By The Book: The Host

Andrew Niccol’s adaptation of The Host is very faithful to Stephenie Meyer’s book. But the film fails to capture the philosophical and moral complications detailed in the book.

eng-the-hostThe story follows a Host and a Soul on post-apocalyptic Earth. The Souls, an alien race who take over the natives of war-torn planets, live to make every world peaceful for their hosts. Earth’s humans are very dangerous to themselves and their planets so the Souls have some trouble subduing all the humans. Melanie is a particularly difficult being to conquer as she is part of a rebel human resistance. The Soul Wanderer is placed inside Melanie to mollify her and find out where the human are living.

Wanderer finds it hard to subjugate Melanie. She is still there inside the Host’s body nagging at her with every move she makes. Wanderer begins to sympathize with Melanie, and the two start a quest to find Melanie’s brother and boyfriend. But the Souls are not giving up, and a particularly singular minded Seeker chases after them.

By luck, Melanie and Wanderer are able to make it to the desert hideout of the humans. Wanderer is given shelter even though the humans do not trust her. Melanie’s boyfriend and brother are found, but the story does not simply end there. Wandered, now called Wanda empathizes with her human captors and falls in love while in the caverns.

The changes made to the movie are minimal. Some back stories, such as Kyle and Jodi’s, are left out leaving you to question the motivations of some characters, but the movie leaves little time for much more than Wanda and Melanie’s story.

xthe-host-movie-poster-pagespeed-ic-zyypkhl6cdThe problem with The Host as a film is that somehow all nuisances lost. The movie makes everything black and white. There is some discussion as to how one body can love too men but it mainly glossed over in stark kisses and slaps. The movie losing the internal dialogue between Wanda and Melanie. The movie features Melanie as a disembodied voice but Wanda talks aloud to herself. This is done for ease of understanding but the inner turmoil is too a minimum and Wanda seems to collapse under Melanie’s influence which is absolutely not the case. The book features two souls at war finding peace between themselves, their morals, their loves, and their loyalty.

It is hard to suggest what could have made this better. I want to fall back on an old excuse; it’s not a book you can translate. It’s not Twilight; there is depth and character development that was missing from the vampire saga. This is Meyer’s best work. But this is not Niccols.

By the Book: Breaking Dawn

Contains Spoilers

The Twilight Saga movies have a tumultuous history. The first adaptation was a horrible movie, slicing and cutting at fan favorite books passages. The movies became increasing better culminating with Eclipse. Break Dawn Part 2 takes after Eclipse as an adaptation; it takes the best from the book and makes it better.

Breaking Dawn Part 2 includes material from the last 400 pages of the book and picks up where the last movie left off: Bella’s transformation to vampire. Overall the movie is a loyal adaptation to the source material. The movie cuts out small portions in order to move the story along. The only real loss was the fear J. Jenks felt for Jasper (and I was hoping for a created flashback for that).

But like the other installments, it reduces or cuts out character completely. With this being said, the movie does include the majority of the Cullen’s witness though it cuts down on the Volturi clan. These new characters are well cast and, unlike previous installments, look like the characters in Stephenie Meyer’s book. And many of the characters lines come directly from the book.

Changes in the movie do make correct some issues with the novel. I personally was quite upset that there was no fight after the build up of other vampires. Other complained that there were no deaths and fans did not have to mourn. I understand this point, but I like for my characters to live. The twist ending changes these complaints making the movie compelling and keeps fans on their toys. It’s like watching The Walking Dead and getting a great surprise in the TV that wasn’t in the comics. Fans should stick with the movie through the twist, no matter their first reaction. In fact, the ending gives a more “happily ever after” outlook than the book by including scenes Alice envisioning the future.  Even the credit give homage to the whole cast and fans feel like they are saying good bye to old friends, just like they felt when they closed the final book.

The movie also makes Bella a little less perfect. She has great self control but in the movie she actually gets close to the human before turning back. Unfortunately, the acting does not hold up in her fury towards Jacob though Stewart does well with the mother/daughter bond. It boggles me why Bella has more color as a vampire than she did as a human. Otherwise, seeing beloved characters come to life is a treat for fans.

Breaking Dawn Part 2 is one of the better movies in the Twilight Saga and Melissa Rosenberg expands on the material already written by Meyer. Fans will be please with the ending of this installment as a stand alone movie, and also as an ending to a beloved movie journey.