Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Ghoul Versus Stephenie Meyer's The Host (Part 2)

Click here for Part One!

Back in the caverns Jared and Kyle arrive, and Jared is back to wanting to kill Wanda again. Make up your mind dude! Jamie stops him, revealing the truth about Melanie. Jared doesn't believe this and storms off. Wanda apologizes to Jeb for all the trouble she's caused, offering to go back to her cell. Ian says she can stay with him instead, because either he's gallant like that or because the only other woman we've really seen in the resistance just happens to be old Aunt Maggie.

Ian sets up Wanda in his cave, telling her he trusts her and believes her. Melanie thinks he likes her too much, Wanda asking what that means. Melanie replies “If I've got anything to do with it, you'll never find out” in this weird Texan accent she hasn't had the entire movie! RHHARGHHHHH!  Jared wakes up from a dream about having sex with Melanie, as he suddenly realizes the only other sexually compatible woman for him in the movie is Maggie.

He hightails it to Wanda's where he kisses her as Melanie screams no. She finally takes control of the body and punches him, which makes him believe it really is Melanie because of her history of punching a guy who kisses her against her will.  Psst... she actually headbutted him originally instead of punching him, but you expect the movie to keep track of what happened way back in ye olden times of AN HOUR AGO?  Sooooo Jared now believes her because... only Melanie has a problem with being forcibly kissed? All other women would be okay with a guy doing that? Thanks for this rare insight into the female psyche Stephenie Meyer!  To recap: Jared loves Melanie who is trapped in her own body by Wanda who loves Ian. White girl problems, amirite?!

Wanda takes a bath in the underground springs to think the fucked up Love Polygon that is now her life. Kyle comes looking for her, Melanie telling her to run. She tries but he catches up with her, trying to throw her in a nearby river which will sweep her away to her doom. In the struggle, he ends up falling in and she tries to save him, despite Melanie screaming at her to let him die. Wanda yells for help, Ian and a couple others arriving to help pull him to safety.

They all meet in Doc's office, where Jeb demands to know what happened. Wanda lies and say Kyle slipped, but no one believes her. That's pretty much the whole scene. Jared gathers another crew to make another supply run, as he leaves he tells Ian to stay away from Wanda.  Cut to the next scene where Ian and Wanda and talking a walk because fuck Jared. I was really hoping to do the “wah wah wahhh” sound effect here, but it wasn't an IMMEDIATE cut to Ian disobeying his best friend. They're walking outside the caverns because I guess the helicopters aren't a threat anymore?

Ian tells Wanda he likes her and they're about to kiss when Melanie asks her what about Jared. This gives her pause, which Ian picks up on and asks if there's anyway Melanie can give them some privacy. GODDAMN! This freaking movie! It's Melanie's fucking body you asshole, how dare SHE cockblock your attempts to try to have sex with it! There is such a dark undercurrent to this whole story if you think about it, and you better since Meyer obviously didn't.  Wanda has the only moment of clarity in the entire story when she tells Ian he only likes her body and not the real her. She says if he could hold her true form in his hands he'd get disgusted and crush her. He tells her she doesn't know that and kisses her. This sets off Melanie to no end, as she threatens to hurt Ian. This is a really fucked up movie. There's no winners or losers here, just victims.

Back at seeker headquarters, we find Kruger is steadily going insane. HER inner voice tells her she'll never win, as we see she still has the pistol. They didn't take that away from her? Why isn't she like locked up or something for committing murder?  After her time with Ian, Wanda goes to Doc's office where she finds several bodies lying dead on tables with the aliens cut out of them. She screams they are all monsters, running off while Melanie tries to talk her down. Wanda tells her to “get out of her head”, running back to her cell where she sits for the next few days not talking to anyone or eating.

Jeb comes to see her, asking what did she expect? The human race is dying and they're trying to get their world back, which is a FANTASTIC point. This is one of the biggest wasted opportunities of the movie was not dealing with the repercussions of the actions of the souls, how they were basically committing interplanetary genocide and how Wanda should have had to deal with this on a personal level. But Meyer wasn't interested in that kind of a story, there's a Love Triangle to push dammit!

Wanda says what they're trying is impossible, and all it is doing is murdering both of their kind. Jeb says he'll call of the experiments, Wanda asking how she can trust him. He counters by saying “I trusted YOU!” Jeb is a pretty good character, but WOW William Hurt was just not interested in doing anything with him. I bet he was constantly falling asleep between takes.  Jeb goes on to tell her Jamie's leg got infected from the cut and he is now getting very sick. Wanda tries to contact Melanie but gets no answer. Thank God! But sadly this doesn't last very long, as she cooks up an idea to get her ultra annoying echoy voice over back. I'll give you three guesses what it is, and the first two don't count.

She goes to find Jared, telling him to kiss her to try to awaken Melanie. This doesn't work though, so Jared tells her “I guess you'll have to make her REAL angry.” He goes to get Ian, telling HIM to kiss her. Jesus this might be the stupidest thing ever. Waitaminute, something's not right here. Which one is this? Is that Jar- no, it's Ian right? Or is it? No, it's definitely Ian!  Rhhargh, I got Jared and Ian mixed up. They REALLY shouldn't have cast two guys that look almost identical. Let's try that again!  She goes to find IAN, telling him to kiss her to try to awaken Melanie. This doesn't work though, so IAN tells her “I guess you'll have to make her REAL angry”. He goes to get JARED, telling him to kiss her. Jesus this might be the stupidest thing ever: the power of kissing is more important than anything!

So Wanda and Jared- that is Jared, right? Yes it is! Wanda and Jared kiss and Melanie comes back in all her Mean Girls-esque glory and OMFG that really just happened. An author was paid a lot of money to write this and a publishing company paid a lot of money to publish it and people paid a lot of money to buy it. So much money was spent on it people paid a lot of money for the rights to it and then a company paid them a lot of money to make it into a movie and then I paid money to buy this and then sat down to actually watch it. TWICE. At no point in this process did NO ONE say “Hey, this is kinda fucking stupid?!”

Wanda tells Melanie about Jamie, then tells Jared that he needs medicine. Jared tells her there's no medicine left because the souls destroyed it all. What? Why in the world would they do that?! That's such a weird throwaway line for plot convenience I don't even... I mean yeah the souls have their magic healing spray, but why would they go to the trouble to destroy all medicine in the world? They're supposed to be these benevolent beings that want to help their hosts, awwww forget it.

Jared and Wanda go to a nearby hospital to steal magic spray, which goes off without a hitch. They bring the spray back to Jamie, which instantly heals his leg just like it healed Wanda's body. Yes I skipped a lot of the details but this section of the movie is COMPLETELY POINTLESS. Wanda's a good person who likes to help her friends, got it!  We finally get a payoff on the 1.3 billion scenes of Kruger roaming the desert as she shows up and gets captured by the resistance. Wanda talks to her, but she's pretty much gone off the deep end so the scene ends up being COMPLETELY POINTLESS.  Wanda goes to see Doc, telling him there IS a way to take a soul from a body without killing either. Why wouldn't she tell them this- oh, there's only fifteen minutes of movie left? Let's keep going! She will only tell him how on two conditions:

1.  No harm can come to any more souls
2.  He has to let her die when he removes her from Melanie

Later they are gathered around on unconscious Kruger in the office, Wanda saying they'll remove the soul and send it to another planet. Fuck those guys right? Not our problem! I love stories where the writers think of the gimmick first and then shoehorn a story in around it with no regard to how it plays out. Wanda reveals the secret to separation is to... oh God... coax the soul out with kindness.  Uh huh, don't even care anymore. Nothing this movie can do anymore can get under my skin. Hmm, why is the Foreshadowing Alert going off?  Wanda removed the soul from Kruger, putting it into a metal sunflower seed with Ian's help. Kruger wakes up, now a human again. They drive out to the weird energy field and put the seed in a beam of light, which shoots it into outer space. How do the beams- nah, not going there. Nice try though, movie!

Later everyone meets in the glow worm room, Wanda telling them she wanted to meet here so no one would shout. Remember this scene earlier? When Jamie showed her if you made a loud noise it'd startle the worms and the room would go dark for a few seconds? WHAT DOES IT MATTER IF ANYONE FUCKING SHOUTS, THE LIGHTS WILL COME BACK ON RIGHT AWAY?!  God, this script is just a wreck! She tells everyone she's leaving while Melanie screams in her head she wishes she could tell them she's really going to die. This whole scene is wrong, because sure it's a little sad but wouldn't Jared and Jamie want Melanie back rather than the soul they've only known for a couple of weeks tops?

Ian confronts Wanda in the wheat fields about wanting her to stay with him. He tells her he loves her- so Ian loves Wanda, eh? Based off of WHAT exactly? That time he almost choked her to death or, ummm... the time he gave her a bottle of lukewarm water? Suck it, Romeo and Juliet! This is a TRUE love story!  This is one of Meyer's biggest, and worst I might add, tropes: confusing physical lust for love. Ian has absolutely no reason to love Wanda but instead has every reason to hate her. But hey, she is a very attractive young woman and he is a guy that probably hasn't had sex in years so that's a good enough reason for love right? Not to pick on Meyer because SO MANY love stories are guilty of this, but her writing is such a prime offender.

Ian tells the alien that he loves her, and she returns his feelings but she's still leaving. They kiss, as Melanie has “stepped into the other room”. Stop trying to bait me movie, I'm done getting mad over this nightmare.  Wanda heads to Doc's, who tries to talk Wanda out of her plan. She tells him she wants to die, and if he'd lived over a millennium in the bodies of others he might feel the same way. As she lies down on the operating table, Melanie begs her not to go through with this but Wanda remains steadfast in her desire. They call each other sister and tell each other how much they love each other as they both say goodbye at the same time. Wanda closes her eyes, a single tear rolling down the side of her face.

The screen fades to black and cue the credits.

Holy hell, that was... I can't even think of a bad enough word. Abhorrent? I like abhorrent. Huh, why aren't the credits rolling yet? It's just a black screen. Did the blu-ray freeze up?  Oh there it goes, it's going to fade to some stylistic credits. Or not, the black screen lightens up to show us Jamie. Are they going to do one of those credit scenes where they show what happened to every character at the end of the movie? No, no credit text there. Now it's Ian, nodding like a total creeper at the camera.

And now there's Melanie without the glowy eyes. Oh, I get it! This is one of those movies that starts the outtakes right after the movie ends! The movie didn't have any opening credits, I guess it won't have any closing credits either. Wait, why did she just say “hello Wanda?” Why is this whole thing shot with a POV camera? Good God, why is she holding up a mirror? Then it happens, the LOWEST POINT OF THIS WHOLE TRAVESTY, we see the image of Wanda's new body looking in the mirror.



Wanda accuses Doc of breaking his word, but he explains everyone made him break it and keep her alive. Wanda tells him she didn't want to take another life, but Jeb gives us this gem:

We've been taking souls out of humans for a month now. But when we took the soul out of that body, she never woke up.”

Doc chimes in with: “The body was dying. The only way to save her was to put you inside.”

Melanie?  “You haven't killed a body, you've given it life.”

This appalling monstrosity FINALLY ends with a shot of Melanie and Jared outside in the rain kissing, while Wanda and Ian are kissing down below. What an AMAZING FUCKING COINCIDENCE the body they found for Wanda just happened to be super hot and sexually compatible with Ian, huh? You think he still would have loved her if the only body they had was a fat 50 year old man? Fuck this movie SO much.

Cue the credits.

WORST ENDING IN THE HISTORY OF EVER. I never EVER want to hear M. Night Shyamalan getting shit for his twist endings when this story now exists. This was- HOLY SHIT THE MOVIE STILL ISN'T DONE.  A title card informs us it's months later, as our four main characters are driving through a city when a bunch of seeker cars block them in. A seeker draws a gun, telling everyone to get out of the car and making them take off their sunglasses so he can check their eyes to see if they're human.

When he gets to Wanda he asks if she's their prisoner, but she takes Ian hand and replies that she's their friend. The seeker yells out “They're human! Human as you.” as it's revealed the rest of the seekers are actually humans led by Bokeem “The Man” Woodbine. FREAKING. AWESOME. This doesn't make up for the previous few minutes, but at least we're getting sent off in style.  Melanie says they thought they were the last humans, Woodbine replying that they thought the same until they found three others groups, and now four. The seeker looks at Wanda and says he thought he was the only one who switched sides, Wanda telling him “I guess you never know where you're going to find your home”.

The camera pans up to the stars as the movie TRULY, ACTUALLY, FOR REALSIES ends, set to “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons. It seems appropriate a movie like this ends with the most overplayed song of 2013.

Cue the credits. Sweet Merciful God, THANK YOU.

Up until the first fakeout ending, I had this whole piece written in my head about how I didn't totally hate this movie but after what they pulled, FUCK THAT. This deserves all the bashing and scorn it got, hell it probably didn't get enough. This was already a wretched love triangle story with some very demented and unfortunate undertones, it did NOT need the biggest fairy tale copout deus ex machina ending since the first Superman movie where he's all Why didn't I think of flying around the Earth really fast to travel back in time earlier?! DUH DOY!” 

This is film making at its utter and base worst: pandering and manipulative. It's really a textbook example that should be held up for all as how NOT to do anything. Virtually everything about it is wrong, the worst offender is by far the decision to have Melanie exist as an echoy voice over. It is SO bad, but then is made even worse with having her talk like some stereotypical Alpha Cheerleader type. Pretty much all of those scenes turn into unintentional comedy, especially any time Wanda is kissing one of the Clone Brothers.

The more you think about what's going on in the love polygon, the more you want to take a shower. Especially with any Wanda and Ian scene where Melanie starts screaming “no!” and yelling at them to stop, it's very disturbing. And knowing Meyer's takes on relationships, it's probably WORSE in the book.  This is also a very cheap looking film. It's something I could literally have walked into halfway through and thought I was watching a SyFy Channel Original Movie, it just has that “every piece is a set we're not going to even try to make look real” feel too it. This is a movie where being in High Definition hurts it, I found myself constantly taken out of scenes because of it.

This movie does have one saving grace though: Wanda was an extremely likeable lead most of the time and is the only thing that got me through the film. Isn't that AMAZING how something so simply like a character you give a damn about can help gloss over so many problems with a movie?  I find ironic that the same mind who created THE most vile, reprehensible character of the past few years could also create one of the most appealing ones. Admittedly, Wanda is probably way different in the book but here in the movie she's downright amiable.

ALL the credit for this goes to the actress Saoirse Ronan, with NONE of it going to the way she was written. I'm not familiar with her at all but reading her bio sounds like she's building quite the name for herself at only 20 years old. She took a HORRIBLY stereotypical character (the outsider who slowly wins over a group that hates her) and infused her with enough personality and mannerisms you found yourself rooting for her. I found this even more impressive her performance was able to overcome those goddamn glowing eyes they weighed her down with. It is SUCH a shame this much talent was wasted on something like this. 

Take her out of the picture though, and this ends up being one of the worst movies of the decade. There are so many pointless scenes of characters doing nothing, then it shifts to another character doing nothing, before cutting back to the first character STILL doing nothing. This is almost a two hour movie and boy are you aware of that by the midway point. This is yet ANOTHER movie where the entire world isn't explained in the slightest, there are so many questions I had about the aliens but I'm not going to do another round of 20 Questions, I'm just going to ask one single question:

How did the aliens take over Earth? They're just these tiny little caterpillars that can only enter a body through an incision in the base of the neck. How did they make these incisions when they first arrived on Earth without any bodies? Hell, more importantly, how did they even GET to Earth since their weird space travel rig wouldn't have been set up for them to land on Earth? How does that rig even work since their pods have no form of propulsion or navigation tools besides the beams of energy that launch them? Oh wait, that was more than one question but fuck it, let's keep going.

The souls came to Earth because they're colonizing as many worlds as they can, which is fine. But how are they reproducing to keep colonizing when they're bonded to their host? You can't tell me they have sex with their host bodies and the female gives birth to a caterpillar. Or is it just a set of the same souls with the population never growing? There's a few throwaway lines that maybe hint at this, but if that's the case why are they colonizing other worlds when one is all they'd ever need? It'd make sense if they end up destroying the world they invaded and keep needing new planets, but it clearly says in the beginning they FIX planets and make them complete utopias.

For this first time in my reviews, I doubt any of this is addressed in the book. I'm willing to be this is one of the more faithful book-to-movie adaptions EVER. God, that is depressing.  How did this end up scoring on the Twilight Meter?  Let's see... 

Step One. Start off with a completely bland boring uninteresting dark haired young woman who starts off as nothing special. She has to be a loner who only has one interest/hobby in her life.

Melanie certainly was bland and boring.  While not technically a loner because she had her little brother, her only interest was protecting him.  I'm counting this for a score of 1/7.

Step Two. She will have a single male best friend that she only thinks of “as a friend or like a brother”. He, of course, pines for her daily to love him like he secretly loves her.

While Jared was her best friend, he fast became her lover and made his intentions known for her right off the bat in the worst way possible.  No points awards for a score of 1/7.

Step Three. Have her suddenly become the most important person in the world through a combination of the supernatural, a hidden talent she didn't know she had, or an indomitable will.

Melanie was the center of the entire story and basically became the face of humanity, achieving this through her indomitable will that was able to overpower a thousand year old alien.  +1 point for a score of 2/7.

Step Four. Make sure she only has one parent, usually a mother but that's flexible. The other parent is gone either through divorce, death, or mysteriously vanishing when she was young.

Melanie's mother is never mentioned and her father has been long since dead.    No points awarded for a score of 2/7.

Step Five. Throw her into a Love Triangle with two men, one of whom is the aforementioned best friend she's known her entire life and the other an enigmatic stranger she instantly prefers. Bonus if the stranger is introduced saving her life.

It's a fucking Stephenie Meyer story!  The only thing that sucks is I can't add MORE points.  +1 for a score of 3/7.

Step Six. Add a villain. The villain isn't important at all so we don't need any kind of development for him. In fact, the more faceless and generic he is the better because that's just taking time away from the Love Triangle.

Why hello Seeker Diane Kruger!  +1 point for a score of 4/7.

Step Seven. Make sure whatever world changing events going on in the story are minimized so they can take a backseat to the Love Triangle. 

It's a fucking Stephenie Meyer story!  Why she even bothers with other stuff happening is beyond me.  +1 point for a score of 5/7. 

0: Congratulations! Your fictional world is so original and creative it's almost guaranteed it'll get ignored by mainstream audiences!

1 – 2: A very nice breath of fresh air, it was great to see a unique spin on well worn material.

3 – 4: I feel like I've seen this a million times already, and will see it a million more.

5 – 6: Seriously, why even bother making this when you should have just been working on new features for Twilight: The Tenth Anniversary Blu-Ray?

7: You should be expecting a call from Stephenie Meyer's lawyers ANY minute now.