The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Universal - 2013
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 126 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Jake Abel, Max Irons, Frances Fisher, William Hurt, Diane Kruger, Chandler Canterbury
Directed by: Andrew Niccol
Music by: Antonio Pinto
Written by: Andrew Niccol based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 9, 2013
When an unseen enemy threatens mankind by taking over humans' bodies and erasing their minds, Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan) risks everything to protect the people she cares about most, proving that love can conquer all in a dangerous new world.
Novelist Stephenie Meyer has established quite a following with The Twilight Saga and the subject of this film adaptation, The Host. The story takes place in a distant future where a species of parasitic aliens, called “Souls” have invaded Earth after deeming humans too violent/wasteful to deserve the planet. Souls are implanted into a human host body rendering the consciousness of the original mind erased leaving only their memories and knowledge. “Wanderer”, a Soul who was given her name for not living more than one host's life on any of eight previous planets, is placed in the body of recently captured Melanie Stryder, a member of an active resistance against the Souls (and one of the few remaining humans). Wanderer is asked by a Seeker (Souls that actively search for Earth’s remaining humans) to look through Melanie's memories and see if there's anything that can lead them to the resistance, but she is being mentally blocked, leading the Seeker to realize Melanie's consciousness is still alive and resisting control.
This is the premise of the story as it follows Wanderer/Melanie as they struggle to coexist eventually forming a bond that leads to revelations on both fronts. Wanderer comes to understand what it means to be “human” and all that entails and Melanie sees another side of the “enemy” that changes her perspective. Together their actions have a reverberating effect that transcends both human and alien kind. I am not particularly a fan of The Twilight Saga but the trailer for The Host left me wanting to check it out when it came to Blu-ray. I am a fan of Saoirse Ronan and the concept (aliens, futuristic, some action) looked fine. The script is a mishmash containing elements of romance, adventure, sci-fi and drama. Unfortunately none are thoroughly developed within the narrative’s framework which stifles focus but not the melodramatic teen angst which in reality is what drives the storyline.
Truth be told I didn’t mind The Host and found aspects of it to be entertaining. I liked the premise and despite some of the mawkish sentimentality, the interaction among a few of the characters. The production elements are quite good and as I alluded to earlier star Saoirse Ronan is a pleasure to watch. I have been a fan since first seeing her in The Lovely Bones and more recently in Hanna. I can’t say much for the remaining members of the young cast. Unfortunately the veteran actors cast in the film, Frances Fisher, William Hurt and to a lesser extent Diane Kruger don’t have the opportunity to make much of an impact. The end result is more or less exactly what you might expect from a Stephenie Meyer creation adapted to film. I will say that I connected with it more than I did with the Twilight Saga and in that light found it moderately entertaining and probably worth hanging on to.
The rating is for some sensuality and violence.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The Host comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.6 Mbps.
This is a superb looking Blu-ray presentation from Universal that delivers high level detail, razor sharpness and resolute definition that brings out the lifelike textures captured by the camera’s lens. Close ups and mid level shots are incredibly detailed and revealing of even the subtlest nuance visible within facial features, clothing, and objects/backgrounds within the frame. Colors are kept within the scope of film’s thematic tone containing lots of browns, grays, whites and blacks. The stylized palate deemphasizes primaries (with the exception of blue) but the dusty earth tones have a rewarding quality. Skin tones are texturally revealing and lifelike. Blacks are rich, gradationally strong and dynamic which helps them pop during sequences that contained both light and dark elements. Detail in uneven light and darkened environments reveal discerning shapes and structure in backgrounds/objects. I found this to be an impressive and pristine high definition video offering that looked terrific on my big screen.
The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio surround mix does an excellent job rendering the film’s soundtrack. Dialogue has excellent intonation and clarity which allows even subtle changes in vocal pitch to be appreciable. This is a well balanced audio presentation that quite often engages the entire system. Dynamic range is excellent and the soundstage has an open expression that allows its elements to extend well into the room. Discrete rear channel activity isn’t pervasive however the elements of action/adventure provide an enriching level of immersion generated by a seamless sound field. The LFE channel is frequently active and reproduces the film’s music and extended lower bass frequencies with room filling extension that strikes with palpable impact. All in all this is an enjoyable home theater presentation.
- (HD) 4 deleted scenes
- (HD) Bringing The Host to life – 7 minute featurette
- (HD) Seeker PSA – 1 minute faux feature
- Feature length commentary with author/producer Stephenie Meyer, writer/director Andrew Niccol and producer Nich Wechsler
- Bonus DVD
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
- Digital Copy
Based on the NY Times Best Selling novel of the same name by Stephenie Meyer The Host is a big screen adaptation that adheres to the same formula as her other books that have come to the big screen. I am not a fan of that particular trilogy but found The Host to be mildly entertaining. The fact that it looks and sounds great in high definition is a welcomed bonus. I would say that this Blu-ray offering from Universal Studios Home Entertainment comes recommended for fans but is best left as a rental prior to purchase for all others.
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
Ralph C. Potts
My Home Theater
Follow me on Twitter @RalphAVSreviews
Listen up, studios! Dolby Atmos Lite™ print-outs must stop!!
Now after reading Ralph's review and finding out the story is a film adaptation of a novel by the same author as that of the Twilight Saga, all I have to say is Saoirse Ronan really needs to be more selective in choosing her films.
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