You’d hardly call Melanie Stryder the hostess with the mostest. That’s because, in The Host, based on Twilight series’ author Stephenie Meyer’s novel, an alien race called the Souls has “colonized” earthlings into submissives by implanting into their bodies an alien soul. In this futuristic society, most of the few pockets of remaining humans who are captured go gently into that good night when they become a host to their captor. But not Melanie (Saoirse Ronan). The conqueror’s endorsement of Neptunian merging – your-body-our-soul and blotting out the human’s ego – really rubs her the wrong way. So does the Souls’ refusal to honor Saturnine boundary issues.
Captured by the ruling enforcers while trying to protect her kid brother Jamie (Chandler Canterbury), Melanie gets her neck slit to allow the entry of a mass of these luminous soulful swirls – they’re a cross between slo-mo sperm and enoki mushrooms. In other words, Melanie’s body has been co-opted by another entity who speaks, as “Wanderer,” in haltingly. monosyllabic. words. Wanderer’s mission is to scavenge the real Melanie’s memory to learn where the other humans – including her boyfriend Jared (Max Irons) – are hiding out.
But spunky Melanie refuses to be put down. Instead, we hear her talking, pleading and negotiating with her new mistress Wanderer, while trying to keep tabs on a Seeker (Diane Kruger), another enforcer out to capture the escaped Melanie-Wanderer. Essentially, the audience witnesses a debate about freedom vs. subjugation, good vs. evil, and other polarities, carried out through two girls’ voices emanating from one body. And, from the vantage point of Wanderer, it’s like having a really loud roommate.
Director Andrew Niccol’s refreshingly describes the archetypal duality of victim-savior, another Neptunian trait. Each entity occupying Melanie’s body – the Wanderer’s soul and Melanie herself – believes she can “save” and redeem the other, with Melanie doing her utmost to not let victimhood get the better of her. And, as the story winds down, and Wanderer has been humanized into Wanda, Neptune’s boundless compassion jumps to the fore as each solidifies her identity (Saturn) and what she truly stands for.
Astrology Film Rating: ♆♄ (Neptune, Saturn)