Body Snatchers: The Invasion Continues
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The pod people are back! Aliens take over human bodies and souls in this hard-hitting remake of the classic tale starring Meg Tilly, Gabrielle Anwar and Forest Whitaker. Year: 1993 Director: Abel Ferrara Starring: Gabrielle Anwar, Meg Tilly, Forest Whitaker
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with a screen play written by Stuart Gordon & Directed by Abel Ferrara
it's definitely a different version to the previous Invasion of body snatchers versions that's for sure
the run time is about 80mins so the plot story is short & sweet but Great acting performances nethertheless
and warners have given the film a new 2:35:1 1080p HD transfer & new 5.1 master mix
which does look slightly sharper & clearer quality than the old DVD version about 7-8/10
but tragically that's all your going to get
there are no new extras that's for sure, no new interview with Abel Ferrara or Stuart Gordon
all you get is the original Theatrical trailer just like the old DVD version which had no extras anyway
so the only difference is the picture quality has been upgraded, pretty pathetic effort by warners i must say
amazon are selling it for $17 a big ripoff, this reissue is worth $10 or less
pretty tragic i thought this film deserves a new interview with Abel Ferrara & stuart Gordon, but tragically not
about 3-4stars for the film, 1-2 stars for this new blu-ray
Set on a military base, "Body Snatchers" is notably different from other versions of the story in more ways than one. Because of its isolated (and often one-note) locale, the plot feels slightly claustrophobic and, at a breezy 87 minutes, a little half-baked as well. A change in pace, this version of the story concerns an EPA agent (Terry Kinney) and his family, who are stationed at the aformentioned base. Naturally, an alien life-form has slowly crept in, turning his already dysfunctional family against one another. Meg Tilly plays his wife, who is given perhaps the film's most interesting dialogue (it's all about that chilling "Where you gonna go?" speech). Teen daughter Gabrielle Anwar, meanwhile, mashes up with a few locals, which happens to include a walking cliche gen-Xer played by Christine Elise. This piece of the plot doesn't really add up to much and only distracts from the tightly-wound story. Maybe they were trying to play to a younger audience? At any rate, it doesn't really do the film any favors as, aside from the always-game Elise and charming Anwar, the other teens/youngsters are almost as cold and lifeless as the husks left in the aliens' wake.
In spite of its flaws, the film is really quite basic in a charming way yet it's all over seemingly just as it starts to gain momentum. Abel Ferrara's direction is, erm, able. With the look of a Tony Scott or even an early Michael Bay production, his film is perhaps the most stylized of all the "Snatcher" films and most definitely a product of the '90s. The special effects are the true star here, with some truly grotesque stuff including the birth of the "pod people." None of this improves on the 1978 version, which is arguably the best adaptation thus far, but as a keyhole, glimpse into a small story taking place within a larger event type film (think "10 Cloverfield Lane"), it works quite well. If you find this one languishing on a shelf, collecting dust, it's certainly worth snatching up.
As the story begins, we meet the Malone family...there's Steve (Kinney), who's the father, Carol (Tilly), his wife, Steve's daughter Marti (Anwar), and her younger brother Andy...seems Steve's 1st wife, who was also Marti's mother, passed away a while back...anyway, the family is on the road, as Steve, a chemist, works for the EPA, and is touring military facilities in the south to ensure proper storage and handling of all the nasty biowarefare chemicals they claim they don't have. After Marti has a strange encounter in a gas station restroom (it wasn't with George Michael), the family arrives at the base and settles into their new quarters. Things seem normal enough, but strangeness settles in, as more and more people seem not actually to be living, but going through the motions. Now one might chalk this up to the military and its tendency to squash individuality in general, but it's something else, something more, something alien...and it has something to do with the slimy pods being pulled out of a nearby swamp during the night. Pretty soon the base is divided into two factions, normal people and spore people (the former dwindling rapidly) and the ominous serenity devolves into extreme chaos...just remember, they get you when you sleep...
You know what? I enjoyed this movie...I also enjoyed the original release and the one from the late 70s. The main difference I noticed was that while the previous two tended to share many similarities (the main being the overwhelming sense of paranoia inherent within the story), this one kind of went off it its own direction, choosing horror and action over suspense, with focus given to Anwar as the lead character. Perhaps they were trying to appeal to a younger audience, I don't know, but the overall result was better than I would have thought. The budget may not have been large, but I think what they had they made good use of...at the very least the filmmakers knew enough to bring in a very solid cast who worked well together. I don't know that any one performer stood out above the others, but they felt professional and maintained a sense of belonging in the story. I did feel a few of the characters got slighted, especially the one played by Forest Whitaker, but oh well. There were a couple clichés running about, like General Platt's (Ermey) rebellious daughter, played by Ms. Elise and the handsome, hero chopper pilot with the perfect hair, played by Wirth, but their roles ended up being relatively minor in the overall scheme of things. Ferrara keeps things lively with some good shocks, despite the fact the action didn't really kick in until about 45 minutes into the story. The one gripe I would make, if any, is that the film ended too soon, running about 87 minutes. It felt like there was more story to be had by the end, but I suppose it's better not to out stay one's welcome. I thought the gooey effects were good, the spaghetti-like tendrils emanating from the pods especially creepy. The one scene that stands out in my mind is when Marti is taking a bath, and dozes off...oh looky there...someone stuck a pod above the ceiling tiles. Hey, something's moving...ewww, here come some creepy crawlers, searching for a host. You know, I don't think whoever put that pod up there had put much thought into placement, as even I would have know that once the pod started developing a replicant, the weight of said doppelganger would have been too much for those measly tiles to handle...but, it did provide for a nasty little sequence. And here's nekkid lowdown, if you're interested...Ms. Anwar does bare her teeny tots twice, the second time more so than the first. While enjoyable, I did feel a little uncomfortable specifically because her character was supposed to be not of drinking age, and let's face it, Anwar is the definitive waif. Even if her character was supposed to be eighteen, she still looked all of about fourteen (Anwar was about 23 at the time the movie was made). The movie also features what appears to be a full frontal nekkid shot of Ms. Tilly, but the credits reveal a body double was employed...oh well, boobage is boobage...there is one sequence that was particularly funny (to me, at least), near the end, featuring a boy and a helicopter. If you've seen the film, you know what I'm talking about...if not, well, I'm not going to say anymore than I already have...overall I thought this film an interesting mix of science fiction, horror, and action, and something along the lines of what a director like John Carpenter might put out, only much more toned down.
This Warner Brother's DVD release features both the full and widescreen versions, the widescreen being 2.35:1 anamorphic, both looking very clear and sharp. The Dolby Surround 2.0 comes through very well. As far as special features, there are none, as the film starts playing immediately when inserted into the player. You can get an interactive menu screen to appear displaying scene access and language options, but nothing else.
If you liked this film, I'd suggest another film called The Hidden (1987) featuring Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Nouri, and Claudia Christian and/or The Puppet Masters (1994), featuring Donald Sutherland, Eric Thal, and Julie Warner...both are underrated science fiction films worth seeing.