Directed by Andrew Niccol (Gattaca), The Host, which has most of humanity occupied by peace-loving aliens called Souls, is part sci-fi, part thriller and part romance. Set in a utopian world, the movie brings up to us ideals we should think about.

Taken over by aliens called Souls, humans are now vessels to these creatures from another planet. No bigger than the size of your palms, they’ve survived centuries by co-habiting with the species of the planet they invade. These extraterrestrials that look uncannily like woolly worms use the humans not to take over Earth, but to experience it.

The Souls, while in their hosts, are dressed in swanky futuristic clothes. White and clean cut, the clothing makes them look saintly, which is an apt description of their moral fibre, since, unlike humans, they’re giving life back to Planet Earth, and restoring what mankind had stripped of it.

Our story starts with Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan). One of the few remaining humans, she’s taken by the Souls and implanted with Wanderer or Wanda, as Melanie’s uncle Jeb (William Hurt) affectionately dubs it. Unlike others, Melanie manages to hold onto her consciousness when others usually lose it after the Souls enter their hosts. Put in place to scour Melanie’s memories, Wanda finds herself sympathising with the humans, and so they both escape to the last remaining humans.

Even given the accomplished acting of Saoirse Ronan, who was nominated for Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA for her role in Atonement in 2007, it’s still hard not to giggle when Wanda communicates to Melanie by speaking blankly into thin air, making it look like she’s talking to herself.

While the Souls are meant to be peaceful and loving, the plot thickens when Seeker (Diane Kruger), the Soul’s version of a cop, becomes obsessed with finding and destroying the last of the human resistance.

When Wanda and Melanie finally find the remaining humans, conflict arises when Jeb, played by Oscar award winning William Hurt, takes her back instead of killing her like they do with the other Souls they come across. Emotions run wild with Melanie’s return as her lover (Max Irons) feels betrayed and confused, not knowing that Melanie still lives within her body.

Although it had a story to build upon, the movie spent too much of its 2 hours looking more like a romance than it did a sci-fi. In true teenage romance fashion, most of the time is spent on a love triangle, although it takes it one step further when it turns into a love square with Ian (Jake Abel), another refugee, taking interest in Wanda.

For all the trials that they’ve been through, the characters don’t show much development, and Melanie, for all her strong-headed nature, spends most of her time waiting around for other people to make decisions for her.

Although the movie’s plot is flat and its ending anti-climatic, it did pose questions about our human nature. Can we ever live in peace and harmony? And is it our passion that makes us so volatile and prone to violence? Perhaps where it failed to entertain or amuse, The Host‘s sole purpose was to make us think.


Rating: 2.5/5

Release Date: Mar 28

Runtime: 2 hrs 5 min

Language: English

Censorship rating: PG

Genre: Thriller

Director: Andrew Niccol

Main actors: Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons, Jake Abel