Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Invasion

The Invasion is the fourth filmed version of Jack Finney’s classic novel The Body Snatchers. There was a classic version in 1956, an interesting take on it in 1978, a serviceable action flick in 1993, and now this rather ho-hum rendition starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig.

The movie opens with the crash of a space shuttle. As big a disaster as this is (it actually doesn’t seem to bother anyone very much), it is much worse than can be imagined: The shuttle debris is covered with spores that can infect human beings. Why this is so is never explained, for explanations are for eggheads and wimps. Suffice it to say, once infected, the infectees rapidly spread the infection, by the delightful method of puking in the face of an uninfected human. This gets old after the first time. Humanity must find an antidote or be taken over.

In the middle of this is a psychiatrist, played by Nicole Kidman (in other words, suck it, Cruise) and her doctor boyfriend, played by James Bond. They must find Kidman’s son before it’s too late, because the son is one of the few who are immune to the alien infection. He is immune because…well, they don’t ever really explain it. He’s just immune, dammit! Remember, real men don’t do explanations.

There are huge flaws in this movie. First of all, Kidman’s character is a charter member of the Unilateral Disarmament Club. There are two occasions during the film where she gets a handgun, which could help fend off the killer infectees, and both times she immediately throws it away. Look, I understand and sympathize with pacifism, but if you’re ever chased by zombies intent on eating your brain, hold on to the goddamn gun.

Also, whereas in the book and the previous three movies being taken over kills the original host, in this case, the infection is easily reversed with the antidote, which lessens the suspense considerably. Add in the obligatory Annoying Kid, and you’ve screwed your movie.

That being said, The Invasion is not quite the total disaster everyone says it is. Kidman and Craig are good actors, and there is some real suspense in a couple of scenes where they are trying not to show emotion to try and fool the infected. I’d say it’s good enough for a rental, if it strikes your fancy.

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