Thursday, June 5, 2014


For you folks keeping score at home, THE INVASION (2007) (which I watched yesterday), is the fourth cinematic iteration of this classic science fiction story. First came the 1955 novel by Jack Finney (which I've read and enjoyed), then the original (and best) film version in 1956 directed by the great Don Siegel. There was a 1978 remake directed by Philip Kaufman and Abel Ferrara directed BODY SNATCHERS in 1993. Now comes THE INVASION, directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel (who him?). This works out to a new film version of the material about every thirteen years or so. So round about 2020 we can expect to see a new film entitled either BODY, SNATCHERS or, quite simply, SNATCH. Take your pick.

THE INVASION starts with a U.S. space shuttle making a fiery and disastrous entrance into earth's atmosphere. The craft explodes on re-entry and spews alien spore infected debris from Dallas, Texas to Washington, D.C. The alien spores also somehow manages to spread worldwide in a very short period of time but how this rapid dissemination is accomplished is never explained. However, the screenplay does show us how the spores travel from one infected human to another: through puke. Yes, there are several scenes of infected people spewing spore laden projectile vomit upon unsuspecting victims.

Things move rapidly in the first act of the film and before you know it, Nicole Kidman, a D.C. psychiatrist, is on the run for her life from her spore infected ex-husband, who is a director with the Center for Disease Control. She's aided by her doctor friend and kinda-sorta boyfriend Daniel Craig. It turns out that Kidman's son has an immunity to the spores and if they can stay alive and awake long enough to be rescued, an antidote may be developed from his blood.

As noted, Kidman spends a great deal of time literally running through the streets of Washington D.C. I've not been to our nation's capital since I was a young boy but I know it's a very large, urban metropolitan area and on a good day, it would take a person (man or woman), a great deal of time to cover any amount of ground in the area on foot. Yet Kidman moves rapidly all over the city in a matter of minutes.

There are two main differences to this version of the material., One, the infected humans around the world act as one and end all wars, disease, crime, hunger, suffering, etc. World peace is achieved at the cost of what makes us human. And two, all of this is wiped out because a cure is found for the alien "disease" that restores things back to the chaotic way they were before the "invasion". How about that? A BODY SNATCHERS story with a somewhat happy ending.

No. An INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS film should end on a note of pure, sheer terror. The aliens are here, they look just like you and me and there's nothing we can do to stop them. Period. See the original with Kevin McCarthy screaming at passing cars on the California highway "they're here! they're here!" As always, the first movie version is the best movie version. You can't improve upon it so why do filmmakers continue to try?

THE INVASION was an expensive film to make. On location shooting and the salaries of Kidman and Craig don't come cheap, to say nothing of the director and screenwriters' pay, along with everyone else connected with the film. Why not take those talents and that budget and create something new, fresh and original? I'd pay money to see Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig in a smart, clever new science fiction thriller rather than a warmed over fourth serving of something that was really best fresh from the oven.


  1. Never even heard of this one. It must have came and went just like that (snaps fingers)

  2. Why did they mess with perfection. The original was terrifying when I watched it as a kid. Aside from Time and Again, this was also the best of Jack Finney's books and a marvelous film.