How many times have we seen “The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers” remade? What was once considered a perfect analogy for the infiltration of communism in America during the “Red Scare” during the McCarthy era, has been made, remade, rehashed, updated, tweaked, re-released, and any other kind of euphemism since ever since the original 1956 movie. If I may be so forward, I think the story has played itself out. Without the back drop of the ever impending communist who can blend in with the capitalistic society in the United States, who can act like us, talk like us, go to the same schools, walk through our church doors, and who can drink anything other than vodka, the real meaning of the story has been lost on us. Even taking the story in the strictest Sci-Fi sense of “anyone could be an alien”, this storyline is about as tired as the Mutant Registration Act is to the Marvel universe.
Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel (“Downfall”) and written by David Kajganich (hasn’t done anything else), “The Invasion” feels like a cross between a zombie movie, “War of the Worlds”, and I’m sorry to say that it has just the hint of “The Happening”.
After the crash of US space shuttle “Patriot”, people start becoming infected with an organism that takes over their body during their sleep. Of course, no one really knows about this until it becomes so out of control. These “body snatchers” are devoid of high levels of emotion that we humans feel. As the invasion increases in the number of infected, we see that the result of it being a new era in peace and prosperity. Carol Bennell, played by Nicole Kidman (“Eyes Wide Shut”) wants to screw all that up. With the help of her doctor friend; Ben Driscoll, played by Mr. Pouty himself Daniel Craig (“Layered Cake”) they want to try and stop the take over of the human race by this outside alien force. The two discover that some people are immune to the virus and it just so happens that her son is one of them. Carol must find her son who is being held by her ex-husband, who also just happened to be the first infected, and rescue him to take him to a military lab. The aliens, however, are trying to root out people who are not infected yet. The aliens are bland and emotionless creatures so they resort to things like throwing people off buildings to see who in the crowd react. Carol must walk through the city and try to hide her emotions to get to her son. I do have to say, if you need someone to act emotionless and with as little passion as possible, Nicole Kidman is the perfect choice for the role.
Grade – B-
It almost begrudges me to say that I kind of enjoyed the movie. It was nice to see a modern alien invasion happen that doesn’t involve huge space ships blowing up everything. The aliens do feel like an opposite zombie-like creature. Of course there is a lot of running involved. The action is really decent for the flick which is kind of surprising seeing the Nicole Kidman is in it. This is also probably the best role Daniel Craig has been in. He can pout all he wants without destroying everything that makes James Bond James Bond. Of course there is a message in here but it’s not as smack-you-in-the-nose obvious that “The Happening” was. Mankind can only be mankind with the possibility of violence and war and all the bad things we do. I guess the final message of the movie is “Is it worth it?”. If that’s the case, I don’t think this movie really made it enough. You see news clips throughout the movie of the changes like President George W. Bush meeting with Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, the end of the Iraq War, and other peace in our time events. One of my main problems with the movie is that you cannot really tell how much of the world has been infected. You have Bush infected but there’s a military lab/outpost that is still trying to find a cure. You have a whole, large city infected but there is a quarantine/road block established. The main ending is kind of nice to see but it’s a complete departure from the source material. To summarize, a bland, emotionless Nicole Kidman must act bland and emotionless, aliens want to take us all over, and mankind sucks. Now go have fun at the movies!