The film is still rather early in its post production period, but Andrew Niccol brought a few minutes of The Host to Comic-Con and presented it after the Twilight panel concluded. As he came out to speak to us, the aisles were full of deserting Twilight fans. Interesting that many of them didn’t stop or turn back to see this new material, even though it’s based upon another book by Stephanie Meyer.
The sequence starts with a young human girl being chased through corridors – slightly sci-fi corridors, apparently in some kind of medical institute. She is played by Saoirse Ronan, and she’s being chased by a calm Diane Kruger. A few shots in and Ronan was leaping through a plate glass window, and plummeting down, crash landing. It would be enough to kill almost anyone, almost every time.
But then Ronan wakes up on a bed. Now, here irises are ringed with an unnatural glow.
From the next scene, we learn that the human is now host to an alien consciousness. She’s being briefed, by Kruger’s similarly possessed character, on “this new world” and asked to tap into the memories of the human she’s taken over, and from them locate the last few hiding pockets of human resistance on the planet.
This story has a little bit of Dollhouse and a little bit of Eternal Sunshine in the DNA, I guess. The partly de-focused memory shots certainly had a whiff of Dollhouse about them.
Ronan’s human character, Melanie Strider, is shown as she was in the days before her capture, as remembered by the body’s alien inhabitant riffling through the grey matter, looking for clues. We’re shown scenes that played in pastoral calm, we had a romantic encounter in the rain, a beloved pet dog… and then some kind of underground resistance headquarters, it would seem.
Some of Striders’ friends and family seem to get possessed, things go bad, and there’s an appearance by William Hurt as a borderline Rooster Cogburn character chewing out some surly talk through a beard.
And then the final scenes showcased a lot more action. Some humans are fleeing in a truck. It’s the kind with a covered back that just screams “border run” and it’s being harassed by a silver helicopter.
Then some silver cars. And silver motorbikes. Shiny silver. All of the vehicles used by the aliens are super shiny. It’s not just their preferred look, however, this metal seems to be pretty much bullet proof.
The action sequence – involving characters that didn’t really feature, or at least make any kind of impact in the earlier Melanie Strider scenes – ends with the humans in a truck making a suicide run right at a big concrete bumper.
Cut to black.
There are definitely some good ideas here, and I would like to think Niccol could make something of it. Ronan’s great, and Hurt looks like a lot of fun. But, really, I can’t forget how I felt about Niccols’ In Time at just this point last year. I was quite hopeful for that film too, but it only disappointed when seen in full.
I’m not going to write The Host off, however. It might just work. Now. When can we see some more? And can it be some more of the William Hurt stuff?
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