While returning to Earth, the space shuttle explodes and the fragments bring an alien virus that recodes the human DNA. In Washington, the psychiatrist Carol Bennell observes the modification of the behavior of one of her clients first, then in her former husband and finally in the population in general. Together with her friend Dr. Ben Driscoll the researcher Dr. Stephen Galeano, they discover that the extraterrestrial epidemic affects human beings while sleeping and that her son Ollie, who had chickenpox when he was a baby, is immune to the disease and may save mankind from the outbreak. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
You hafta' go into every movie with an open mind if you're going to give it a fair assessment, right? Well, I did exactly that with "The Invasion". Despite all the heavy and (quite) ugly criticism this movie received, it had a fair cast and it isn't too often that Nicole Kidman is in something completely awful. Let it be known, as well, that I am a big fan of both the original and the 1978 versions of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". It is reasonable to speculate that fans of either of those two films will be disappointed with this latest stab at the "body snatcher" storyline.
However, I asked myself, is the point to compare this film against its predecessors or should I evaluate this film on its own merits alone? I decided the latter was the right course and with this in mind, I watched "The Invasion".
The film opens with a very frantic Carol Bennell (played by Nicole Kidman) rummaging through the shelves of a pharmacy. She is searching for sleep suppressants. We are then taken back in a recent past where a space shuttle crash lands into the countryside. The shuttle's wreckage has brought back something with it. From the moment that Bennell's ex-husband (played Jeremy Northam) pricks his fingers on a foreign organism, life becomes a serious drag for the (evidently, terrible) human species. Bennell, who is a psychiatrist, doesn't get it at first when one of her patients (played by Veronica Cartwright who also starred in the 1978 "Invasion of the Body Snatchers) irately claims her husband isn't her husband. But it doesn't take long before Bennell figured out that all is not right in Everytown, USA.
This film was not awful. This was, by no means, the worst of the "snatchers" make-overs. 1993's "Body Snatchers" is my nominee for that award. There were some moments in this film that worked well such as a brief, but tense scene when Bennell and her son (played by Jackson Bond) are unsure whether the other is... them. I also liked the "attempt" at a different approach to the body snatching "method". All in all, for me what kept me watching was Kidman. No, not just because she's a super-hottie (although it never hurts.) She adeptly became Bennell and breathed life into her character. I actually thought this was one of her better performances.
This could have been an excellent film, but as is all too often the case these days, character development was not a priority. Beyond Kidman as Bennell, character development was non-existent. How people are being snatched, also, is never adequately, not even remotely, explained. Wherein the other snatcher films, while the victim sleeps their body rotted away and their alien replacement is created within a giant pea-pod, in "The Invasion" the process is never identified. This makes for a very weak ending. Truly, with today's SFX, this could have been an extraordinary "revelation". What was most disappointing was the attempt at social and political commentary. Good grief! I cannot think of a more articulate adjective then just plain...lame.
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