movie. Instead it's yawn worthy. This issue continues with the rest of the movie, which was sometimes just visually painful because, for a Hollywood movie, it is done really bad.

And then we are thrust into another location and time so quickly we barely manage to get our footing, and the dialogues are vague as shit about everything. I believe people who haven't read the book will be very confused about what is happening. Nothing is properly explained. 

Now comes the part I dreaded - the presentation of Melanie. As Melanie is a voice inside Wanda's head, I was not surprised they used voice-over - though more interesting methods such as us seeing Melanie talking through reflections or seeing "another" Wanda talking to the physical one would've been more visual and engaging choices.

But that wasn't my issue. My issue was the delivery - very stiff and with little emotion, I believed none of it. 
Max Irons as Jared

And then started the plot issues. The big things that made me truly, honestly worried. It started with Melanie giving away Jamie (her little brother)'s existence like he meant nothing to her. Her most guarded secret in the book, the person that took Wanda months to learn about, is treated like a fleeting thought, a by-the-way. Second place (at best) to her romantic love interest, Jared. 

And then, there were the multiple times Melanie used their joined body, most of them for violence. It was almost as if she could do so at will, a vast difference from the book. But it wouldn't have bothered me (or rather, not half as much) if this didn't directly tie in to changing the biggest moment of the book - resulting in a completely different story.

In the movie, Wanda does not chose the humans. 

Instead, she is forced to do so as Melanie causes a car crash that leaves Wanda with barely any choices. The whole story of The Host is Wanda choosing the humans over her own kind. From the beginning, Wanda chose them. Loved them. Changing this doesn't seem like a big thing initially, but it changes the essence of this wonderful story. 

Was it really worth it just to garner some false-action with the shot of the car spinning? 
The movie, in general, seems to belittle Wanda. Wanda may be a kind, gentle Soul/soul, but she was never dumb. In fact, she was smarter and braver than most human. The movie attributes many of her ideas, realizations and actions to Melanie instead, making the human appear to be the true master behind the wings.

Melanie and Wanda's dynamics are not the only ones messed up in the movie, because the relationships just sucked ass.

We get a gazillion scenes of Melanie and Jared kissing. We get it. Kissing is a visual way of affirming love. But how 'bout you show us some scenes of them talking? On something else than their physical attraction, I mean. Let us believe their love, feel it, instead of you telling us with words or kisses. 
in case you were wondering, the end of the world gives away free girlfriend flipping lessons to anyone who may wish for them!
And the movie really worked hard to soften Jared and make him less of a douche toward Wanda so the viewers could really believe this "love triangle".

Jake Abel as Ian
Wanda's relationship with Ian was vastly reduced, as well. They never showed the time they spent getting to know one another, opting to just spring it out of nowhere on us. And shame on them, they never let him say his most beautiful sentence. THE sentence where it becomes clear (to anyone not already convinced) that Ian loves Wanda. Wanda, not Melanie. Wanda, not the body. Wanda

And don't get me started on the Seeker, who is nothing like Book!Seeker. It's another character all together, wasting a wonderful antagonist and making her generic. 

Now, the acting... I really, really wasn't impressed with Saorise Ronan. I acknowledge it's very difficult to play two different characters, in the same body no less. And one of them has no body at all. But I thought she did a poor job with Melanie because it sounded like reading lines. And while her Wanderer was mostly very good, she would sometimes slip into the Melanie-like line-reading style and I would crack because it was so bad. And I wasn't supposed to laugh.

To add to all these, there were so many scenes that never existed in the book, and never would because they were just... no. No because it was bad story telling. No because it changed what the story should be about. No, because if you're already changing stuff than add to the story more than just stupid action sequences. No because what's the point of cutting from the story for those type of scenes? 

After thirty minute, I just stopped caring. I was done with it. I finished it only so I could say I did. 

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