The original 1956 INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS was a response to McCarthyism and Cold War paranoia, so there’s no reason this remake (the fourth iteration) couldn’t have worked in a similar modern context—a paranoid thriller about terrorism, war, the threat of worldwide disease…the opportunities are endless. Sadly, the closest thing we get to subtext are ridiculous TV news reports about U.S. foreign policy (I swear I saw a photoshopped picture of George W. Bush and Hugo Chavez together) and a long boring speech laying out the moral of the story. It’s like someone took freshman college courses in philosophy, genetics and post-modern theory and decided to write an alien movie. Then, in case you missed the subtlety, narration at the end literally sums up the film’s non-existent thesis.
There are a few tense moments here and there, but almost all devolve into laughable fits of extraterrestrial vomiting or ridiculous chases. Not being able to tell who’s an alien would’ve upped the suspense, but the infected are so obvious and outlandish that it’s almost funny. Hirschbiegel also enjoys flashing forward to things that haven’t happened yet, which is one of the most worthless cinematic devices I’ve seen.
The strong cast is wasted, including Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, and Jeffrey Wright, who’s basically given pure exposition to say. It’s not the actors’ fault, more the written characters. It’s a movie; plot contrivances are expected. But you can’t ignore the fact that Kidman’s ex-husband is the head of the CDC and a top alien, her new boyfriend is the brilliant doctor with high ranking connections who figures out the what’s going on and how to fix it, and her son is the one who holds the genetic cure. That’s just shitty writing.
We’ve Been Snatched Before (18:50): A variety of doctors, professors and “experts” talk about epidemics like bird flu, West Nile virus and SARS to try and scare you to believe that something like THE INVASION is possible. A waste of twenty minutes.
THE INVASION: A New Story (2:55): A quick worthless PR fluff piece.
THE INVASION : On The Set (3:21): This may be the shortest Making Of extra I’ve ever encountered.
THE INVASTION: Snatched (3:12): I honestly have no idea how this featurette is any different than the previous two.
Extra Tidbit: Pretty much the only part of THE INVASION that I enjoyed was seeing Nicole Kidman standing at my Metro stop here in Washington DC. That practically makes us best friends.