The Host

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(2013)

Channel 4: Saturday 12 December, 1.10am

The Earth of the future is, at last, a perfect world. Because aliens are running the planet, from inside human bodies. The tell-tale sign is shiny turquoise contact lenses. Saoirse Ronan fights the force but don’t expect any of the biting satire or exciting action of John Carpenter’s Reagan-era classic, They Live.

This is a ‘soulful’ sci-fi soap by Twilight author Stephenie Meyer, whose first misstep was in naming her 2008 novel by appropriating the title of the great South Korean monster movie The Host which, as recently as 2006, carved out a niche for itself every bit as memorable as They Live. Meyers’ limp Host simply dissipates into a different kind of Twilight zone.

Even Antonio Pinto’s music can’t seem to summon up much enthusiasm for the novelettish events, which are rendered just as drearily as Kirsten Dunst’s sci-fi flop, Upside Down. And it’s certainly no improvement upon Gattaca director Andrew Niccol’s previous sci-fi picture, In Time, which for all its faults did not drag on up to the two-hour mark.

Diane Kruger is the Seeker (a role reportedly turned down by Claire Danes, Eva Green and Hayley Atwell), Saoirse Ronan is the Wanderer. And the Bronx-born, County Carlow raised Irish actress could use some guidance. The star of Atonement, The Lovely Bones, Byzantium, Hanna, How I Live Now and Lost River, she keeps appearing in supposed ‘prestige’ pictures with mediocre scripts. Going by the reviews, Saoirse’s new film Brooklyn promises to be something special. Better than The Host at any rate.

Certificate: 12

Duration: 130min

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