The length of the LACMTA Metro Rail train varies throughout the film, starting out as a six-car train at the boarding platform, then changing from six to four and even two-car trains in different stock shots. See more »
Give the producers of this movie credit for making one smart decision,
and that is to make it a continuation of the classic 1960s TV show, and
not a complete from-the-beginning remake.
Give the writers credit also for the very subtle subtext which equates
the invading aliens with their more human counterparts who still don't
believe in environmentalism or global warming. Never actually said
outright, it's kind of implied that those who knowingly promote more
and more pollution are not only anti-American, but anti-Earth.
That said, there's plenty in this four-hour pilot that gets an E for
effort but a C- for execution.
The plot is familiar territory, even those not familiar with the TV
series. Earth is being secretly invaded by aliens who look like us, and
we follow the adventures of one man who knows the truth.
Sci-fi fans old enough to remember the classic show, as well as any
number of similarly- plotted motion pictures, will instantly spot some
problems with this film.
Possibly the goofiest is Richard Belzer as a Rush Limbaugh clone who
vents his warped thoughts across the Los Angeles airwaves every
morning. I suppose he's supposed to bolster the subtext I mentioned
above, but in point of fact he has no actual impact on the story and
never connects with the other characters, leaving us with the
impression that this movie ran fifteen minutes short and that they shot
the Belzer footage as filler.
Equally disappointing though is the lethargic pacing. "The Invaders" is
really a decent two-and-a-half to three hour movie (with commercials)
in a four-hour slot. There's little sense of urgency to the
proceedings, a situation not helped by keeping star Scott Bakula in a
passive mode for much of the show.
Too, there is a little bit too much modification of the "Invaders"
canon. We see the aliens' true form, and frankly, it's nothing more
gruesome than you've seen in other sci-fi/horror shows. We DON'T get to
see what was a favorite moment in the old series: an alien burning up
as it died. Nor do we get to see their spaceship. A more ornate version
of the saucer from the old TV show would have been welcome, but here we
get little more than "Close Encounters"-style bright lights coming out
They've also muddied the whole idea of "regeneration". As originally
conceived, the aliens had to return to "regeneration stations"
regularly, to be placed in glass tubes and processed so that they could
appear human and continue to breathe our atmosphere. Here the "tubes"
appear to be used to suck the life out of humans so that it can be
infused into their identical-looking alien impostors. And the new
regeneration consists of things like inhaling truck fumes.
This also introduces an "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" aspect that,
unless I'm wrong, was not a part of the original series. In the TV
show, aliens (in human form) appeared to have been always "there", in
the same way a mole infiltrates a spy organization and lays low for
years. There was none of this "yesterday Person X was a human, and
today he's been replaced by an identical- looking alien" stuff --
again, at least as far as I recall.
Then, those neat little discs that induced apparent coronaries in human
beings are gone. Pity, because they were a handy way for the aliens to
get rid of eyewitnesses. On the other hand, introduced is some kind of
telepathic ability the aliens have to control certain people, which I
don't recall being a part of the show either. Not that I'm against
entertaining new facets of the aliens' "lore", but it would have been
nice to have more stuff from the original TV series to get a handle on,
before introducing new ideas.
Returning back to things which are gone, however...if you're waiting to
hear the familiar theme music from the TV series, you're waiting in
vain. Surely it wouldn't have been hard to get some composer to
re-orchestrate some of that classic Dominic Frontiere music. It doesn't
sound like an important thing, but just the music alone could have been
enough to give this production more of the feel of the classic show.
One welcome spark of life comes from the all-too-brief appearance of
David Vincent (Roy Thinnes, as the same character he played in the
1960s TV show). The manner in which he's woven into the plot is fine,
and I suppose it makes sense to have an aging Vincent "pass the baton"
to someone younger, but that facet is never explored, and Vincent is
gone from the story all too soon, leaving us wondering what he's been
up to for the last twenty years anyway.
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