Watching this movie felt like the longest two hours of my life, even at only an hour in. It was the most boring, disjointed, poorly thought out, nigh on unbearable thing I have ever experienced, and that’s saying something, since as you know, I read the book. This was even more of a waste of time than that was.
Throughout my chapter recaps, I asked multiple times how anyone could actually like the book, but the movie was even worse; it was actually quite different in many ways, but that only left me wondering how even people who liked the book could like the movie. Given its rating on Rotten Tomatoes (8%), I’m not sure they really did, but at the same time, I have seen some good reviews and comments relating to this movie…I just cannot understand how that is possible.
This movie was a train wreck. The things that were wrong with the book were wrong with the movie (aside from the fact that Wanda did not get into any excruciating stories about her lives on other worlds, thank god, and Ian was not an abusive rapist – though he did still strike me as being creepy), but instead of drawing things out too long and providing excessive description, as Meyer did in the book, the movie lacks anything to link one scene to the next, nonetheless delve any deeper than that. It just jumps from one thing to another, with no rhyme or reason, and without any buildup or tension that the book at least attempted to achieve.
The movie starts with one of the lamest introductory narrations I’ve ever heard, and then jumps right into Melanie getting caught. It cuts the entire storyline that Meyer used to explain how Melanie got caught in the book, and replaces it with an even less believable one, which has Melanie, Jared and Jamie all stupid enough to stay in a hotel, where they would surely get caught.
There is no explanation as to why Jamie doesn’t get caught after Melanie attempts suicide, as there’s no way he would escape and find Jared (who was supposedly out on a raid when the Seekers found Melanie) by himself with that many Seekers around, but somehow it all works out okay, and in the end, Jared and Jamie get to a place that they would not have known the way to (Jeb’s cabin), because apparently even Melanie doesn’t, since she never finds it, she just gets lost trying to. Not that it would have mattered, because Jeb wasn’t there anyway. At least the movie and book are consistent in that they make absolutely no sense.
I won’t list every difference and difficulty this movie had, because there are far too many, but suffice it to say that almost nothing is portrayed as it was described in the book, or could have been reasonably imagined, so I have to wonder if Meyer actually had any hand in this movie at all. I know she supposedly did, but why would she let them change so much? That doesn’t show much loyalty to her fans, not to mention her own story.
Even the basic plotline is different, with Wanderer giving Jamie and Jared up from the start, and I just don’t really understand these changes. The movie is just as convenient as the book is, though, with things always exactly where they need to be whenever they need to be there, Wanderer/Melanie able to survive things that they absolutely never would be able to in real life, and everyone just going along with whatever random idea is thrown out (usually by the alien they shouldn’t trust), without even thinking about it. There’s not even a tribunal system this time, so Kyle gets away with trying to kill Wanda without even a scolding, and no one really fights her when she decides she wants to kill herself – at which point, instead of keeping that a secret, she just tells everyone. So the movie lacks any sort of real conflict, for the most part, and tries to insert its own through lame car chase scenes instead.
The dialogue somehow manages to be even worse in the movie than it was in the book, by a long shot, to the point that almost every single line made me want to roll my eyes or groan, and the one good scene in the entire book is ruined by said poor dialogue and the rushed nature of the movie. As such, this movie had absolutely no redeeming qualities. It’s cheesy, it’s boring (I mean, come on; I should not be bored during Wanda’s ‘death’ scene, but I found it to be some of the longest minutes of my life), it’s incredibly poorly written, and there’s no cohesion to it at all. It feels like it was made by a group of people who don’t even understand how movies are made, nonetheless having ever done it before.
Oh, and the acting is terrible, if you couldn’t have already guessed that it would be. None of the characters are even slightly believable, and even the voice acting for Melanie when she’s still in Wanda’s head is horrible; the actress can’t seem to find the proper tone to use for the things she’s saying at any point, no matter how simple the line. I got the feeling, while watching these actors, that they hated every single one of their lines, which made it impossible for them to deliver them properly, but I don’t know; maybe it’s just that the filmmakers could only get terrible actors to agree to appear in this film in the first place. Whatever the reason, though, it’s painful to watch.
Because the acting is terrible and the movie is rushed through without giving any character development whatsoever (or, in a lot of cases, even actually introducing who the characters are), it is impossible to feel any sympathy for either Wanderer or Melanie; they both just seem like petulant children, all the time. At least in the book you could feel bad for one or the other of them some of the time, but nope, not here. Not for one second.
Because of this lack of character development, I cannot at all understand why any of the individuals in the caves would care about Wanda. From what we’re shown, she doesn’t actually know any of them, especially not Doc (she doesn’t even seem to really interact with him at any point), so why would he be upset about having to kill her? And why do any of them trust her? The movie plays out as though everyone is just innately okay with her because she’s Jeb’s niece…aside from Jared, of course, who’s a dick. But that’s ridiculous. And if they were counting on us having read the book to believe these things, well, they might have tried to make the movie a lot more like the book.
Walter is removed entirely from the movie, which makes less sense than it might seem to, because Walter was supposed to be a big factor in Wanda deciding that the humans were worth living and dying for, because some were actually good…but I guess she never did seem to hate or fear the humans the way she was supposed to in this movie, so maybe it’s irrelevant. Another thing that’s missing, though, is any indication as to why Wanda and Melanie would love each other, because there’s no buildup to their relationship at all, and Wanda doesn’t actually seem to fall in love with Jared or Jamie at any point, either. There’s nothing to explain why these two would care about each other, they just do, and we’re supposed to accept it. And that annoys me, so moving on.
For some reason, in the movie, the characters keep going on raids during the day, when they are sure to get caught. Why would they change that? In the book they only went out at night, until Wanda started going to get stuff for them, and that made sense…so I’m just thoroughly confused by this. No one would believe that the “last surviving humans” would be stupid enough to raid during the day.
And why do the aliens have so many medications when Wanda steals them (we can see the individual names, as listed in the book), but only one ever seems to have to be used on anyone besides Wanda? Jamie is completely healed by a few sprays of one medication on his cut; that’s it. So why did she bother to bring the Cool? I know I saw her take that one. If one medication can save someone who is dying, what are the rest for? Oh, and did I mention that the aliens are removed from the human hosts by love? Yeah. Not technique, love. Just…ugh.
The end of the movie is even worse than the ending of the book, as it’s even less believable and more pointless, and while I could go into so much more detail about the problems with this movie than I have, I think I’ve said enough. The book was the worst I’ve ever read, but the movie has surpassed even it in terms of horrible writing, so as such, I would not recommend this movie to anyone, ever. I can’t imagine how anyone could like this movie. It depresses me to think how much money was spent on making it.
So, there you have it; that’s my review of The Host – movie version. 0/10, two thumbs down, absolutely never will I watch it again, ever.
(Check out Mike’s review at http://emptystress.wordpress.com!)