Invasion, The (DVD)
Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Jeremy Northam, Jackson Bond
Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel
Distributed by Warner Home Video
"They're here already! You're next! You're next! You're next!" So warned the great Kevin McCarthy as Dr. Miles J. Bennell at the end of the original 1956 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Nobody listened of course, and since then they have steadily invaded theatres every fifteen to twenty years since in various incarnations. The reason being that each film in the series pretty much played on the paranoia or anxieties of whatever our society was feeling at the moment. Director Oliver Hirschbiegel's telling is no different, except for one missing and crucial ingredient. More on that in a bit. First let's tackle the storyline.
Carol Bennell (Kidman) is a renowned psychiatrist who has begun to notice a disturbing trend. Her patients seem to all be suffering from the same delusion. They feel that the people they know and love are no longer themselves. Instead they're menacingly cold. Almost alien in nature. Did I say almost? It's not long before Bennell discovers that this new sickness is indeed extraterrestrial in origin. It's sweeping the globe as a pandemic and seizes you when you go to sleep. Can she save herself? Or better yet, can she save her son? Though there are a lot of twists here and there coupled with numerous chase scenes and unnecessary action sequences, that's basically the gist of it.
There are a lot of things that keep The Invasion from at the very least being par for the body snatcher course. Apparently, the powers that be were unhappy with Hirschbiegel's original cut of the film so V for Vendetta director James McTeigue and the Wachowski Brothers were brought in to re-shoot half of the movie. I'm guessing that's where all of the abovementioned needless chaos came into play. There are times while watching The Invasion that it almost seems like you're sitting through two different films. This is your classic example of too many cooks wrecking the damned kitchen.
Still, even all that isn't what irritates me about The Invasion. What gets my blood boiling is the decision to get rid of the pods. That's right, this is a pod-people movie without the pods. So let's get this straight -- instead of a cerebral creep-fest we're slapped with what pretty much amounts to a brain-dead action film, and we can't even at least get some pod action? Is that too much to ask? I'm very much a purist when it comes to some things, so for me this is The Invasion's most unforgivable sin. We need pods. There ought be pods. Send in the pods. Feh.
Time to check out the DVD extras. There are four things to choose from. The first, an eighteen-minute documentary entitled We've Been Snatched Before: Invasion in Media History examines the reason why the body snatching theme is revisited every few years. From Communism to Bird Flu all of our fears in relation to history and these movies are laid out for us in a very brisk featurette. Honestly, this was more interesting than the film itself. Hopefully the next Snatcher flick's DVD will explore these ideas a bit more thoroughly. I'm tellin' ya guys, there's a feature length documentary in here somewhere. From there we get three short featurettes that run about three minutes each called The Invasion: A New Story, The Invasion: On the Set, and The Invasion: Snatched. Of the three the latter is the most interesting despite the infuriating lack of pods. All-in-all, just like the feature film itself, there's nothing really to see here.
Can you smell it in the air, kids? Take in a deep breath ... Got it now? That's the nauseating stench of missed opportunity further fouled by the taint of the old nasty remake bug. It's a shame too. There were a lot of good ideas here that got lost somewhere between the third car chase and second hurled molotov cocktail. Sigh.
2 out of 5
2 1/2 out of 5
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