An unknown alien being has taken over all of the human race except for a small collection of survivors. While on the run, Melanie and her brother are found by Jared, a lone survivor who has evaded capture. For a while, they survive away from civilization but decide they need to try to travel to meet up with her uncle. While hiding away in a building, the Seekers find Melanie and capture her after she fails to escape. With the alien soul in her body, Melanie has been replaced by Wanderer. Because of her strong will, Melanie remains alive but hidden in her own mind. Attempting to maintain a presence, she persuades Wanderer to escape the Seekers and try to find her uncle in the desert. Upon her return to the surviving humans, she is met with hostility and fear for her new condition and treated like a prisoner. Meanwhile, Terra the Seeker tries to locate Wanderer in order to take out the surviving humans.
Starring: Saoirse Ronan (Melanie/Wanda), Chandler Canterbury (Jamie Stryder), William Hurt (Jeb Stryder), Lee Hardee (Aaron), Alexandria Morrow (Soul), Jake Abel (Ian O’Shea), Frances Fisher (Maggie Stryder), Scott Lawrence (Doc), Phil Austin (Charles), Boyd Holbrook (Kyle O’Shea), Max Irons (Jared Howe), Diane Kruger (Terra the Seeker), Rachel Roberts (Soul Fleur)
Playing a split personality, Saoirse Ronan had to represent both a fighting spirit and a curious soul. There are times that she seems to break the soul’s peaceful and honest ways, but there may be some elements from the book that are not clearly explained in the film. Max Irons is the typical frustrated and brooding character reacting to the change in Ronan’s character. William Hurt is probably the best of the cast with his protective and thoughtful presence in the space hidden in the mountains. Diane Kruger exhibits strong determination but also seems a little inconsistent with her his conflict between mind and soul.
Adapting Stephanie Meyer’s hit novel, Andrew Niccol looked to be the next contributor to the teenage market with this sci-fi love story. Melanie’s personality had always been a strong one that seemed to help her survival after the Souls and Seekers took control of the Earth. Even after captured, her strength of mind helped her survived in the depths of her being, even with Wanderer in control of her body. Though she was able to take split second control over her body at times, she also was locked out of majority control and unable to actually communicate with the world around her. Even when she was able to meet up with the surviving humans, she struggled to be accepted and had to earn the trust of the people. While in the caverns, Wanderer stumbled upon Doc’s experiments to try to extract the Souls from humans, causing her to further question her species invasion of the planet.
Attempting to adapt this story seemed to only be a half effort. The story was mildly entertaining but seemed to be lacking true excitement, suspense and true care for the characters. While the film attempted to create a sense of sorrow for Melanie’s condition, it seems to easily lose itself between this sense and the conflict Wanderer feels for her situation. Meanwhile, the infusion of the love triangle and the acceptance by the surviving humans just feels lackluster, with only brief moments of conflict and bipolar moments. It seems extremely odd that a character would go from attempting to strangle an “intruder” to falling in love with her less than a day later. The film also seemed to be confused about Terra’s motivation for hunting down Wanderer, particularly since the inner conflict with the human spirit was almost absent save for a few brief comments.
The film is not going to fill the void of the end of other teenage dramas but has moments where it is more enjoyable. The concept could have been executed much better and may be the victim of the turbulent fluctuation of its director’s commitment to the project.
Dan’s Rating: 2.5/5