HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Host
HTS Overall Score:72.5
It was pretty much a matter of time before Stephanie Meyer’s latest novel made its way onto the big screen, what with the influx of money that her previous novels made for the studios. Honestly, I’m surprised it took them this long. I was intrigued by “The Host” since I had heard that it was Stephanie’s attempt at a more “mature” and “adult” novel. I wasn't expecting the world, but I wasn’t expecting what I saw, either. Anyone who has read my reviews knows that I tend to see the good in most movies; even if I don’t particularly care for a movie, I can see past the flaws and expound on its redeeming features. Unfortunately, what we have here is a bad movie with only a FEW redeeming aspects to the film. If this is Stephanie’s attempt at a more “adult” story, then I am not impressed. It honestly felt like Twilight with Aliens and Humans instead of Vampires and Werewolves.
Sometime in the future, it seems that there is no poverty, no famine, no war, only peace. The environment is at peace with humanity and there seems to be no conflict of any kind. The only problem is that this is a forced peace. It seems that a race of parasitic aliens have invaded earth and used our human bodies as hosts, completely obliterating the human consciousness and replacing it with their own. Humans who have not been infected with the Go-auld ….errrrrrrrrrrr.. Parasite are dwindling fast and are at the verge of extinction. Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan) is one such human. Charged with protecting her little brother Jaimie (Chandler Canterbury) and her boyfriend Jared (Max Irons) she struggles to survive in the face of this invasion. As is the case with invasions like these, she is eventually caught and has an alien consciousness implanted into herself as well. The only problem is that Melanie is not giving up without a fight. Instead of being suppressed, she fights back, giving her new alien master a run for its money. As time goes on, her new mental companion, strangely named Wanderer, starts to feel and understand the kind of pain that Melanie and others like her are enduring. Running away from the rest of her kind, Wanderer and Melanie find shelter with the only people she thinks might still be alive, her eccentric uncle Jeb (William Hurt) and his band of merry men.
Those who seek will find, and find the surviving humans they do. The only problem is that the humans don’t know that Melanie is actually alive, trapped as a prisoner in her own body. Melanie/Wanderer not only have to win their trust, but show that Wanderer is not the same as the others. To make matters worse, the young girl is being chased by a Seeker (alien version of a policeman) who will stop at nothing to squash the human resistance and take Wanderer back into the fold. If that wasn’t enough, Wanderer starts developing feelings for one of the other young men in the camp creating a sort of love triangle between Wanderer/Melanie, Jared and this new gentlemen. With the Seekers closing in on every side, the humans have to find a way to push back against their oppressors and it looks like Wanderer/Melanie is their only hope.
Now the idea of “The Host’ is rather intriguing, albeit done before. A sort of mix between “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and “They Live” with a romantic twist. The problem is the handling of the material. The script was just butchered from the get go. There were so many times that I was wincing at lines being said that NO ONE in their right mind would say. The delivery was choppy and the humor was reminiscent of middle school type of wit. Again, it doesn’t help your cause when everyone looks like a 17 year old Abercrombie and Fitch model. That tends to limit your acting choices to pretty young people who actually can barely deliver a line, and unfortunately that’s what we have here. The only real shining lights in this film are Diane Kruger (the Seeker) and William Hurt (Uncle Jeb). Diane Kruger plays the cold, relentless role of seeker rather well, and seems out of place amidst the other untried actors. The same goes for William Hurt. Every time that he appears on screen he shines so much brighter than the other characters that it’s painfully obvious how out-classed the others are.
Although the film is reminiscent of the “Twilight” series in tone and demographic, it does have the plus of Melanie and the others seem since and sweet, rather than “nails on a chalkboard” insipid that Bella and Edwards portrayed. There was many a time where you truly see the struggle between the young girl and the ancient alien parasite’s minds at play. Wanderer seemed a bit immature for a thousand year old alien, but it wasn’t too wildly distracting.
Rated PG-13 for some sensuality and violence
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=12018[/img]As with the film itself the 2.35:1 AVC encode is just above average. The picture carries a very solid amount of detail and even the long shots look pretty good. There’s a slight film of softness over the picture and that tends to drag the detail down from phenomenal to just above average. Facial detail is a bit better, but still nothing that’s going to make you marvel in awe. Black levels are decent and inky for the most part, but there is a bit of washed out blacks going on here and that tends to make the dark scenes look a bit grey at times. As a result shadow detail can be lost. The film is VERY dark and tends to have that grey tinge applied for most of the film. Colors are a bit muted at times and sticks to a rather grungy yellow and blue look for the majority of the movie. Overall, it’s not a bad transfer, but due to the low budget and dark filming it can be a bit bland for those of us who want demo worthy film transfers.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=12019[/img]The audio track was just about as good as the video track was. Giving us a 5.1 DTS-HD MA track, “The Host” is extremely competent on all fronts. The dialogue is clean and locked right up front with minimal panning effects. Dynamic range is very solid, giving us full access to both dialogue and auditory effects without having us shift the volume up and down to hear what’s going on. The surrounds are alive with a myriad of sounds, ranging from the soft crunch of a footstep to the rumbling sounds of a car chase careening across the interstate. LFE is a bit restrained, but there wasn’t a whole lot of room for it to flex its muscles anyways. The film isn’t a sonic powerhouse by any means, but it gives an excellent “otherworldly” tone to the film’s ambience. Solid and excellent on most fronts It’s credit to the sound designers.
• Deleted Scenes
• Bringing "The Host" To Life
• Seeker PSA
I’d like to say that “The Host” was a decent film with some flaws, but that’s sadly not the case. Ham fisted directing mixed with a juvenile plot leads to only one result, and “The Host” does so at a pondering 2 hour and 5 minute pace. A bit over long and overly aimed at tween girls, it definitely will not win any academy awards. I do have to say that those who are a fan of “Twilight”, “Beautiful Creatures” and the like very well may enjoy this one, since it is much of the same fare. The rest of movie-going public may wish to skip it, though. A definite pass/rental at the most except for fans of the above mentioned movies.
Starring: Rachel Roberts, Shyaam Karra, Diane Kruger, William Hurt
Directed by: Andrew Niccol
Written by: Andrew Niccol
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Studio: Universal Studios
Runtime: 125 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: July 9th, 2013
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