This Week In Home Entertainment: Admission, Spring Breakers, The Host And More
The Host Blu-ray
Stephanie Meyer does one thing really well. She tells open and honest love stories with enough complication to keep them interesting, and it’s these relationships that have kept audiences flocking to her literature over the past several years. However, with The Host, the writer mashes her love story with unimaginative science fiction tropes and frames it all under a convoluted storyline that only shows how little she understands world building or writing complicated characters. It’s even worse on film.
I mention the novel because many of the problems with Andrew Niccols’ The Host stem directly from the way the novel was written. The tale is a fairly simple one. Sometime in the future a set of aliens will come to Earth. The aliens are an invasive species that eventually take humans as hosts. Most of the time when this happens, the alien is able to completely take over the brain of the human, but every now and again, a human will fight back.
This brings us to Saoirse Ronan’s character, Wanda, an alien still living with a human named Melanie fighting within her head. Eventually, the two sort of reach a point of amicable companionship and Wanda moves to live with some humans hiding out in the desert. She begins to experience feelings and falls into a complicated love triangle with Jared (Max Irons) and Ian (Jake Abel). The basic premise is serviceable enough and Ronan does well at playing two characters living in one body. She’s schizophrenic and weird and differentiates the young woman and the alien enough that her performance is actually decent. But, as I’ve been hinting so far, there are some major problems, including that the male characters who for the most part are unrealistic and the duel existence of Wanda and Melanie who both need their own voice.
While poor Irons and Abel don’t bring much to the table other than to show anger and affection in different moments, Ronan has her work cut out for her playing two characters. Unfortunately, the way that The Host is set up means that Niccols has to use voice overdubs whenever Melanie is talking. This means Wanda is often agitated and talking to herself onscreen. It’s meant to be dark and serious, but these moments are often arduous to get through or uncharacteristically comical. The problems the book created for the film are numerous and with a subpar plot, The Host is never particularly engrossing or likeable.
You can order The Host over at Amazon. Best Special Feature: The Host’s disc has a really nice setup and the movie looks great on Blu-ray. The extras on the disc are a little more sparse, but I did enjoy the “Seeker PSA” that seems to have been part of viral marketing efforts for the movie and that urges the host race of aliens to embark on a journey to Earth.
Other Special Features:
“Bringing The Host To Life”
Feature Commentary with Meyer, Niccol, and Producer Nick Wechsler
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