In the future, hunger, violence and money have disappeared. Lying is unthinkable. And stealing - from the place where one acquires one's every need, a building labeled "Store" - is pointless.
Humanity has been "perfected,"thanks to the aliens. They came, they moved in - not just onto the planet, but into our bodies. And now, the human race is all but extinct, our bodies governed by seemingly benign conquerors.
But Melanie (Saoirse Ronan) is resistant to this body snatching. She debates and wars with the old soul, "Wanderer," who has invaded her most personal space - her mind. Melanie wants to shake free of these alien bonds, to find her younger brother, her boyfriend (Max Irons) and the resistance movement they've run off to join.
That's the world of "The Host," Stephenie Meyer's "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" follow-up to "Twilight." On screen, it's just another chaste, action-starved and absurdly talky action romance. And it has to be. Most of the movie is a heated argument that takes place inside poor Melanie's head.
The action beats - chases, hunts, fights and shootouts - are few and far between here. Too many characters (William Hurt is Uncle Jeb, patriarch of the resistance) have to spend too much time on exposition. The leads generate little heat and the look-alike lads try to figure out if it's Melanie or the sympathetic alien who took over her bod that makes her irresistible to the resistance.
The film's slack pace allows us to ponder Meyer's ever-present big themes - body image, guilt, free will, right and wrong as it relates to groupthink.
That makes for a meandering, misshapen film where big ideas stolen from "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" fail to ignite because the sparks are smothered in tedium, the romance drowned out by all the arguing going on in that confused girl's head.