The Host" fails as sci-fi, offering little beyond great AV quality on Blu-ray.
Disc Release Date:
'The Host' on Blu-ray dazzles with its exceptional 1080p encode, boasting vivid, detailed visuals that blend filmic beauty with high-tech clarity, from lifelike textures to rich contrasts, without significant flaws.
Universal's DTS-HD Master Audio track excels with clear dialogue and strong LFE output, creating a moody ambience despite underwhelming action scenes. The soundtrack, full of clarity and enveloping effects, enhances the film's character-driven drama, despite minor low-end activity.
Stephenie Meyer and team offer a dull, self-praising commentary and extras for 'The Host,' including trivial deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes content that fails to excite.
The Host fails as a Twilight successor and sci-fi thriller, criticized for its vapid plot, poor pacing, and unexplored themes, despite its potential utopian premise turned dystopian narrative.
Universal's Blu-ray presentation of "The Host" features an outstanding 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode, which expertly maintains the film's intended visual identity, deftly balancing between a realistic and an otherworldly aesthetic. The cinematography by Roberto Schaefer is brought to life with sun-drenched hues, true-to-life skin tones, and rich, deep black levels that all contribute to a visually striking dystopian world. The attention to detail is particularly commendable; from the crisp delineation and fine textures to the ice-cast alien eyes and the glowing Souls, every element is rendered with clarity and precision. The video quality consistently avoids significant issues such as artifacting, banding, aliasing, or ringing, making for a clean and immersive viewing experience.
The sharpness of the image is remarkable, capturing everything from the subtlest facial details to the intricate textures of clothing and the environment. Each frame is a testament to the meticulous production design, showcasing the painstaking threading in human attire and the pristine condition of alien garments. Furthermore, the deserts’ minute pebbles and rock formations are distinctly visible, demonstrating an impressive level of detail and depth. The 2.40:1 aspect ratio enhances the cinematic scope of the film, with pitch-perfect contrast and brilliant whites adding to the visual splendor. Panoramic views of New Mexico are especially breathtaking, thanks to excellent visibility and vibrant color saturation that breathes life into every scene.
The Blu-ray’s color palette is rich and vivid, with primaries that pop and pastel hues that convey warmth and welcome. Blacks are deep and inky, featuring luxurious gradations that preserve fine details even in the darkest scenes. This exceptional visual presentation not only elevates "The Host" beyond its narrative but also secures its position as a reference-quality video transfer in the Blu-ray format.
Universal's Blu-ray release of "The Host" with its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track provides an auditory experience that, while not groundbreaking, is commendably robust and enveloping. The mix masterfully balances clarity in dialogue with atmospheric soundscapes, ensuring that each spoken word is distinct and set perfectly within the film's moody and tense vibe. Even though Melanie's voice can sometimes feel disjointed, possibly by design, it seldom detracts from the overall immersive experience. The soundscape is enhanced by assertive LFE outputs and vigorous rear speaker activity that contribute to a sufficiently compelling auditory involvement, especially noted during the film's sparse action sequences and more ambient moments.
The front soundstage is the focal point of the film's audio, presenting a wide and inviting space where the majority of the action unfolds. This setup along with discrete off-screen effects crafts an engaging wall of sound that sustains attention throughout. Notably, the mix excels in delivering richly detailed mid-range and acoustic nuances, which shine in scenes set in the caves, making these environments feel incredibly realistic. However, it's worth mentioning that the soundtrack does not always make full use of the low-end potential, with only a few moments delivering a memorable impact.
Rear channel activity, though less consistent, plays a crucial role in expanding the auditory landscape and providing occasional but pleasing instances of surround envelopment. High points include well-executed panning and directionality, such as in helicopter scenes, which briefly elevate the experience to more dynamic levels. While not quite reaching the heights of a fully immersive sonic assault expected by genre enthusiasts, "The Host" offers a solid and entertaining audio presentation that complements its character-driven narrative with technical proficiency and emotional depth.
The Blu-Ray extra presentation of "The Host" is an eclectic mix of behind-the-scenes content, deleted scenes, and unique pieces like the Seeker PSA, but it feels somewhat lackluster overall. The commentary track featuring author/producer Stephenie Meyer, screenwriter/director Andrew Niccol, and producer Nick Wechsler is notably subdued, offering a few production insights but largely failing to engage due to its overly reverent tone. The deleted scenes are brief and don't contribute significantly to the overall plot or character development. "Bringing The Host to Life" is a standard EPK that, while providing some production background, mostly serves as an extended praise from the cast and Meyer. The Seeker PSA stands out for its creativity but adds a layer of controversy to the film’s premise. Despite these offerings, the extras seem to miss an opportunity to deepen the viewer's understanding of the film's creative process or add meaningful value.
Extras included in this disc:
- Audio Commentary: A discussion with Stephenie Meyer, Andrew Niccol, and Nick Wechsler.
- Deleted Scenes: Includes four short scenes.
- Bringing The Host to Life: A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film.
- Seeker PSA: A faux commercial from the aliens' perspective.
- Trailers: Promotional content for the film.
Stephenie Meyer's "The Host," adapted into a film and directed by Andrew Niccol, fails to transcend its literary origins, offering a cinematic experience that is as lackluster as it is unimaginative. Set against the backdrop of an alien invasion where parasitic beings called Souls seek to perfect humanity by eradicating violence and illness, the film endeavors to explore themes of identity, love, and resistance. However, it stumbles into the traps of melodrama and superficial storytelling, struggling to provide a compelling reason why this seemingly utopian existence is undesirable. The narrative is encumbered with a love triangle, or more accurately, a quadrilateral, that serves as the main thrust of the story, yet fails to captivate or add meaningful depth.
Saoirse Ronan, who plays the protagonist Melanie Stryder and her alien counterpart Wanderer, cannot salvage the film from its shortcomings despite her proven talent in previous roles. Her performance feels constrained by a script that is heavy with exposition yet light on emotional resonance. The internal dialogue meant to showcase her character’s struggle for control does little to engage the audience, leaving her talents underutilized in a role that demands a nuanced exploration of identity and belonging. The film's pacing is lethargic, meandering through a series of events without establishing a strong narrative drive or character motivation. The antagonist, played by Diane Kruger, is rendered with a one-dimensional zeal that fails to present a convincing threat, further muddying the film’s attempt at addressing themes of autonomy and morality.
Visually, "The Host" gleams with polished cinematography that unfortunately does little to uplift its uninspired plot. While it attempts to dazzle with shiny aesthetics, it cannot hide its fundamental flaws—bland storytelling, undeveloped characters, and a failure to meaningfully explore its own premise. The director's vision is hampered by a slavish adherence to the source material, rendering the film an exercise in missed opportunities. Far from being Meyer’s bridge from teen romance to science fiction, "The Host" remains mired in the conventions she is known for, resulting in a film that is as forgettable as it is frustrating.
The Host" blu-ray release presents a paradox of quality, pairing a critically panned movie with an impeccably delivered audio-visual experience. On one hand, the film itself is derided for its lack of depth and failure to engage viewers on any meaningful level, burdened by a script and direction that seem disconnected from the potential richness of its sci-fi premise. Critics have highlighted the narrative's inability to muster intrigue or genuine human engagement, branding it a soulless venture into what could have been a fascinating discussion on identity and invasion. The comparison to failed sci-fi ventures like "Battlefield Earth" underscores the missed opportunities and the laughable execution that tarnishes Stephenie Meyer’s and Andrew Niccol's collaborative effort.
Conversely, the technical delivery of this blu-ray shines in stark contrast to the film's content, offering a beacon of redemption for those willing to explore its depths. The AVC-encoded video presentation and lossless audio quality are praised across the board, providing a sensory experience that nearly compensates for the movie’s narrative and conceptual shortcomings. This high-definition treatment affords the audience a visually and audibly striking experience, despite the inherently flawed material it showcases. However, it's notable that the supplementary materials provided bring little to the table, failing to augment the overall package significantly or offer any meaningful insights that could possibly elevate the film's reception.
In conclusion, "The Host" as a cinematic work fails to deliver on many fronts, with its storytelling and execution leaving much to be desired. Nevertheless, for aficionados of technical presentation prowess or loyal fans of Meyer’s work, the blu-ray edition offers a silver lining with its outstanding visual and audio quality. It stands as a testament to how cutting-edge technology can enhance the viewing experience, even when the source material falls dramatically short of expectations. This dichotomy makes it a curious case for connoisseurs of film and technology alike, presenting a flawed gem that shines brilliantly in its technical aspects while remaining obscured by its own narrative and directorial missteps.