Well, I’m sure a lot of purists will disagree, but I thought it was decent.
Having good actors really makes a difference. People who can act can be a lot of fun to watch pretend.
I guess I should warn you about spoilers. Pff, the movie I’m talking about is almost two years old, though.
Sunday night I sat down to watch The Invasion, with Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. If you don’t know already — and with the movie almost two years old I don’t know why anyone but me wouldn’t know this by now — it’s a remake of the classic sci-fi tale Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Nicole Kidman’s a psychiatrist — and there must always be a psychiatrist in modern remakes of these things for some reason — who discovers the Earth has been invaded by an alien spore. The spore’s origin isn’t known; we know it came from nearby in space, however, whether the movie wants to admit it or not, because they arrived on a space shuttle. The crash and burn doesn’t kill the hardy, resilient virus-like hive-mind alien, though. The invasion is on, and after infecting the body, the transformation takes place utilizing chemicals produced in the body during REM sleep.
There’s a lot of action, excitement, tension, and sneaking about the Washington DC area. The original movie from 1956 sort of leaves the situation unresolved. In fact, the movie ends with the audience wondering if the raving doctor is believed or not, as I recall (and it’s been a LONG time since I’ve seen it, so I can’t say). In the 1978 version, it’s Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum and Veronica Cartwright (who is featured in this remake as well, which I found extremely cool) squaring off against “pod people”, just like in the ’56 version. This time, though, the resolution is not left to imagination of the viewer. The Earth and its inhabitants lose. Veronica Cartwright is the last human seen in the movie, and she succumbs too.
In this version, Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig are among the last survivors on the streets. Other survivors in a nearby military installation are assisting though. Since the aliens are more like a virus and form a hive-intellect, all working in tandem through their host bodies — rather than the classic versions where the victims are simply replaced altogether — there is a cure.
The director of this one opted for the high road and went “happy ending”, which sort of flies in the face of the tradition of the body snatcher idea. The uncertainty, the despair and hopelessness of resisting an unstoppable, underhanded and mostly unknown until it’s too late invading force is what gave the movie its power and punch.
This one’s about social commentary, with the movie makers essential saying being inhuman — alien hosts — and a peaceful welfare state (there is no more war, poverty, etc., yadda-yadda, insert-happy-crappy-stupid-impossible-alien-utopia-crap here) would be superior to remaining human. But in the end, humans want to survive, so they resist.
I like the clean, purer horror of the earlier versions better frankly. Keep your social commentary to yourself. For my movie-going entertainment, I just want to watch a movie that isn’t preaching some bullsh*t agenda for a change.
Anyway, I remember seeing a fourth version of this movie on television a while back. It was from 1993, but I didn’t see it until later. It starred Meg Tilley and Forest Whitaker. In that version, called simply Body Snatchers, the invasion begins with the military, on a remote base in Alabama. The terrified little family goes on a wild ride, and Forest Whitaker — the requisite psychiatrist — kills himself in a stand-off with the alien conquered military commander. I can’t remember how that one turned out … it wasn’t that good, frankly.
So with four (and just the four I’ve seen; Lord knows how many others without “Snatchers” in the title there are) versions of this movie out there to draw from, and with today’s incredible special effects capabilities, you’d think this would be the best of the lot, right?
You’ll have to decide for yourself. I personally didn’t think so. But it was well-acted and there were some very tense moments, which was nice. And being predictable didn’t help it either. Knowing what it was about before I saw it didn’t help me, but most of the “twists” on the movie I saw coming.
Anyway, as far as Sci-Fi movies I’ve seen lately, this one was long on chase and action scenes, and short on special effects. Too much bullsh*t, not enough gunsmoke, as my father might’ve said.
I won’t feel bad for spoiling the ending for you. It’s a two year-old movie, after all. I enjoyed it, but not as much as I could have. But then, I thought Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds was a good movie, too.
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