Rules & Restrictions
As you know, here at Kim the FanGirl, we take our novel to film adaptations seriously. We like to give writers, directors, and producers some much-needed help translating our favorite stories from page to screen (because, you know, they need all the help they can get). Although The Host has already finished filming, I thought they might need some further . . . guidance, if you will. And who could be better than me to assist in such a quandary? I’m an expert in the field, you see – previously the frontrunner to make certain all went accordingly for another beloved series; guiding the powers-at-be into making the right choices for Breaking Dawn (Parts 1 & 2). It was my obligation as a fan to aid them in their time of need, to reach out and hold their hand, to instruct them on how to make a film we want to see. I guess it’s not enough to simply suggest they FOLLOW THE BOOK. Needless to say, that is why I felt the same needed to be done for another treasured narrative: Stephenie Meyer’s sci-fi hit, The Host.
At the helm of this big screen adaptation – debuting March 29, 2013 – writer/director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, The Truman Show) and S. Meyer herself. I know. That’s enough to make you squee with delight, but wait, there’s more. Summit is nowhere near this film adaptation, having, I assume, a restraining order insisting they leave this one alone. All in all, a good start. Right? Yeah, not so fast. I’ve made it very clear on several occasions, my – how shall we say – lack of faith in the casting. Choosing an exceptionally younger cast than the characters in the novel has kept me from truly embracing the reworking, I admit. Of course, Saoirse Ronan is a brilliant actress. The first thirty minutes of Atonement are my favorite! I just don’t want the same mistakes to be made like the ones that brought down that other series. Cough. This is a chance for redemption. Isn’t it somewhat sad they didn’t feel the need for accuracy right at the beginning? All right, I may still be a tad bitter that they didn’t cast Jensen Ackles, but that fact is neither here nor there.
What matters is that I’m still increasingly excited to see this novel turn into an equally incredible film. They just have to follow these simple guidelines and everything will be peachy. Hello! I’m a fan. I know what I’m taking about. Sheesh.
Saying that . . . let’s break down the 10 things that HAVE to be in The Host:
1. The Inhabitants: The world we know and love has been taken over by millions upon millions of teeny-tiny silver caterpillar-like aliens that take over your brain! Only, that’s not all. Once they take over your body and your brain, they try to make the world a better place. Gasp! They try to create a superior world. No hate. No violence. Love and kindness all around. It’s ideal, really. Except for the hostile takeover and whatnot. For this to be successful on-screen, let’s think Pleasantville times ten. Between Fords Deep Waters (the compassionate Healer), Wanda’s assigned Comforter, and her fellow brethren, the world should seem like a pretty nice place to live. It’s the commonplace idea of the good bad guy. A significant portion of the opening film should be dedicated to this alien society, setting the stage for the stark contradiction between the new and the old, the perfect metropolis and the human refuge.
2. Flashback!: A monumental meeting, a secret hideaway, and a map. Each flashback plays a substantial role in the overall storyline. Seriously. These plot points are important, so you better get this right. Take notes if you have to. (a) That time Jared thought Melanie was an alien: He threatens her. She escapes. He tackles her to the ground. They kiss. Simple, right? (b) That scene Stephenie forgot: Jared, Melanie, and Jamie find some quiet happiness in their small hideout in the middle of nowhere. Jared and Melanie profess their love for one another. We completely forget that awkward abstinence talk and pretend S. Meyer is actually a fanfiction writer. No? Oh, well. I had to try. (c) That crucial piece of information everyone forgets: Why did Wanda/Melanie hike through the desert? To find and Jared and Jamie. How did they know where to look? Uncle Jeb drew Melanie a map. Enter backstory here. Got it?
3. Relationships (Part 1): Uncle Jeb and Jamie. Sigh. Initially the two most meaningful connections Wanda truly has, the outsider develops real relationships outside Melanie’s memories. Uncle Jeb instantly knows that something is different about this Soul. He fights for Wanda’s well-being when no one else will, even Wanda. He is the voice of reason, the leader of this ragtag group. His unusual and ironclad comments combined with his leisurely attitude make him one of the most intriguing characters from the novel. Note to William Hurt: Don’t screw it up. As Melanie’s younger brother, Jamie’s role is sometimes small but makes a notable impact – recognizing Wanda as she is, helping bridge the unease between her and Jared. Jamie’s youthful innocence stands apart from the rest. He clings to Wanda’s side, protecting her, protecting his sister. It’s his relationship with Wanda that makes the Soul realize where she wants to be, who she wants to become.
4. The Storyteller: Having lived on nine different planets, unforgettable, interesting stories are surely endless for Wanda. Page after page of the novel is filled with her various adventures from these different worlds. A tad monotonous for the reader, but for the average moviegoer, an exciting film experience. For these stories of wonder are the reason the humans finally warm up to Wanda, a way to understand the unknown. Her tales of thrill not only create depth for the character and a subsequent point of plot, but if visual supplied (Hint. Hint) will break up the dullness one might experience with continuous scenes of dialogue (Though you know how much I love dialogue) in the Caves. You get what I’m saying?
5. Melanie vs Wanda (The Inner Voice): Surprisingly, I’m not going to be too strict with this. Shocking, I know. The novel primarily deals with Wanda’s solitary voice, only infrequently exploring her back and forth discussions with Melanie. Yes, when you read it through again, you’ll be amazed on how much impact Melanie actually has on each scene. A line, here. A few lines, there. Hardly enough to overuse the undesired voiceover. Used sparingly, the impact of her words when she does speak will increase exponentially. Golly, isn’t nice when we can compromise?
Come back next week for more, when we conclude our countdown and continue our Host discussion. In the meantime, head down to the comments and start discussing. What do you want to see in The Host?
Are you addicted to The Host? What are your favorite scenes from novel? Who’s your favorite character? Team Jared or Team Ian? What’s your favorite quote? How many times have you read the book? What did you think of The Host trailer? Are you excited for the film adaptation? What 10 things do you think need to be in the film? Tell me in the comments!