Bottom Line: No…no…it’s alive…it’s invading…it’s attacking…it’s wasting my time!
Directed by: Oliver Hirschbiegel
Starring: Celio Weston, Daniel Craig, Eric Benjamin, Jackson Bond, Jeffrey Wright, Jeremy Northam, Josef Summer, Nicole Kidman, Roger Rees, Veronica Cartwright
When we first got this story, it was a low budget thriller entitled Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Everything about it worked well, from the suspenseful atmosphere to the Cold War message it delivered at the time (1956), and it remains one of the greatest B-movies ever made. We experienced the story again, twenty-two years later, in one of very few remakes that arguably improves upon the original. The Invasion is the third retelling of that chiller, and the umpteenth addition to an extensive string of ripoffs, homages, and parodies. It wants to disguise itself handsomely as an innocent, sophisticated remake, but it’s no more than what Piranha was to Jaws: an insult so clichéd and dumbed-down, it’s too hard to take offense to, and too easy to laugh at.
The Invasion sets up carrying the original premise, but once product placement, modern technology, and different characters get in the way, the premise is all that makes this an identifiable retelling. Psychiatrist Carol Bennell (Nicole Kidman) is conducting research on an extraterrestrial epidemic that has suddenly struck her hometown, and begun to spread further. For whatever reason, she feels motivated to stop the virus from taking over the world. Meanwhile, her son (Jackson Bond) has been taken away to her ex-husband Tucker (Jeremy Northam)–who is suffering the mysterious epidemic as well! Trying to discern what reaction the script is intended to draw is nearly impossible. Sci-fi thrillers aren’t supposed to make us laugh or roll our eyes at the screen. Screenwriter David Kajganich is a first-timer here; unfortunately, there was no one else to assist him or make the abysmal writing more exciting. It’s as if Kajganich has never seen a horror movie, let alone a modern one. Red-flag clichés are as much in plain sight as jewelry when we walk into a jewelry store. It makes the film disastrously obvious.
I will sheepishly admit that The Invasion isn’t every ounce terrible (although for the most part, it is). Even though it’s surprising that the film didn’t ruin the careers of Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, they’re fun to watch and somewhat bear resemblance to those who have previously portrayed their characters. But they, too, suffer as a result of a script. Let’s not go there again. Unless you can find entertainment in a stupid, unintended cross between a B-movie, a comedy, and the logo of nearly every last store at the mall, this is a complete waste of time.