The Host (“My Rant About The Twilight Movies”)

2 Apr

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Synopsis: “When an unseen enemy threatens mankind by taking over their bodies and erasing their memories, Melanie will risk everything to protect the people she cares most about, proving that love can conquer all in a dangerous new world.” (Rated PG-13; 2 hours, 5 minutes)

If going into a movie with lowered expectations was a goal, The Host achieved it perfectly. First of all, this is the movie adaptation of a book by Stephenie Meyer. As in the author of the Twilight novels. As in the person who wrote the books that I’ll admit I didn’t read, but that were made into some of the absolute WORST big budget extravaganzas I’ve seen in years. Every…single…one of them.

I saw each of those awful movies with my friend Ephraim. Let me explain: If there’s one friend who I have to be careful NOT to sit next to in a movie it’s Ephraim. He will talk, scoff, and make fun of just about any movie, and he won’t do it quietly. This makes him one of the most entertaining people to spend time and see movies with IF you don’t care about creating a Mystery Science Theater 3000 experience; but for someone like me who enjoys MOST movies, it isn’t exactly ideal. So I’ve learned that I need to make him promise not to talk if I’m sitting next to him in a movie, which results in him talking only slightly more than Adi watching a horror movie (“Don’t go in there!!!”). But the Twilight movies were SO bad that the only reason I actually enjoyed watching each one of them was because I WAS sitting next to him making fun of them each time. (I know, I know, this post will surely alienate me from a certain percentage of my audience who thinks that the Twilight books were Citizen Kane and would be offended if I gave them a “B” instead of an “A” grade. Sorry, I’m not going to pander to anyone, and to have given any of those movies anything above a C would have been as dumb as saying Back To The Future II was a bad sequel. Obviously that movie rocks…and clearly hover-boards are real…and where can I buy one???)

Where was I? Right. The Twilight movies (and presumably books) were terrible, and a waste of a few hundred million dollars. And nobody could have possibly been worse than Kristen Stewart, and her wooden performance. In fact, describing her that way may be disrespectful to all forms of wood (something Curb Your Enthusiasm taught us is a crime). In fact I’ll bring up something else: My friend Yoni likes to say that he’s willing to bet that he could shoot free throws better than certain awful NBA shooters, like DeAndre Jordan. I’d like to propose my own version of that bet: With absolutely zero acting experience I, Boaz Hepner, could have acted better than Kristen Stewart. I could have put on a dress, used a stereotypically dreadful, high-pitched voice to mimic a girl, and read my lines from cue cards…and still given a better performance. Now that I’ve successfully lost 20% of my readership just to make a point, please allow me to continue…

For all of these reasons, plus the fact that The Host was a far less successful book by Stephenie Meyer, PLUS overall lousy reviews (including Entertainment Weekly giving it a ZERO, and calling it “a dramatic sinkhole”)…I certainly went into the movie with lowered expectations. Thus how lovely it was when I ended up enjoying this sci-fi movie epic! It didn’t really even feel like a movie; it was much more like watching a sci-fi miniseries that’s made for television, but one that I’d really enjoy watching. First of all it wasn’t short, so it felt like the movie was able to take its time and develop the story. Please realize that when I write about developing characters, I’m still doing so on a TV miniseries quality level, something like the show V. In other words, there’s no great acting, the dialogue is simply adequate, but for a fan of sci-fi with an intense dash of romance (like many CW/WB shows) it’s a very appealing thing to watch.

First of all Saoirse Ronan is actually a good young actress. If you missed the movie Hanna, go see it. It was an exciting Bourne Identity-type movie starring a young girl, and done amazingly, thrillingly well. It was an absolutely underrated movie from 2011. She was also great in Atonement, another film that I think was fantastic. So having the lead actress be competent was already a step up from Kristen Stewart, and she was actually quite good…except for her voice-over. To be fair, it’s not her fault that the voice-over was an awkward device of the movie; it was the choice of the author and the director, but boy did it come across as hokey! Let me explain the basic premise of the movie so you’ll understand what I mean: When the movie begins her character is taken over by an alien parasite who body-snatches her. This has been happening all over the world to almost the entire human race; they have been body-snatched. What makes her unique is that her consciousness remains within her body, and throughout the movie you hear her voice talking to the (friendly) alien parasite and they literally have conversations. I can see how this device could work in a novel, but watching it unfold in a movie was somewhat painfully silly. And every time you’d see Saoirse Ronan on screen it would be this dichotomy of a good acting performance having a conversation with her own inner voice which would make you roll your eyes. Not the desired effect that director Andrew Niccol could have wanted.

Speaking of the director, he has made two very entertaining, underrated sci-fi movies in the past, starting with Gattaca, and most recently with the surprisingly fun In Time. I like his movies, and love the genre, but this was still the least good of those three. Nonetheless, he depicted a universe that intrigued the sci-fi fan in me, and I really enjoyed the movie in spite of its hokey voice-over device.

Another thing that I really appreciated was that none of it was ruined by the previews I’d seen. In previews you saw her as a free human, falling in love, eventually captured and taken over by the aliens, and finally fighting back from within her own body. A fair assumption would be that you just saw the first half of the movie. The good news was that this all happened within the first 5 minutes! Somehow the previews remained spoiler-free, and I was able to enjoy the movie much more as a direct result.

William Hurt played a major role, and you always get the feeling he’s method-acting every role. If so, he must have been holed up in the desert somewhere playing a crazy survivalist. And yes, he was good in the role as the caring leader of these few surviving humans. The three good looking young guys were all blonde-haired and hard to tell apart at times. Two of them became love-interests (Stephenie Meyer seems to have an inner desire for polygamy) and I kind of ended up rooting for the one who you’re clearly supposed to root for LESS. Kind of…you’ll see.

I saw it with Jared at the end, not Ephraim. And I’m glad it worked out that way since I actually did enjoy watching all of it uninterrupted, with all of its flaws (I didn’t even mention that the special effects were somewhat cheesy too). It won’t be for everyone, but hopefully I described it enough to know if it’s for you.

The movie was better than Twilight by a landslide. It wasn’t as good as the Steve Martin comedy All Of Me. Why do I make such a random comparison? Because throughout The Host, whenever the main character would talk to herself and you’d hear her talk back internally, I kept thinking of how funny it was in All Of Me where Lily Tomlin was trapped inside Steve Martin’s body, and you’d hear HER talking to him. That worked like a bizarre buddy-comedy, but I think in part it worked because it was not only a comedy, but also a different actor’s voice. It’s much tougher to take it seriously when the same voice talks back.

Quality Rating: B-

Boaz Rating: B+

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11 Responses to “The Host (“My Rant About The Twilight Movies”)”

  1. Ephraim Osgood April 4, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

    Anyone looking for the Mystery Science Theater 3000 experience is welcome to join me for a Bad Movie (about %95 of the crap they make these days) experience.

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    • boazconstrictor April 4, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

      AWESOME, and he’s being serious! I love when I know it’ll be bad so I can look forward to seeing it with YOU! (Jack & Jill anyone? 🙂

      Like

  2. Aliza Hausman April 4, 2013 at 9:42 pm #

    I also really enjoyed the film and I was so disappointed with Entertainment Weekly’s review. An F? Really? Did you see the other movies that were out at the same time. The reviewer professed to loving the Twilight movies…all of them. I fear this film suffered the same fate as Beautiful Creatures. People who hated Twilight won’t go see either because they think these movies are similar and people who love Twilight MAY go see it expecting more of the same and be disappointed to find that these movies stand alone on their own merits.

    Like

    • boazconstrictor April 5, 2013 at 1:28 am #

      It was definitely far better than Twilight as I made very clear in the review, not even close. But I wouldn’t call it a good movie, definitely entertaining though. Whereas Beautiful Creatures I think was actually very clever and well done from start to finish.
      Glad you liked it though, I know you saw it far before I did!

      Like

  3. blackshirt13 April 11, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

    I did not watch the movie, but I have read the book. Same goes for the Twilight saga (though I did watch the first movie and stopped after that–same reason as that in my blog post) by the same author. And at the risk of being stereotyped right there with screaming YA fanatics (which I assuredly am not), I do like Meyer’s books. Romance and polygamous issues aside, Twilight does have a decent story and I like how Breaking Dawn nicely wraps up all the conflicts and loose threads in the first three books. But back to the topic on hand, The Host. It’s been a coupla years I think since I read it so I’m a bit rusty on details and so might have enjoyed the movie if I’d watched it. You piqued my curiosity about the voice-over thingies, since internal dialogues do make for good reading but can be tricky to translate for the big screen. Might download the movie just yet sometime, if only to abate my curiosity about that. 😛

    Like

    • boazconstrictor April 11, 2013 at 11:34 pm #

      You put so much thought into this, I love it. Yes, voice over can be VERY tough to do well, and this one as a movie just failed miserably. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t effective in the book, it just came across so…hokey. My best friend pointed out some movies that have done an internal dialogue well including Gollum in Lord of the Rings, which was amazingly creative.
      Glad if I didn’t offend you in this post as a reader of Twilight, cause man those movies stunk. 🙂

      Like

      • blackshirt13 April 12, 2013 at 1:21 am #

        Nah, I have my favorites but I am no die-hard fan of anything. 😛 The Twilight movies kinda killed any serious thought anyone would have of the (true) story in the book, and that’s a shame since the books got popular in the first place because the story’s good. Oh well. *shrugs*

        Like

      • boazconstrictor April 12, 2013 at 3:04 am #

        Can’t have an opinion about that since I didn’t read them, I can just know how awful the acting and overall flicks were. And that’s saying something since I’m a VERY easy audience. 🙂

        Like

  4. projectedrealities April 14, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

    I made it through about half of my library copy of the audiobook before I just gave up and had to return it. What hurt the most about doing so wasn’t that the story was *bad*–I thought the premise of “benevolent-dictator” aliens invading was really interesting–but that I personally thought it went nowhere. It was neither very good nor very bad, just mediocre, and I still remember bits and pieces of the plot.

    Like

    • boazconstrictor April 14, 2013 at 11:48 pm #

      I’ve heard a mixture of decent to things like that, sounds more interesting than Twilight but again anything I know about them is from their movies. As I said, I enjoyed it, but I’m a sucker for sci-fi, and that voice-over, man that didn’t work…

      Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions Of A Marriage Counselor (“My Two Cents On Tyler Perry”) | Boaz's Movie Obsession - April 10, 2013

    […] and making fun of it with my friend Yoni, something I rarely do. (Just read my recent post about The Host and you’ll know I try to avoid talking while watching a movie, but there are these rare […]

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