Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Invasion

Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Kidman and Craig Co-Star in Remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers

The original Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), starring Kevin McCarthy, was based on The Body Snatchers, a serialized novel by Jack Finney
published by Colliers Magazine. That black and white, sci-fi classic was set in a California town where citizens were being murdered and mysteriously replaced by identical pod people.
A faithful remake was released in 1978, followed by a 1993 version, entitled Body Snatchers, which also remained true to the tenor of the source material. However, this 2007 edition, The Invasion, overhauls the franchise, despite crediting Finney as its source of inspiration.
The film stars Nicole Kidman as Dr. Carol Bennell, a psychiatrist living in Washington, DC, one of many cities where people have begun behaving strangely after the explosion of the Space Shuttle Patriot during reentry from outer space. Seems that the debris, which was scattered across a 200-mile wide alley from Dallas to DC, was somehow contaminated with an intelligent alien life force capable of reprogramming DNA.
Soon, this otherwordly catalyst starts causing a metabolic reaction in anyone who comes in contact with it, turning people into polite automatons willing to sacrifice their individuality for the sake of a mind-numbing conformity. So, it falls to Dr. Bennell, her boyfriend, Dr. Driscoll (Daniel Craig) and another colleague, Dr. Galeano (Jeffrey Wright), to figure out how to reverse the epidemic before everybody is turned into a sea of easily-managed, insufferably well-behaved robots.
The film features a silly subplot revolving around Carol’s frantically text-messaging her missing young son, Oliver (Jackson Bond), a spunky kid who had been left in the care of her possibly infected ex-husband (Jeremy Northam). While this sidebar might accurately illustrate the current fad in electronic communication, here, it proves to be more of an annoying distraction than a compelling cinematic device.
Not that the front story is any more credible. Can someone explain to me exactly how a horror flick about a scourge that’s making humanity more civilized is supposed to be scary? Intermittently amusing, tautly-edited and very well-acted, but hopelessly crippled ab initio by a fatally-flawed script.
Not exactly edge of your seat excitement.

Good (2 stars)
Rated PG-13 for violence, terror and disturbing images.
Running time: 93 minutes
Studio: Warner Brothers

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