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|Index||168 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In 1978, I was 12 and saw this film, and it gave me nightmares for ages. The reason is simple: those you trust will, if they can, betray you. I know the film and its original refer to consumerism and McCarthyism, but to me, at its core, it speaks a scary truth about human nature. When Sutherland lets out his horrendous, traitorous Pod-yell at his trusting, conspiratorial friend, who approaches him as still being human, his betrayal so deeply affected me that I remember the ending 29 years later. I can't sleep tonight after re-viewing the film, and no horror/slasher movie has affected me more. The stuff people consider to be "horror" now is all about violence, gore, misogyny, and brutality, but this director veered into our feelings and our decisions about trusting others, about which we are often, as humans, inherently wrong. This, in itself, is horror. And that's what the director of "Invasion" deeply understood.
This is one of my all time favourite films. The main reason is the
performance by Donald Sutherland. He manages to bring a highly natural
and gravity to this disturbing science fiction story.
I would recommend this film to science fiction lovers and Donald Sutherland lovers alike.
25 years ago, I saw this movie as a teenager. Now I work near the Dept.
of Health building where several scenes take place, so I thought it
would be a kick to watch again (for about the 6th time). Once again, I
was struck by how strong this thriller is and how it's themes and sense
of dread have become stronger over time.
The original from the 50's was a great parable for the Cold War (your neighbors can't be trusted, conformity is the enemy, the film could actually be claimed by both schools of thought as a metaphor, that is a true sign of greatness). This version by Phil Kaufman and screenwriter W.D. Richter ups the ante on the paranoia factor by moving the action from small town U.S.A. to big diverse city. In a big city people become insular, relating to few, and knowing fewer. Thus, the concept of an underground, or hidden, movement working behind the scenes becomes all too real. People are chased down the street and witnesses simply stare, if that. The desire to assist the authorities turns into a struggle against the system. If alien invaders (or in our modern society - terrorist factions) were to suddenly absorb individuals in a big city, I imagine it would happen just as it does in this film. Quietly and under our noses. We'd see strange things, but dismiss it as our imagination getting the better of us. And all the while, those with influential positions could easily be part of the menace and easily use their position to complete the takeover. Images of cultivation plants in remote areas and cargo ships in deserted shipyards being loaded with pods says it all; there would be no way to stop the process.
The movie works on all levels. It's suspenseful, has moments of humor, quality acting and production values, fun cameos (Robert Duvall, Kevin McCarthy, etc.), a great ambient score, effects that still look pretty damn good, and a great shocker ending. They don't make genre pictures like this anymore. An interesting footnote; just weeks prior to the film's release, San Francisco was hit by two tragedies, the mass suicide of the Peoples Temple and the assassination of Mayor Moscone and Supervisor Milk at City Hall. This must have dealt an unnatural eeriness to Bay Area audiences still reeling from real life events while watching scenes of their city fall to unseen invaders operating out in the open in front of the same City Hall.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Woah! This film is amazing. It is a pure sci-fi film, because if Spock
is in it, its 100% sci-fi. It is riddled with twists and is blessed
with an all-star cast of Donald Sutherland and Jeff Goldblum. It is
also suspenseful, and at times, gory and eerie, so it seriously freaked
me out. I have never seen the original, but I am compelled to after
watching this. San Francisco is portrayed as very grey and downbeat,
unlike many films where it is portrayed as sunny and happy, and the
ending is depressing and frightening. It had me reaching for the remote
after i heard that awful sound! It really caught me by surprise! So I
have to give this fine, fine film 10/10 in all categories, and it has
gone in my "cult" list!
This is the first remake of the 1956 film which starred Kevin McCarthy
. Since he died Saturday, I am re-watching it with fresh eyes. I do not
have the original available, but Kevin McCarthy does have a small role
in this remake.
This film features Donald Sutherland (MASH, Ordinary People, and my favorite, Eye of the Needle), Brooke Adams (Gas, Food Lodging), Jeff Goldblum (Independence Day, Jurassic Park, The Fly), Veronica Cartwright (Alien, The Witches of Eastwick), and Leonard Nimoy ("Star Trek") as the main characters.
Oscar nominated writer/director Phillip Kaufman (The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Right Stuff, Quills) was honored for this film by Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films.
Composer Denny Zeutlin produced an outstanding score for this film, but it so wore him out that never accepted another assignment.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers is not a cheap horror film, but a thoughtful, provocative piece of paranoia about how Americans are being turned into a society of emotionless robots. You will be born again.
Keep an eye out for an uncredited appearance by Robert Duvall.
SKIN-fining Moment: Brooke Adams, who did a great eye roll early in the film, walks topless through the pod factory before pointing out Donald Sutherland's presence.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This version (1978) follows the general outline of the earlier version
(1956) but suffers from being still another remake in what appears to
be a recent cascade of replicants. Talk about pods.
What happens is that these pods grow from seeds that have drifted down from outer space. The seeds produce pods that grow into imitations of individuals human beings, with all of the details of the original but without any emotions such as love or hate. The pods finally seem to win.
Right away, there are questions about just how this business works. At least in this version we know what happens to the old, original bodies when they're replaced. They turn into some ashen fluff that's thrown out with the garbage. The 1956 version left that manhole uncovered.
And yet this one is pretty cavalier with the dynamics of podification too. Both versions show that the target person has to be asleep in order for the pod to replace him or her. But in neither version is it clear that the pods must be in physical proximity to the victim. Much is made here of the victim putting the evil flower next to his bed so it can more easily take over while he's asleep. But sometimes, as in the case of Elizabeth (Brooke Adams), she falls asleep out in the middle of nowhere and her replica arises from nearby reeds, where no pod has ever had any reason to tread.
And this version, unlike the earlier one, has scenes that suggests thin slimy tendrils must creep up a victim's arm and into his sleeping nose and eyes in order to complete the process. At other times the tendrils are evidently superfluous.
Then too, if the replicants are as they say, devoid of emotion, well then how do they -- well, reproduce? Do they pollinate?
Now, this movie, like the successful pods, is a replicant too. But it's not bad for what it is. There's a playful element to the script and the direction that reflects its Zeitgeist, as did the original. If the 1956 version was all about a small community in which everyone knew and trusted everyone else, and everyone was kind and generous, and the conformity was stultifying but satisfying, that's kind of what the 1950s were like -- full of what Emile Durkheim called mechanical solidarity.
Eighteen years that happened to encompass the 1960s is a long time between an original and a remake. And this update is bound to a particular location, San Francisco, a big beautiful wide-open city, not an encapsulated village. The ludic spirit informs this later version, so the script has several jokes in it. When a formless, lifeless dead body with some revolting attributes appears in a mud bath, the proprietress (Veronic Cartwright) warns the others, "Don't touch it! You don't know where it's been!" As if it were a stray cat.
In the original, a treacly Spanish song leads Matt Binnell (Kevin McCarthy there, Donald Southerland here) to believe that anyone listening to such beautiful music must be human. Here, the music Bennell hears is "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes. That piece is a commercial and artistic cliché by now, but it wasn't in 1974. The fad for the hymn on bagpipes may well have been started by the piper who played every Saturday night at The Edinburg Castle on Geary. Kevin McCarthy, by the way, has a cameo as the guy who flops on the hood of Southerland's car and screams, "They're coming! You're next!" And the director of the 1956 version, Don Siegel, appears as a taxi driver who is a pod person.
San Francisco is a strangely tolerant city and is probably the most suitable American place to develop a contrast between ordinary citizens and those who are emotional black holes like the pod people. Example. An acquaintance of mine, Waldo, who appeared as an extra in this movie, was a successful artist in Berkeley and while I was chatting with him about his work, which IMHO was pretty good, he described how he got his ideas. Whenever he had an interesting dream he would wake up and quickly sketch the images and take a few notes. To wake him up, he wore around his head a band that had jingly bells sewn onto it, in the belief that when he dreamed his head rolled around more actively. His wife, sitting next to him on the couch, remarked laconically, "I guess it works if you say so, Waldo, but it still feels a little weird to sleep next to a guy with bells on his head." She didn't CARE that Waldo wore a fool's cap to bed, and neither would anyone else. That's what I mean when I described the city as tolerant of alternative approaches to life. Nobody cared if Harvey Milk was gay or the Emporer Norton claimed to rule California or a Viennese weight lifter was elected to the post of governor. In 1982 one of the candidates for a city office was a male transvestite, Sister Boom Boom, who wore a miniskirted nun's outfit and sported garish makeup and high heels. Her platform? "Nun of the above." She was on the ballot as an official candidate. You can see, I hope, that there could hardly be a greater contrast between some of these people and the pods. I wouldn't have wanted the remake to be filmed anywhere else.
The movie is a good remake but not without its flaws. Why does it have to end so pessimistically? And that pig-like squeal with which converts point out the unconverted is a bad idea. It's unpleasant to listen to and unsubtle. In the novel the pods sensibly gave up because resistance was too strong. They floated back into space. That kind of discretion is sometimes a perfectly reasonable way to get out of a tight spot.
..then It would be a very original movie.The main concept is very
interesting,with a plot as rich as you can imagine in sci-fi:it could
be a metaphor on totalitarianism,but ,in a more universal way,it is our
world,in which we are more and more asked not to show our emotions."Big
boys don't cry" mama tells her sensitive boy.
Supposing that this is the case,and because this is a remake,and a remake of a one of the strongest sci-fi movies in history (Don Siegel,1956),we 've got to expect a new approach,some further developments,in a nutshell,we want to be deeply surprised.
Whether Kaufman succeeds in such a difficult task,the answer is unfortunately no.Yes,there are special effects.Yes,there are good actors:Donald Sutherland,excellent as always,Jeff Godblum,who will score high in the eighties.Yes there are a good use of shadows and light,and of short focal distance,a la Polanski.The last picture is strongly reminiscent of that of "the tenant" (Polanski,1976)
But,on the minus side,there are "updates " that are hard to swallow.Best/worst example:in Siegel 's version,there's a terrifying revealing scene which consists in ..a kiss.It becomes an overtly erotic scene,here,complete with nudity,losing all its emotional power. All the ideas were already in Siegel's version,which renders the new one predictable,really that crowns it for a movie which focuses on suspense.
SPOILER * SPOILER* SPOILER IN THIS PART: A good trick is to be credited to the script writers.At the end of the movie,Sutherland becomes like "them".The director did not use the cinematographic codes:he did not show Sutherland's surrender,and as he leaves his office ,we think he's always "normal".That kind of ellipsis ,which will rarefy as the cinema makes its way across the eighties,shows that he assimilated at least one of the Master Alfred's lessons.END OF SPOILER.
There will be a third version(Body snatchers,Ferrara,1994).I agree with M.Maltin when he writes:"Setting the story in a military base when everybody's is supposed to act alike...not a good idea " Stick up with Don Siegel's version,without color,scope,stars,but with a genius going for it.
I found the special effects to be the only thing of strong value in
this movie. It involves a health department and scientific research
team investigating why people are becoming zombie-like shortly after
going to sleep. I liked the beginning of the movie the best. The viewer
is drawn into some clever outer-space camera shots. One feels that this
is going to be good.
But than, it dies. The dialog is predictable and corny. Even the good actors can not make up for them being forced into B-grade Sci-Fi acting. Invasion of the Body Snatchers seems to drag on and on with very little to excite the viewer. In fact it was on one of my local stations last night and I kept falling asleep missing the last half hour of the movie! To achieve a great sci-fi effect that is everlasting to the viewer, there needs to be a suspense or build up that is maintained throughout the film. A few screams here and there over some strange corpses would be something that you would expect from a 50's horror film. This would be good for its time, but not enough for a 1978 film, which incidentally is a remake.
With this film coming out the year after Close Encounters of the Third Kind and the Star Wars phenomenon, one would expect better pacing in this film. IOTBS appears to have been put together with several characters that don't get into a weak plot, combined with a 50's type script. Good special effects can not save this weak movie.
It's too bad that the quality cast ensemble didn't have a stronger, faster-paced, script to showcase their acting abilities so that this film could have been better.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978): Dir: Philip Kaufman / Cast: Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Leonard Nimoy, Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright: Ominous and chilling remake that is every bit as great as the original, only it heightens the paranoia aspect. Set in glorious San Francisco, Donald Sutherland plays Health Department representative Matthew Bennell who is confronted with cases of people not being who they are emotionally. Brooke Adams plays Elizabeth Driscoll whose husband is different. These people fall asleep and replaced by pod lookalikes thanks to a flower that Driscoll discovers. Leonard Nimoy plays Dr. Kibner, a friend of Bennell's who attempts to explain this bizarre event in society. Unfortunately Nimoy is too obvious in his motives. The relationship between Bennett and Driscoll is subtle with a hint of romantic interest that is not tresspassed due to her marriage. Another interesting marriage relationship is between Jeff Goldblum and Veronica Cartwright who work in a massage parlor mud bath where a pod body is discovered. Director Philip Kaufman creates paranoia while toying with gadgets and showcasing Adams and her weird eye twirl talent. It can also symbolize the Biblical Rapture when one factors the shocking ending. Great update with a strong theme regarding paranoia and the importance of personality and the outside forces that invade one's senses. Score: 9 ½ / 10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Invasion of the Body Snatchers is directed by Philip Kaufman, has a
screenplay by W.D Richter, is based on the novel by Jack Finney and
stars Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Veronica Cartwight, Jeff
Goldblum and Leonard Nimoy.
Usually remakes are terrible in comparison with the original film or series, occasionally though there are some exceptions and this film is one of those.
This film is extremely horrific thanks to the impressive pod effects and makeup. The growing pods look organic, they look like living things being born and that realistic look really freaks you out, you believe that what you are seeing is real. This film proves that if you want something to look real then you should use real things instead of using effects. Computer generated effects wouldn't have been able to create anything that looked so real as what we see here.
The sound effects in this film are brilliant too, the sound we hear for example when a pod person is being born sounds like a heartbeat and is quite unnerving. There is also the chilling scream of the pod people, this is truly scary and I also like how in this film the pod people are depicted as having a hive mind and they can sense when someone is still human.
We also get to see how the alien invasion begins in this version. Alien spores land on earth and attach themselves to plants, they then grow into flowers and then transform into seed pods. At first just a few people are killed and their bodies duplicated. Characters notice that people seem different and if you pay attention throughout the film the bin lorries can all be seen collecting the dusty remains of humans who have been killed and duplicated and that helps give the film another level of creepiness.
Health official Elizabeth Driscoll(Brooke Adams)is concerned when her boyfriend's personality changes, she becomes afraid of him and asks the advice of her friend and colleague Matthew Bennell(Donald Sutherland). Matthew thinks she is imaging things and recommends that she sees a therapist he knows(Leonard Nimoy)to discuss her fears with. As time goes on Elizabeth notices many other people seem different and soon Matthew notices the change too.
Jack and Nancy Bellicec (Jeff Goldblum and Veronica Cartwright) are friends of Matthew who own a health spa. One night they discover a growing pod person in the spa and call Matthew. This small group realise something is happening and when they discover that people in authority have been changed too they realise that they can trust nobody except each other. They soon discover that going to sleep makes it easy for the pods to assimilate their next human victims, so they have to try and stay awake as they attempt to avoid detection as their city is overrun by the alien invaders.
This film is truly chilling and the paranoia depicted here is off the scale, these characters can trust no one not even each other. The scene featuring the half man and half dog pod person is one of most shocking and bizarre things I've ever seen in my life and the pod screams chill you to the bone. There's also a cameo by Kevin McCarthy the star of the 1956 version.
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