Books vs. Movies: The Host


I am sure that most people cringe at the thought of another Stephanie Meyer book. After all, the “Twilight” books and movies, were thought to be targeted to teenage girls. In retrospect, I do admit that the first two books were absolutely horridly written. The first two movies were terrible as well. But, if you pay attention, you notice that the quality of the books and the quality of the movies increases as they progress. Those of you who have written, you know that when you look back at your earlier works, ones that you thought were phenomenal, actually kind of sucked.  Therefore, as Stephanie Meyer’s writing career goes on, her books become better written. This is why I am completely alright with saying that I enjoyed reading her book,  “The Host.”

What did Stephanie Meyer have to write about after those nice, sparkly vampires? Why, aliens, of course. I know, it sounds terrible, but bear with me for a minute and I’ll explain how she successfully wrote a book about aliens that wasn’t nearly as trashy as the “Twilight” books.

Warning! Spoilers ahead!

Alright, well, what is going on here is that Earth is being invaded by aliens. Except, this isn’t your normal alien invasion. These aliens, or “souls,” as they’re referred to in the book, are peaceful creatures who need a host in order to live on most planets, except their own. The souls are a glowing white color, and they have long strands of what I can only describe as long, thin strings with a wider part at the end. The souls are inserted at the base of the neck, near the spine, and they connect to the spine and gain control of the body and mind. Except sometimes, the people inside the bodies fight back. Melanie, the woman who Wanderer (a soul) is inserted into is one of these people that fight back. The Seekers, who are basically like the police of their race, believe that Melanie is a part of the small human resistance that is fighting against them. They want information from her, and that is why Wanderer is placed into Melanie’s body. Yeah, there ends up being a love triangle like in “Twilight” but it is a well done love triangle. It isn’t necessarily the main focus of the story, though it does play a big part. And there you have the basic premise of the book.

the_host_eye_film_still_a_lWhile I loved the book, and I found it to be an excellent story with plenty of depth and interesting conflict. However, the movie was a huge disappointment. To start with, the eyes. It is a small detail, but an important one. The eyes of those who had a host in them were completely silver in the movie. In the book, it was stated that there was only a small silver ring around their pupil that was difficult to see. In fact, the only way to really know for sure was to shine a light in their eyes, and if there was a host in the person, then the silver ring would reflect the light. Having their entire eyes become silver makes it far too obvious that they were all hosts, as nit-picky as this sounds. I certainly felt that it was an important detail.

A couple of things that they did extremely well with, though, were the caves and the souls themselves. The look of the souls in the movie is exactly how I had imagined that they would look, perhaps even more beautiful. They even showed through the skin of Melanie’s neck and how the soul moves inside and stretches over the spine, making connections to it in order to gain the control. Showing this saved them the task of trying to explain the way it happened as it was explained in the book, and it looked pretty cool as well. Those caves? I was honestly was quite curious as to how they would pull off the elaborate cave system. I have to say, I was pleased with the outcome. Though, I do wish that they had left the room they had kept her in, like the one in the book. In the book, she had to sleep in this little hole in the wall, and that was how she hid from people she didn’t know or was afraid of, and it caused her all sorts of issues with sleeping and being highly uncomfortable. It would have shown better how little they thought of her, by giving her a terrible conditions to live in.

9046054_600x338Overall, I feel like the emotion brought by the actors was mediocre at best. For example, during the scene where Kyle, Ian and one other man come to kill Wanderer when she first comes to the tunnels. There was so much hatred there that it caused those three to come and try to kill her, and to fight one of their own who tried to defend her. Yet, the actors showed about half the hatred that was in the scene. When Ian chokes Melanie, it doesn’t even seem like he is choking her. It is possibly one of the worst faked choke scenes I have seen. And Ian’s face as he choked her seemed a bit odd for the scene. While he is one of the most compassionate of all of the people in the tunnels, he still has a feeling of fear and disgust towards them at this point in the story. Yet, if you looked at his face in the movie, you would think he was watching his childhood pet die. Some of the lines that are spoken are awkward and forced, and not even coming from the characters who are supposed to be the boringly peaceful souls.

There really weren’t many changes in the movie that I am absolutely unhappy with. I am not entirely sure why the movie didn’t thrill me nearly as much as the book did. There weren’t too many changes to the plot or details, and really, much of the book was preserved. It may be the bad acting, yet there were still times when the acting was better than other times. Perhaps this is just a story better read than watched.

That’s all I can really say for now. Come back next week to read the next installment!