Monday, 6 May 2013

The Host: The Movie vs The Book

Let me begin by saying that I thought Stephenie Meyer's book The Host (Goodreads) was just amazing - a five star read. Her imagination, story-telling, world-building and characterization paled the Twilight series into insignificance.  

For those who don't know The Host, let me give you the official movie blurb: 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.

So it was with real excitement - and some trepidation - that my family and I went to see the movie. (I even dragged Andrew along) Why trepidation? While I didn't think the Twilight books were brilliant, I'm not ashamed to say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading the series. But I HATED the movies. They were one big yawn from beginning to end. I was scared The Host would be similar. 

I need not have worried. With Stephenie Meyer as Executive Producer, the movie was every bit as good as the book. (Maybe she learned a few lessons about trusting movie makers with her creations after the awful Twilight movies)  

I think the question one always asks about books to movies is: how close did the director keep to the original storyline?

I was not unhappy with Director and Screen Writer Andrew Nicol's effort. In fact, I think he did an excellent job of building tension and excitement without sacrificing the plot. For the most part, I thought the acting was excellent. My only disappointment was with Kyle - the bad guy in the cave. Somehow he just didn't come across as a real threat to Wanda. In the book he is terrifying. In the movie he's a bit wishy-washy. Pity that.

I thought the casting was spot on, with two notable exceptions. The Seeker and Pet (Wanda’s replacement body.) In the book, the Seeker had short dark hair that emphasized her squat body and annoying personality. Pet had a halo of golden hair, was small and had freckles all over her body. I saw her as being almost angelic. Neither Diane Kruger or Emily Browning who played the two roles looked anything like these characters. 

That doesn't mean that Diane Kruger wasn't good - I think she played a perfect Seeker. I loved her role - and her fleet of high-tech silver cars, motor bikes and helicopters. Emily Browning? Not so much. She was a big disappointment. She just did not look the part. And how can a movie actress be so unphotogenic? Still, her very short appearance at the end of the movie did nothing to detract from my enjoyment. 

All told, I loved the movie from the opening shot to the end credits which rolled with one of my favorite songs, “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons. It was the cherry on the top. Even Andrew, who isn't really into fantasy and sci-fi, enjoyed it. I wonder why he's married to a fantasy and sci-fi writer? Perhaps it's better not to ask . . .

Now for an different view of The Host . . The rest of this review are my daughter Erin's thoughts. 
I loved the movie, but I admit I was a bit peeved by two things they left out. I would have liked to have seen Wanda’s story of some of her previous hosts. That was one of the best parts of the book for me. I also missed Kyle’s love story which motivated his hatred for Wanda. If they had mentioned that, maybe he would have come across as more angry and bitter. My only other gripe was the kissing . . . a bit too much for me. But I didn't let it ruin the movie. Because I make movies myself as a hobby, I have to talk about the CGI. The souls were brilliant! They where exactly as described in the book and exactly as I imagined them.  All in all, I enjoyed it! My heart was racing from beginning to end and I went back to see it three times.  

I guess that is all the recommendation needed.

Gwynn and Erin

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