Sci-fi, 125 Minutes, 2013
This really wasn’t such a bad idea but tell me, Stephanie Meyer fans, does every single, blessed thing she writes involve a blank, emotionless girl in a love triangle? Is it a new genre, like Dub Step or dinosaur porn, that I’ve just been blissfully unaware of?
The blank girl here is one of the last true humans left on Earth after an invasion by a parasitic species, called “souls”, that’s convinced it’s doing humanity a favor by bringing peace and harmony to our world. She’s captured and inhabited by a empathetic alien newcomer whom she convinces to help her return to her family. There, the alien is forced to learn about humans and a two-dimensional geometric figure formed of three sides (and love) is created between her and two brooding hair-dos.
Like most teenie-bopper chow, the story is pretty simple but not without some merit. As a finicky aside, the character names are ridiculous. The main character is “Melanie Stryder” and the “soul” that inhabits her is “Wander” (later shortened in a forced bonding moment to “Wanda”). Other souls are named “Fleur” (Flower), “Anshu” (Sunbeam) and “Nafisa” (Gem). The main bad-gal is called just “The Seeker” even though there seem to be a lot of other seekers and they all seem to have names. Giving credit where credit is due, there’s nothing as ridiculous as “Cypher Raige“, but that’s small praise.
The plot progresses exactly where you expect it to. Namely down “Humans are so much more awesome than all the other races we’ve found; perhaps we can even learn from them!” street. The movie then ends two-times too many. We’re first given a rather touching, surprisingly beautiful ending that fades out gracefully on a single tear… which is then replaced by an asinine, overly-saccharine ending that redeems itself slightly by posing an interesting question to the audience as it fades away… which is then answered immediately by the final, completely unnecessary ending.
It’s as if the movie is apologizing for – almost – forcing us to think. For – nearly – making us consider broader questions of loss, morality, freedom and consequence in a world made small by the encroaching vastness of the universe. Instead, it just tells us that we’re awesome and pretty people always get what they want in the end. Whew!