What Defines our Essence?

The Earth is healed, there is no conflict, everyone trusts one another; it is not the human races’ Earth anymore. In the film The Host, almost everyone on the planet has had their body occupied by an alien soul from another planet. The excitement starts when 21 year old Melanie, who has been running from the invasion for years, gets caught and is invaded by an alien soul who is called “Wanderer.” Inside Melanie’s body, Wanderer uses Melanie’s memories to tell the Seeker where to find Melanie’s family so the Seeker can hunt down and invade the rest of the human race. However, Melanie’s consciousness is still in her body and she tries to fight back against her invader to regain control of her body. Melanie is eventually able to get Wanderer to feel sympathy for the human race and Melanie’s family. Conflict arises at the point when Wanderer arrives at the place where Melanie’s family and the remaining humans are hiding. The humans don’t realize that Melanie’s consciousness is still in there, all they see is her body with a parasitic host within it. At the same time the Seeker is on the hunt to find Wanderer and the remaining humans.

The visuals and sounds of the film do a great job of making you feel like you are truly in a world that has been taken over by aliens. It was evident that a human body was invaded because they all had the same glowing bright blue eyes. The alien souls were portrayed as glowing electricity like structures which gives you a sense of how these invasions worked. A small cut would be made in a humans’ neck and the glowing alien’s soul would flow into the cut which allowed for the alien to take over the human body. The technical element of the film did a great job of making everything seem very realistic (almost as if it this sort of invasion could truly happen to us). The aliens had high tech medicine and shiny silver cars which portrayed a typical alien futuristic world, but it was nothing so drastic that it made the world seem unreal. This aspect of the film sets it apart from other alien invasion films like Edge of Tomorrow where the battle scenes look very unrealistic and the aliens are portrayed as some type of hideous monster.

Melanie’s voice can be heard by the viewers as she is talking within Wanderer’s head which serves to give us a sense of how there are two different souls occupying one body and the struggle that goes with that (some people carry on argumentative dialogue in their mind so this is a realatable concept).

Several aspects that make the human race special is the fact that we are driven by our emotions and the power of love. The strength of the love Melanie had for her family and boyfriend (Jason) is what allowed Melanie to fight her invasion and have a strong influence on Wanderer. Having access to Melanie’s memories and listening to what Melanie was telling her, Wanderer eventually began to feel emotions for herself and even fell in love with a human named Ian. It is interesting because the more sympathy and emotions Wanderer has and feels, the more she is liked by the humans. This serves as proof that the human race is defined by the fact that we have emotions.

The film was originally written as a book by author Stephanie Meyer, who wrote the very popular series Twilight. In the film, Melanie is played by Saoirse Ronan, who is a two time Academy Award nominee and has received many other nominations and awards for acting. The film combines science fiction, thriller, and romantic aspects to it which caters to a large group of viewers.

An interesting love triangle takes place because Melanie is in love with Jason and Wanderer is in love with Ian. Naturally this doesn’t work out well since both are trapped in the same body. This is a common theme that is also evident in Romeo and Juliet as well as in Twilight where Bella and Edward couldn’t be together because Edward is a vampire.

When the aliens arrived on Earth, their goal was to invade all humans and they were scared to leave any uninvaded, as though they believed that people from different origins cannot coexist peacefully. That is how our society used to be and still is to a certain degree today. As Americans, many if us believe that people of different race, culture, religion etc., can’t peacefully live with us and share the same resources as us. We tend to deal with this by making people leave or forcing them to assimilate into our culture and ways. We certainly aren’t physically taking over someone’s body like the aliens in the film, but the alien invasion concept serves as a metaphor for how Americans tend to enjoy taking over others and forcing them to do things their way because they believe it is the better way. Learning how to feel sympathy towards others and dealing with issues in nonviolent ways helped the characters in the film and is something that should be mirrored by us.

I personally enjoyed how the film brings up the question of what defines you as you. Are you defined by your actions? Are you defined by your thoughts? Are you defined by the way you look? When Wanderer finds Melanie’s family and the other humans, they all struggle trying to decide what they think of her. She looks like Melanie and eventually acts like Melanie, however they know that it is not truly her.

While this film was very entertaining, the solution provided at the end of the film doesn’t seem to offer a very ethical solution. At the end of the film, there were a couple of aliens and humans that ended up becoming friends. It is great that they found a way to live together peacefully, but it still doesn’t fix the fact that the aliens stole a human’s body. No matter how likable the aliens may have been, it doesn’t forgive the fact that they stole the body and the life of a human. The ending seemed to take the easy way out.

The film suggests that a dying human will not die if an alien soul enters their body. I believe that a more satisfactory ending would have been if all the aliens would have left their hosts’ bodies and would only be allowed to enter the bodies of those who were dying. The concept of a “reusable” body is strange but would make for a more interesting and moral ending.