THE HOST Blu-ray Review

     August 26, 2013

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Whether you’re part of the Twilight craze or not, it’s difficult to escape the world-wide phenomenon and not take notice of the names that brought the series to life.  Such is the case of writer Stephenie Meyer, who after skyrocketing to fame due to the immense popularity of the series, is still very much a household name even when her projects don’t include bloodsuckers and naive 17-year-old girls.  It’s not a stretch to assume that her previous repertoire was the basis for bringing her 2008 sci-fi novel The Host to the big screen earlier this year.  Unlike her previous work, The Host is a mixture of science fiction and romance that essentially explores the idea of two separate identities in one body.  While the narrative portrayal had its flaws, the subject-matter made the story gripping and entertaining.  Hit the jump for my review of The Host on Blu-ray.

Feature

the-host-blurayAfter an introduction about how the Earth became invaded by an alien species called Souls, there really is no build up to the film.  The story starts off with a chase, a runaway by the name of Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan) is desperately attempting to escape the grasp of the Seeker — a Soul assigned to track down humans who have yet to be implanted with alien life form.  In a way, it’s a smart way to keep the viewer engrossed as it prompts various questions that you can only get answered by continuing to watch the film.  Everything starts off great but then the storytelling takes a bizarre turn that at times made it difficult for me to take seriously.

While I understand that voiceover was necessary to depict a difference between the two identities — Melanie and Wanda — that comprised Ronan’s character, listening to it was almost comical.  Ronan has proven she’s a bright and talented actress time and time again but there was something off about the voiceover narrative.  She pulled it off magnificently in The Lovely Bones, so I was very let down by the way it was handled in this film.  There were times where I didn’t buy her reactions and pleads, the lack of emotion in her voice made Melanie sound more like an alien than the Souls themselves.  Another thing that worried me for a bit was the use of so many flashbacks.  The first half of the film consistent heavily of memories, which made me wonder when — if ever — I was actually going to see those characters in the film.

As the story progresses, the voiceovers are less dominant and the introduction of other characters produce an intertwined storyline that gives the film its compelling edge.  The invasion and the threatening alien race encompass the science fiction world these characters live in, but the romance aspect is what makes the story heartwarming, dramatic, and highly amusing.  If you’re a sucker for love triangles, then you’ll love this film — mainly because the equation has a +1, essentially making it a love square.  Overall, The Host isn’t just suspenseful and sad but also surprisingly funny.  It’s also worth noting that having not read the book, the ending took me for a loop.

Extras

the-host-max-irons-saoirse-ronanDeleted Scenes (2 min.)

  • Four deleted scenes that didn’t make the cut.  Once you watch them, you’ll realize why they weren’t necessary in the first place.

Bringing The Host To Life (7 min.)

  • The stars and creators give a behind the scenes look at the film.  Author Stephenie Meyer talks about how she came up with the idea for the novel, the casting process for the film and the chemistry between the actors.  The featurette also includes short snippets of Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons, Jake Abel, Diane Kruger, and Production Designer Andy Nicholson as they discuss their contributions to the characters and the film.

Seeker PSA (1 min.)

  • A promotional video for the film in the form of a PSA that explains why the alien race decided to colonize Earth and why everyone should join the movement.

Feature Commentary

  • Author/Producer Stephenie Meyer, Screenwriter/Director Andrew Niccol and Producer Nick Wechsler accompany you in the journey and give insights into the process of bringing the film together.  It’s a nice treat for those fans who are eager to learn more about the creative process and listen to the creators explain movie magic as well as character dynamics.
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