Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Invasion

The Invasion (2007)

Directed by: Oliver Hirschbiegel
Written by: Dave Kajganich, based on the novel The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Jackson Bond, Jeremy Northam, Jeffrey Wright, Veronica Cartwright, Eric Benjamin, Josef Sommer, Celia Weston, Roger Rees

It turns out that OBG was right and I did in fact win tickets for this movie from The Coast. This leads me to believe that he does, in fact, have divine power. Or that he is intercepting my phone calls. Perve.

Anyway, this is the fourth adaptation of the novel about aliens who invade Earth and snatch the bodies of humans, becoming emotionless drones (maybe that's a little harsh...). In this version, Nicole Kidman plays a psychiatrist who is separated from her young son during the outbreak of Pod People. She and her (boy)friend must then run around trying to find the boy before it's too late. Oh yeah, for those of you unfamiliar with the Pod People, they invade your body while you sleep, making a Pod in which they make an identical replica, hence the name. The don't exactly do that in this one - they instead cover their victims with goo. Same idea.

What can I say? I want to like this movie. It's got Nicole Kidman in it, and Daniel Craig (who I haven't seen too much of (I have yet to watch Casino Royale) as yet, but I do like him), and Veronica Cartwright, of the 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers, among other people. And I'm fond of that story.

They just cocked it up a little bit. The first half of the movie feels like a sort of psychological science fiction thriller with something to do with human nature and possibly Iraq (the aliens, trying to spread peace, are greeted not by earthlings with open arms but by hostile insurgents? I don't know), but it devolves into an action movie with zombies. The Pod People have a startling resemblance to the Infected of 28 Days Later, what with the vomiting on their victims and running around like crazy people.

There's a whole scene with a flaming car which I kind of object to. The reason for all this, I gather, is that Oliver Hirschbiegel submitted a finished film, which the producers rejected. The Wachowski Brothers of all people were brought in to do a rewrite, and James McTeigue came in an directed a number of additional scenes and an alternate ending.

That seems like a really bad idea to me. As the old saying goes, when rewriting and/or reshooting a psychological sci-fi thriller, do not use the guys who did The Matrix. Bad, bad idea. What's more, this is Oliver Hirschbiegel's English-language debut, and fucking with his movie is just mean.

The movie was full of wasted potential - Nicole Kidman was wasted as the worried mom. The kid was a waste. It turned into the kind of movie with a kid, which has to have a happy ending because we can't possibly bear to see the kid turn into a soulless alien.

The ending was wasted. Both versions of the story I've seen have had great endings. In this one, they make a vaccine out of some weird strain of the chicken pox and blow those mothers away. It's all very War of the Worlds. Spoilers. Heh. One of my friends even suggested that perhaps, since Tom Cruise made War of the Worlds, Nicole Kidman wanted something just like it. It even had the same lost child bullshit.

Anyway, on it's own it's an okay movie. There are some pretty good scenes, and I do like the Pod People. They're blank, emotionless stare. It's just when compared to the 1956 and 1978 versions, it really doesn't hold up. Which makes you wonder what the hell's the point...?


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