The Host (PG-13) BUY THE:Poster!
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The latest screen adaptation of a Stephenie Meyer romantic young adult bestseller points up her most curious approach to genre: take creepy concepts and then completely suck out any element of real danger from them. In the Twilight"saga," there were glowing vampires and werewolves-next-door; in The Host, it's alien body snatchers--whom, one Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan) comes to discover, she can actually learn to relate to and peacefully co-exist with in the same physical person. But then the genre trappings are mere glossing for what in the Twilight series was a tried-and-true soapy triangle, and now in The Host a soap quadrangle between Melanie, her invading alien entity "Wanda," and two guys (Max Irons and Jake Abel) among the non-inhabited-humans fighting for the planet's freedom from extraterrestrial enslavement. Ronan gives her all in the dual role; her leadingmen and the rest of the cast (which also include a fairly underused Diane Kruger as the main "villainous" face) work hard to lend some interest to their respective roles; and director Andrew Niccol has whatever old school fun with the more overt sci-fi touches he can bring to the piece (hello, immaculate jumpsuits and sleek chrome gadgetry!), but they are at the mercy of Meyer (who, unlike with the Twilight films, serves as a producer) and her source material, which, as with her previous "saga," is catnip for the cooing teen female set but far less engaging and rewarding for anyone else.