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Host

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Alright, try so Host is written by Stephenie Meyer of the Twlight Saga fame. Yes, the Twilight where Edward the Vampire made Bella and millions of other teen girls go weak at the knees. Eddie, find Bella and the Jacob (the werewolf guy) formed a love triangle in that film series.

Now Host, a 2013 science fiction movie, also features a multiple love equation, between an alien, a woman and two men. Is the alien female, I hear you ask. Yes, she is, at least her mind is. You ask again, how can an alien mind be male or female? Next question, please!

Earth has been taken over by alien entities called Souls. They have taken all our human bodies and replaced them with their own ‘souls’. The eyes of the soul-occupied humans take on a striking appearance, like that of the corona of the sun during an eclipse. But the mind of one female rebel, Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan), refuses to be erased from her body. She speaks to Wanderer, the alien soul occupying her body, who hears Melanie’s voice in its head.

After Wanderer loses control over Melanie, the Seeker (a kind of Soul Cop, played by Diane Kruger) decides to transfer herself into Melanie’s body, to gain information and hunt down Melanie’s family. Melanie gets Wanderer to escape into a desert where ‘they’ are caught by her uncle Jeb and his group of refugees living in a subterranean cave.

Melanie’s boyfriend Jared Howe (Max Irons) is among the cave colony, but the Wanderer gets the hots for Ian O’Shea (Jake Abel), so there you have a foursome in the making!

I reckon this is what a pair of female Siamese twins would be encountering if both got married, to two separate men, of course. “Could Melanie go out of the room for a while, please,” asks Ian, who wants some lovey-shmovey time with Wanda, as she is now called.

The plot thickens, people get more schizo, the Seekers get out their chromed bikes, helicopters and cars and go chasing the poor humans all over the place. Amazing how chrome, concrete and silver lycra suits are the decor of choice for all aliens who choose to colonise earth. Ever think that a Martian might fancy some lacy curtains or bellbottomed pants?

The aliens are benevolent parasites, they erase the aggressiveness of humans and walk about like really nice people. When a human rebel hijacks a car, its Soul-human owner says very helpfully, “This is an extremely reliable model. The tank is full.” The excessive and mandatory ‘goodness’ of the aliens makes you feel good that we humans are sometimes bad to the bone!

The film begs the question (and so does the Tom Cruise starrer ‘Oblivion’) ? If even a faint vestige of a human’s memory remains in a cloned or occupied body, is the human still in there? Memory constitutes an integral part of human identity. Take away memory, and voila, that human is gone!

Stephenie Meyer and her director Andrew Niccol may have tried to create a sci-fi avatar of Twilight, replacing vampires and wolves with humans and aliens. The mood is soft, with guitar plucking and chillout music all over the soundtrack. But a sense of sadness pervades the movie, a melancholy that does not allow you to escape the basic question of what it means to be human.

Questions do pop up. If the aliens are so high tech, why can’t they detect the humans living in the cave, considering they emerge every now and then to collect supplies from the local mart?

How does an alien soul find a human soul attractive? Is attraction only sexual? Are there other kinds of intra-species attractions in this cosmos? Can I marry a Martian and have babies with her, or it? I’m not very sure about all these vexing issues. As one of the predictable lines of the film says? I’m still in two minds.

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