The Invasion. How many people knew this was being released? I didn’t. Seems Warner Bros. didn’t put a lot of stock into either; no premier and a limited amount of advertising basically ensured this movie would receive little to no fanfare. Makes a person wonder whether the movie is worth watching, if the studio that made it didn’t think enough of it to market it, doesn’t it?
If you did manage to catch the trailer or a commercial you’d know The Invasion is really just the third (or maybe the fourth) remake of the science-fiction horror classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers, that has been dressed up to accommodate today’s political and socio-economic landscape. In this rendering, the alien virus has hitched a ride on the fragments of the space shuttle Patriots’ (in reality it would have been the Columbia) debris. It gains a quick foothold in the populace since the wreckage has dispersed over such a large area and pieces of it are being bought and sold on Ebay. Individuals don’t succumb to the virus until after they’ve fallen asleep, at which time the alien bug takes over the hosts mind and body. Upon awakening, the carriers retain all their memories — they’re just devoid of any personality or emotion. They’ve become walking, talking zombies; model citizens and “perfect” humans.
Rumor has it the original 1956 movie had its own political agenda – fighting the growing tide of Communism where people either assimilated to the will of the people or were purged (director Don Siegel denies it). The difference between that movie and The Invasion is that the directors of this rendition (Oliver Hirschbiegel and James McTeigue) put the current state of affairs on the forefront of the movie. Throughout the movie, we’re fed news about the war in Iraq, tensions between India and Pakistan and the civil unrest in 80% of the African nations. It’s meant to show how terrible we are as a people and that on the grand scale, emotions are the cause for all the worlds grief.
On the smaller stage we’re shown what human emotions are good for – loving and caring. To begin, we’re introduced to loving mom and divorcee Dr. Carol Bennell (Nicole Kidman). Early on she is made aware of the plague due to her keen perception (she’s a psychiatrist suddenly without patients) and her incredible doctor friends Stephen Galeano (Jeffrey Wright) and Ben Driscoll (Daniel Craig). They’ve managed to identify the contagion and figure out how it is spreading well before the government can react (another slap on the Bush presidency?). They devise a way to get to safe harbor when out of the blue that ugly thing called emotion sticks its head up again. Carol must save her son Oliver (Jackson Bond) who is stuck with his altered father Tucker Kaufman (Jeremy Northam) in Baltimore.
At this point The Invasion becomes a typical run-for-your-life-to-survive movie. Carol hauls ass through subway tunnels and back alleys. She hides in basements and deserted stores. She gets into car chases. She’ll take down anyone, including friends and family, who gets in the way of her reuniting and escaping with her child. All this because a mother’s instinct to protect and nurture overrides all sensibility. Damn emotions!
While The Invasion isn’t anything earth shattering, I for one, did enjoy watching Nicole Kidman’s performance. The job she does here is really the only thing keeping this movie afloat – plus she’s great to look at. Other than that, you’re really better off watching the original film as opposed to this. Scratch that. I’d actually recommend seeing the 1978 remake starring Donald Sutherland over the original. It may very well be the best remake ever made.