Commentary

March 1, 2013

Fly Over: ‘The Host’, ‘Super 8’

In theaters:

The_Host

In bookstores….

‘The Host’

Alien parasites take over human race

I know what you are all thinking … not another story by Stephanie Meyer where a girl crushes on a vampire, a werewolf crushes on the same girl and the girl chooses the vampire in the end.
I promise this book has no vampires or werewolves in it, but there is a strange love triangle involving a man, a young girl and an alien. By the way, the girl and alien share the same body.
I read this book about three years ago after I heard that Meyer wrote an adult novel. I decided to read the book again when I saw the trailer of the soon-to-be major motion picture.
I have to admit that I did enjoy the Twilight saga and was a little wary reading a novel that involved a science fiction/romance, but after reading a few chapters, I became addicted.
“The Host” is a novel about how earth has been invaded by an alien species, known as Souls, that takes over the mind and body of their human hosts.
Melanie Stryder, one of the last free humans alive, goes on a raid to gather food for her and her brother, Jamie. During her raid, she meets Jared Howe, another free human. Surprised to hear there are other humans alive and because of the need to survive, they stay together and fall in love.
Then Melanie sees her cousin on TV and decides to go to Chicago alone to find her. While searching for her cousin in an abandoned building, Melanie is chased by a group of Souls called Seekers, whose main purpose is to search out free humans.
To avoid being captured, Melanie throws herself down an elevator shaft nearly killing herself.
The Seekers take her body back to Healers, aka doctors, and after a few days they insert the Soul called Wanderer into Melanie’s body.
Wanderer wakes up to find herself in a new host body but to her surprise, Melanie has not faded away in consciousness and in fact has put up walls in her mind to prevent the findings of her loved ones.
As time passes, Wanderer is constantly bombarded with memories of Jared and Jamie and she soon finds herself developing a love for them and is torn between all the emotions and her loyalty to her own species. With the trust of Melanie, they embark on a journey to find them in the desert.
After days of wandering (no pun intended), Wanderer and Melanie have no luck finding the hideout and pass out due to dehydration. They wake up to the discovery that Melanie’s Uncle Jeb found them and brought them back to a cave where everyone has been hiding, including Jared and Jamie.
Now you will have to read the book to find out how Wanderer, who later is nicknamed Wanda, deals with Melanie, Jared, Jamie and another boy named Ian and how she chooses the humans over her own alien race.
For those who downloaded the e-book version, check to see if you have the bonus chapter. I don’t want to spoil anything so you will have to read the book to see why this bonus chapter was a great addition to the novel.
 
…..and also in stores
 

Super-8

‘Super 8’

A welcome reminder of childhood … at first
At first, “Super 8” seemed like a movie I was going to have a hard time following.
The film, directed by J.J. Abrams, begins in Lillian, Ohio, in 1979, with a dose of sadness as the main character, teenager Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney), attends a funeral for his mother who passed away in a tragic factory accident.
An unwelcome guest gets thrown out of the funeral by the town sheriff, Joe’s father Jack (Kyle Chandler). That guest ends up playing a major role in the plot, but not until you’ve almost forgotten about him.
As the story moves along, we are introduced to all of Joe’s friends including Charles Kaznyk (Riley Griffiths), his best friend and aspiring film director. Charles sets the entire plot in motion when he gets an idea to film a zombie scene in his latest film at an abandoned train station.
They set up the scene, and as the cast and crew interact, the viewer is witness to well acted moments of tenderness in a blossoming puppy-love romance between Joe and Alice Dainard (Elle Fanning), both turning in noteworthy performances, and truly convincing performances by Joe’s other friends as well.
Before I knew it, the almost melancholy tone of the movie turned extremely serious and threatening.
As the teens focus on their film making, they become distracted by a white pick-up truck driving fast toward them. To add to the spellbinding suspense of the moment, there’s also a fast approaching train heading right toward the truck, which has stopped on the tracks and places the teens in grave danger.
The train strikes the vehicle, causing a massive derailment. With cargo and metal swirling out of control in every direction, Joe and his gang are forced to run, duck and cover.
I’m not going to say exactly what happens after the accident, but it sends Joe’s entire town into a frenzy of fear.
A mysterious chain of events including disappearances and murders begin to motivate Joe and his friends to investigate.
As they recall the events of the evening of the train wreck, they remember the camera was rolling throughout the entire ordeal and soon discover a scene has been recorded that adds even more mystery and fear.
Soon the town is overrun by military folks who have more than an idle interest in the train wreck and the strange happenings in the town.
It seems the only people fully aware of what’s happening in the small town are those in the U.S. Air Force. They have plenty of questions but are unconcerned with answering the questions of the sheriff. They want to know what the teens saw but demand that they stay clear of anything to do with the incident.
But, in the end, it’s the teens who are able to save the day.
I found this film to not only be wildly entertaining (and I expect nothing less from Abrams and producer Steven Spielberg), but also a film that will make any member of the military, past or present, think.
Some may say the film portrays the Air Force as the bad guy, but I’m not sure I would agree. What I will say is this is way too suspensful of a movie to give away any more than I already have.
I would definitely suggest taking the time to see “Super 8.” It was entertaining, visually stunning and exceeded my expectations.
This film is rated PG-13.




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