Customer Reviews: The Invasion
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on January 13, 2008
Someone must defend the exquisite "The Invasion", which was a huge critical and commercial disaster when released in 2007. Personally, I think it was way ahead of its' time, and it is quite ironic that most people are waking up to its' genius on DVD.

Nicole Kidman, in perhaps her most restrained performance plays 'a woman against the world'. Holding onto her sanity while the rest of the world around her are converted literally into zombies, she plays a simple woman who has to deal with some extraordinary circumstances. I found her insomniac performance while teetering on the verge of a nervous breakdown while trapped in the convenience store, to be one of her greatest screen moments.

Its moments like that which define "The Invasion". This is NOT a film for special effects afficionados. In fact, I can't recall even one significant special effect or 'things blowing up'. What I got instead was a quiet, intelligent science fiction thriller that relied upon dialog and languid camera movement to convey a sense of fear and mayhem. In fact, the Directors' style here is an amalgamation of David Lynch and two of his best movies - "Dune" and "Mulholland Drive". The film-noir vibe is stark throughout this film, and I would say this is closer to an art film that a typical commercial thriller.

Perhaps its that sensibility that made this a commercial failure. In one extended sequence, Nicole Kidman is informed that in order to escape being noticed by the zombies, you need to be 'emotionless'. Nicole then proceeds to take the train and walk the streets, and does a fine job of conveying nothingness, simply to escape being killed, while all the while her character is dying inside. Superb.

The end could have been better, yes, and in fact even I was surprised at how conveniently they wrapped things up just to finish the film off. But thats a minor quibble. I preferred this vastly over last years "Children of Men", which I would call "The Invasion"'s poorer cousin. For the life of me, I cannot comprehend the negativity this film attracts when in fact its certainly a science fiction classic and clearly the best film made on the Invasion theme so far.

There is a film from 1994 - "Body Snatchers", which had the same storyline. That was another minor masterpiece that no one noticed (try looking for the DVD, it starred Gabrielle Anwar in her defining role). Its unsung movies like these that are present in the science fiction genre, and true fans of the medium such as myself will always be there to give them the respect they deserve.

Ignore the negativity, and BUY this on DVD today. Its certainly worth watching more than once, and will quickly become one of your favorite movies if you give it a chance.

Five Stars.
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on February 9, 2008
This version of Jack Finney's book Invasion of the Body Snatchers had some promise, but ultimately missed the opportunity. Apparently the studio didn't like the cut director Oliver Hirschbiegel delivered. My suspicion is that the original film, which was completed in 2006, was probably more coherent. The Wachowski brothers were hired for massive rewriting and James McTeigue directed the new scenes. The result is a film that takes an unexpected turn for the worse.

What's new in this rendition is that the victims of the alien virus aren't replaced by duplicates. Instead, the virus just acts within their own bodies, changing them so that they act as one organism-- we're talking a slightly nicer version of the borg from Star Trek. The idea of a more benevolent invader would have been a fresh interesting take and was where this movie was headed before the hack job. It would have been more insidiously delightful to explore the cost benefit analysis of succumbing to the invasion. No more wars, cruelty, and poverty on one side, while the stripping of a lot of what makes us human on the other-- also the collective vs. the individual. This probably would have come closer to Don Siegel's communist cold war scare overtones in the original movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Instead the movie moves to more action sequences of fighting against a overtly hostile threat. This is where the original idea gets abandoned and the movie loses its way.

All of the actors put in decent performances here including an admirable job by Nicole Kidman in the lead role, Daniel Craig as her love interest (an excellent new James Bond by the way), a very good cameo from Veronica Cartwright (in the 1978 remake Body Snatchers), Jeremy Northam as the somewhat creepy ex-husband, and Jeffrey Wright as the scientist.

I think the studio should take the blame for dooming a film that had some potential. It's still an enjoyable watch and worth a rental, especially for alien invasion enthusiasts. I don't think I've ever seen a more equally distributed range of opinion by reviewers (from one to five stars). Where it all tallies out is about where I'd put it... 3 stars.

P.S. Although lesser known than Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Jack Finney wrote a couple of great books on time travel (From Time to Time and Time and Again) as well as several short stories. They go well beyond being just science fiction and are highly recommended.
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on August 21, 2007
Every era seems to have a connection to the "Body Snatchers" as there have been about 4 films so far that are based on the classic tale and it has spawned numerous similarily themed films and silly rip-offs (Invasion of the Pod People).

The first version and arguably the best is Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) which dealt with McCarthism. The next take on the classic came in 1978 with Invasion of the Body Snatchers and has become my favorite version of the tale. It focused on our need to be emotional even when it makes no sense, hence, the appearance of Leonard Nimoy in the film who built a career playing Spock, part emotionless Vulcan and part human, on Star Trek. Then there came Body Snatchers in 1994 and although that was a rather forgettable version, it did have something to say about the "me" and "greed" era of the 1980's.

Now we have "The Invasion" in which Nicole Kidman takes on Leonard Nimoy's supporting role in the 1978 version and makes it the starring role. She is well-supported by the new James Bond, Daniel Craig (Casino Royale, and even the actor who plays the new Felix Liter in the same Bond film. In addition, there is Jeremy Northam (The Net) who has made a nice career playing heavies, and in a moment of inspirational casting there is Veronica Cartwright playing a patient of Kidman's.

Cartwright was terrific in Alien (the first one) and has been in more supporting roles in film and television than I can remember. But why is she so memorable for being in this film? She was in the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers with Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, and Leonard Nimoy. She is a consistently strong supporting actress and to see her return 30 years later in this remake is fun and it's nice that her role isn't some small cameo either.

The film itself is rather unremarkable even though it is enjoyable. I think it may end up being only a bit more remembered than the 1994 version of this tale only because of it's cast as the direction, effects, music, and photography are all rather pedestrian. In addition, many may recall this film for NOT having the infamous "pods" for which this tale is so well-known for. While this makes this take a bit unique, I think it's a flaw as it treats the invasion more as an infection and less than an interglatic fight to exist as we are and not as another being would have us be and that is ironically the focus of this film even though that isn't played up until near the end (as if it were an after-thought).

This tale continues to be haunting even with the lackadaisical approach here because this tale speaks to us in this era that seems to suggest that everyone not exactly like one group is wrong or bad. We have become in this era rather ethnocentric and this film lightly explores how if we were all alike there would be no more wars, distrust, hate and so forth, but for that kind of world we must give up our souls. In the end, this film attempts to redeem it's own pointlessness by throwing in the question of whether is it better to have wars over religion, status, wealth, etc. or have peace at the cost of not being who we are and our right to express that.

The film wastes the talents of all by only hinting on this theme rather than exploring it with more depth and sincerity as the previous versions explored their visions of paranoia, isolationism, and the deadening of emotions in an ever increasingly violent world. For this lack of seriousness and earnestness this film is all too much like the 1994 version which was more like this one in that it had a good cast and was appropriately chilling, but lacked significant punch and/or influence.

This film is mild popcorn fun and the whole family can see it, but don't expect it to hold up to the first two far superior versions of this timeless tale.
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on January 27, 2010
All the succeeding versions of Invasion of the Body Snatchers have been weaker than the ones which came before, but they've all had interesting additions to the basic story of the pods taking over people.

The original (1956 with Kevin McCarthy) was the best because it was a low-budget film noir that didn't take itself too seriously. The Philip Kaufman remake in 1978 set in San Francisco anticipated the AIDS/STD crisis that was just around the corner. Abel Ferrara's version Body Snatchers (1993), set on an Army post, gave us a look at what happens when a society is increasingly militarized without wide scale involvement in the military by civilians for a temporary term of service, the way Americans experienced World War II.

The Invasion starring Nicole Kidman is the least interesting yet, but even it has a couple of intriguing ideas. I get the feeling it was intended to say some halfway serious things about the United States and its place in the world before a glamorous movie star got involved.

Pills have replaced pods in this version of the story.

Psychiatrist Carol Bennell (Kidman) prescribes a change in medication when a woman in an abusive marriage reports that her husband has become much calmer, except for strangling the dog when it growled at him.

Later one of the newly infected asks Bennell if she can give him a pill to prevent a Darfur, or a New Orleans.

Before the alien infection arrives on Earth, Bennell is caught between her ex-husband and her platonic boyfriend. We see both men before and after they're infected. Unlike previous versions of the story, people aren't killed and replaced by duplicates grown from pods, they are just transformed by an infection into a joint human-alien entity.

These monsters aren't the emotionless pods of previous invasions. One old man, after he's transformed, comes back to his wife and begs her to join him. His desire for the woman he's loved for decades seems real.

Bennell's ex-husband is a jerk before and after he's infected, and her boyfriend is the same calm rational man he was before. This invasion of the body snatchers doesn't really result in losing your identity. The peace that breaks out all over the world is almost as ludicrous as in the 1952 B movie with Peter Graves, Red Planet Mars, when God speaks from Mars.

I think the people who conceived this film wanted us to consider that maybe we should allow the infection to change us.

There's one moment at the climax, when it looks like Bennell and her son (who's immune to the infection) can't escape, when she considers surrendering. But they won't allow her immune son to survive and risk the new order. So she blasts away.

It's no surprise that salvation comes from Fort Detrick, where the scientists have been working on a drug (of course!) to reverse the infection.

The world goes back to normal, but the movie doesn't tell us that the scientists at Fort Detrick have kept a sample of the alien substance and are working on a way to turn it into a weapon. If that's the sequel to this movie, it may be the most honest version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers yet.
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on October 26, 2014
I am not sure why any director or production company would want to tackle this remake as the original and the 1978 remake have both achieved "classic" status. And both are eminently watchable even these years later. But it must have seemed like a good idea; after all it was a big success twice before. Actually this latest incarnation is not bad. Nicole Kidman is an accomplished actress and plays her character well. And she definitely decorates the screen. There is suspense, tension and action to satisfy the viewer. The pods are done away with but most of the other events and trappings of the original are retained. What I object to is wasting resources to make a movie that has been made before and not actually adding anything to the production. There are all kinds of good stories begging to be made into a fresh, new movie that can be enjoyed for its uniqueness. It is a shame. This is a movie that is OK but the money could have been spent more wisely.
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on April 16, 2015
This is another remake of the original invasion of the body snatchers. Nicole kidman plays a phsyciatrist who begins to see strange behavior in people, they have no emotion. She must stay awake to prevent the alien beings from taken over her body. Eventually she and a friend doctor find a solution to oscillate the alien invaders from their human hosts. This is fun and suspenseful sci fi.
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on January 1, 2014
Nothing spectacular, but well worth the $2.99. I had already seen it in the theaters when it was originally released, and remember enjoying it well enough then, so decided to rent it just recently on a slow night. It was a safe bet for the mood I was in, and I ended up enjoying it the second time as well. Definitely not Oscar material, but solid acting and it was able to capture the same thrill it gave me when I watched the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers (with Donald Sutherland) when I was a kid. Plus, Nicole Kidman looks absolutely beautiful; her classical good looks have always managed to find my soft spot. She alone practically ensured at least a three star rating (although even she could not salvage the disaster that was "To Die For").
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on January 20, 2008
You got to give this movie some credit for not being a direct scene by scene remake of the previous adaptations. For those who have seen recent remakes the majority of them rely on creating a pretty much scene by scene remake. Such movies include The Omen, Psycho, and The Amityville Horror.

Anyway the invasion is not a bad movie it's just that it had so much to offer that the creators couldn't decide what to do with it. Also this movie had a troubled production; originally set to be released in 2006 the movie would go through a lot of rewrites and re shoots. From what I heard the movie was going to originally have a twist ending, but it seems that it did not qualify with the studios demands. The Wachowski brothers were also hired to rewrite the initial script; aswell the director of V For Vendetta James McTeigue was brought in to re shoot a more action ere film. The result of course is a mish mash of ideas put into one movie.

The movie begins with what seems to be the end of the film (don't worry i won't ruin anything important) the film later jumps into a scene where a NASA space craft crash lands with a alien life inside; if exposed to it the individual gets infected, the symptoms begin in REM sleep, the infected become a type of cocoon. As soon as they wake up they recollect the past memories of the host. Basically they seem human, look human, but they are not. The infected show no emotions. The ones who are not infected use this as an advantage to hide from them.

Anyway the movies central plot is pretty good it even has some edge of your seat moments. But unfortunately the creators just didn't know how to correctly develop the plot, and it shows. Such as the ending which is a complete letdown, the writers just didn't know what to do so they just ran the credits and called it an ending. Don't get me wrong the movie is good to watch once, it's just that there aren't any real surprises. it all feels very similar and formulaic. honestly it's worth to rent and to watch once.

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VINE VOICEon January 18, 2015
INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956) is a black and white classic film, directed by Don Siegel, and starring Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter. The story was adapted from a 1954 novel by Jack Finney. As many Americans will readily perceive, INVASION, a color movie starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, is a watered down copy of the 1956 film. Watering down and padding take the form of techno-fluff, in the form of cell phones, smart phones, and Apple computers. Truly, this film does a much better job at promoting domestic electronic appliances than telling a story.

In the original 1956, horror took the form of large pea pods, which served as the origin of zombified townsfolk. But in the watered-down, techno-padded color version, instead we find that townsfolk, after being infected with a virus from outer space, develop a flakey, slimey skin, at a time when they are transformed into zombies.

Although one might characterize the color film as an updated version of the original, I think it is much more fitting and much more accurate to characterize the color film with Kidman and Craig, as watered-down, heavily padded, and painfully repetitive. Every time a new plot element is introduced into the movie, it is repeated again and again. And again. And again and again and again. The only redeeming feature of this movie are the many scenes with smokin' hot Nicole Kidman, sometimes shown wearing only her panties and blouse. Regarding Daniel Craig, he is always good in his part, but this dragged-out, watered-down version of a classic American film, truly does not make good use of Mr. Craig's considerable acting skills.
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on February 8, 2008
Ok, most bad reviews here are justified. Did we need another remake? For sure not. But on the other hand, a really strong story at the core of the script proves nearly unkillable.
And I want to place on record my objection to the Kidman bashing: I think she does a very good job and makes the movie watchable despite all efforts to the contrary, she certainly helps safe the suspense, which is not totally out. (Hope nobody noticed that I am the chairman of the Kidman fanclub in Morning Land.)
One objection to the script: the story is 50 years old, the efforts to place it at the turn of the century have given us some nice anachronisms. There is a Czechoslovakian Ambassador in the story, at the same time that the Irak war and the Darfur crisis are issues. Of course one can't expect a Hollywood script writer to keep up with all the political changes in Europe...
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