The Host: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion by Mark Cotta Vaz is a visual feast brimful gorgeous full-colour photos. The text gives an intimate, detailed behind the scenes look at the entire process involved in bringing Stephanie Meyer’s novel to the big screen. You are taken through all the elements of movie production – the casting, location scouting, set design, finding the right visual look, choosing the right wardrobe and makeup, and finally the actual filming itself.
“Making a movie is a big puzzle. If you keep remembering what the whole picture is supposed to look like, the pieces fit together better” (p 52)
The text is interspersed by quotes from the cast, director and crew giving a unique insight into their thoughts and experiences on set. I particularly liked the fact that Vaz doesn’t just focus on the director and actors, but also tells the story of the unsung heroes, the people you never get to see on-screen but who play a crucial role in how the film turns out: the makeup artists, gaffer, location scouts, stuntmen, camera operators and all the rest of the people in the credits you never pay any attention to.
"The long hours, the pressure of getting the day's schedule, the battle against the elements - somehow it was all worth it. Everyone, from star to stuntman, from director to riggers, was in his or her own way living the dream. And something of each of them, invisible though it might be, would be up there on the screen." (p 135)
Since this is a movie companion the photographs really play an essential role in giving you a better visual understanding of what the text is talking about. At each page turn I often found myself battling to decide where to focus first - on the photos or the text? There really are some stunning photos included in the book and if they are any indication the movie will be an experience not to be missed.
If you simply can’t wait for the movie to be released later this month then The Host: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion is definitely the book for you. It not only gives you a sneak peak at what the movie will look like, but also instils a greater understanding and appreciation for the whole movie-making process. When you finally get to see The Host you’ll be seeing it through different, wiser eyes. And the best thing is that you’ll have a trove of interesting titbits to share when your friends start to moan about the differences between the novel and the film.
If you aren’t excited to see The Host then this book will definitely change your mind.
The Rating: 6.5 (Good)
Thanks to Jean from Penguin Books South Africa for providing the review copy.
And just to whet your appetite some more here's the trailer for the movie...