The Invasion is the rather pointless reworking of The Body Snatchers, a classic 1955 sci fi novel that has already been filmed three times. The first version was a thinly disguised allegory for the spread of communism in the United States. The second, dating from 1978 stars Donald Sutherland and is a real creepfest. No less an authority than The New Yorker’s Pauline Kael, said “it may be the best film of its kind ever made.” A 1993 version was notable for its psychological realism and social criticism. The new rendering, not content to just streamline the wordy Invasion of the Body Snatchers title to simply The Invasion, also takes some liberties with the original story in an attempt to update the movie.
Trouble is, the story didn’t need updating. The idea that people are being replaced by homicidal, emotionless clones grown from plant-like pods is pretty cool, and would still be as eerie on the big screen in 2007 as it was when the original scared audiences in 1956. In the new version two Washington DC doctors struggle to find a cure for a rapidly spreading alien virus. This virus, transmitted by bodily fluids, saps the host body of all emotion.
Once the virus has spread the world over very strange things start to happen. Sucked dry of emotion nations put aside old rivalries and warring countries declare peace, there is little crime and even Kim Jong Ill disarms. It’s kind of like Ritalin for the masses.
Now, here the metaphors get a little murky. Is this supposed to be a statement on the new super viruses we keep hearing about? Or is it a comment on how we allow are emotions to cloud our thinking? Or is it just a bad movie.
I’ll go with the latter.
There may have been a good movie in here somewhere but it’s buried underneath a cavalcade of poorly conceived set pieces, meaningless flash forwards and random and poorly executed action sequences which seem to have been added to try and trick the summer action crowd into shelling out their hard earned dollars to see this turkey.
Considering the talent involved The Invasion should have been a much better film. Nicole Kidman she really has to stop starring in remakes. I thought Bewitched and The Stepford Wives were her resume low points until The Invasion came along. Where’s the Nicole Kidman who was so interesting and watchable in The Hours and Birth? Here’s hoping she’s growing out her remake phase and in future will only choose projects that are commensurate with her considerable talent.
Daniel Craig—that’s Bond, James Bond to you, although this movie was made before he was cast as 007—fairs better than Kidman, but only because he isn’t given much to do. Ditto the great Jeffrey Wright who is wasted here in a small supporting role.
Director Oliver Hirschbiegel isn’t entirely to blame for this mess. His original cut of the film was deemed unacceptable by the movie Gods and the Wachowskis Brothers—of Matrix fame—were brought in to salvage the movie. The result is a stew of a movie that feels slapped together.
The Invasion is a terrible movie, not worthy of the talent involved and certainly not worthy of your time and money.