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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
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POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Daniel Craig
Nicole Kidman
Jeremy Northam
Jeffrey Wright.
Directors
Oliver Hirschbiegel.
Screenwriters
Dave Kajganich .
Running Time
99 minutes

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The Invasion
Hollywood screws up a solid-gold alien-possession classic


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Plot
Following a space shuttle crash, people start acting oddly. Psychiatrist Carol Bennell (Kidman) and doctor Ben Driscoll (Craig) figure out that alien spores are turning the population into lobotomised zombies as soon as they go to sleep.


Review
The Invasion
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When Jack Finney wrote seminal sci-fi novel The Body Snatchers in 1955, he could never have anticipated what an enduring, all-purpose metaphor its central premise would become. It wasn’t even, in truth, a particularly original one - Philip K. Dick beat him to the punch by a year with his short story The Father Thing, and the concept of psychotic delusions that turn out to be real can be found throughout literature. Nevertheless, it was Finney’s take that has become immortal, thanks less to his prowess as a writer and more to the fortuitous timing of the 1956 Don Siegel adaptation and the then-prevailing climate of Reds-under-the-bed paranoia.

In short, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers is regarded as the gold standard of metaphorical sci-fi. Whether that metaphor was ever intended is debatable - as is the question of whether it stands for McCarthy’s attempt to cow the American public or for the subversive forces of international Communism. In fact, it’s possible that the ’56 version of Body Snatchers is so intriguingly of its era because the satirical slant was not purposely embedded. Which, skirting the excellent 1978 Phil Kaufman and Abel Ferrera’s half-decent 1993 version, brings us to The Invasion and its most serious, but by no means only, flaw.

Although not the disaster that US critics and dismal box office might suggest, The Invasion, which stars Nicole Kidman as a psychiatrist and single mother (who, for no good reason, describes herself as a “postmodern feminist”) and Daniel Craig as her doctor chum (who, because the writers forgot to give him a personality, doesn’t describe himself as anything) is not only deeply unsatisfying but also, in its desperation to win points for au courant-ness, philosophically troubling. And, frankly, offensive. Try this on for size: the upshot of a mysterious alien virus that turns everyone into soulless pod people is that it spells the end for all the despicably bad stuff that we do to each other. In other words, slaughter in Iraq and genocide in the Sudan are part of what makes us human. Ergo, pacifists and liberals equal soulless pod people. That can’t, surely, have been the message the filmmakers had in mind, but that it can be - and inevitably is - interpreted that way is an indication of The Invasion’s sloppiness.

Nominally directed by Downfall’s Olivier Hirschbiegel with, reportedly, extensive re-shoots by James McTeigue, the film is by turns ponderously slow (ten minutes of Kidman trying not to fall asleep does not constitute high-octane action) and inexplicably frantic. At one point someone, without apparent motive, pelts Kidman’s car with a Molotov cocktail which, for the simple reason that it looks kinda cool, keeps burning at fireball intensity until the car slams into a concrete pillar. There’s a couple of effectively chilling moments - Kidman’s Night Of The Living Dead-style doorstep encounter with a pod-peep, for instance - but it’s mostly pedestrian, predictable and riven with continuity errors, while the CG ’toons of the virus ricocheting around a bloodstream are laughable.


Verdict
If not a train-wreck, this is certainly more than a fender-bender. In a world overflowing with targets for a satirical pasting, we needed something a lot sharper than this.


Reviewed by Simon Braund

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Invasion
Empire Star Rating

Makes Surrogates actually look quite ok!

I would normally write an actual review...but not for this. Awful, just awful! - There that was a review, wasn't it? Best thing about this dribble - Daniel Craig's hair....and that's dreadful too. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by BennyBoo81 at 14:32, 30 June 2014 | Report This Post


RE: The Invasion.......oh dear

Not even Bond? ... More

Posted by thetruth at 23:40, 24 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The Invasion.......oh dear

Its the worst film out of the 4 invasion of the body snatchers.  Even bodysnatchers was better than this drivel.   Daniel Craig  and Nicole Kidman could not save this film ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ncc74656 at 10:36, 19 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The Invasion.......oh dear

Hey,no probs. This film was 4 years ago,and as awful as i felt it was then,i was disputing the opinion there could be anything beyond the souless surface. ... More

Posted by thetruth at 12:43, 10 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The Invasion.......oh dear

L: thetruth You can indulge yourself with all the revisionist bullshit price of being human nonsense you want. Whatever man, that definitely comes across as more of an insult than 'swapping opinions', but either way I've got better things to do than start a long running argument so let's just agree to disagree. Like everyone you're entitled to your opinion and so am I. ... More

Posted by brucejackiejet at 10:34, 10 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The Invasion.......oh dear

L: UTB I quite enjoyed this, to be honest (the 1978 version is probably my favourite horror movie). It's a bit lacking in pace, certainly, but it takes the previous incarnations and adds a different riff on them. Kidman is dull, but then she is in most things. ,the 78 film is class,though the original black and white one is very creepy! ... More

Posted by thetruth at 10:17, 10 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The Invasion.......oh dear

L: brucejackiejet L: thetruth L: brucejackiejet L: Lycan Worst. FIlm. Ever. I just had to post this because I watched it last night and am still so angry that I have lost almost 2 hours of my life on such a poor film. Ha ha, this made me laugh - if this is the worst film you've ever seen then you've been luckier than me in your film choices aw this last night and quite enjoyed it. My favourite is the 1956 original and it wasn't a patch on that but still, I certainly w... More

Posted by thetruth at 10:15, 10 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The Invasion.......oh dear

I quite enjoyed this, to be honest (the 1978 version is probably my favourite horror movie). It's a bit lacking in pace, certainly, but it takes the previous incarnations and adds a different riff on them. Kidman is dull, but then she is in most things. ... More

Posted by UTB at 09:43, 10 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The Invasion.......oh dear

L: thetruth L: brucejackiejet L: Lycan Worst. FIlm. Ever. I just had to post this because I watched it last night and am still so angry that I have lost almost 2 hours of my life on such a poor film. Ha ha, this made me laugh - if this is the worst film you've ever seen then you've been luckier than me in your film choices aw this last night and quite enjoyed it. My favourite is the 1956 original and it wasn't a patch on that but still, I certainly wasn't bored and the ru... More

Posted by brucejackiejet at 08:54, 10 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The Invasion.......oh dear

L: brucejackiejet L: Lycan Worst. FIlm. Ever. I just had to post this because I watched it last night and am still so angry that I have lost almost 2 hours of my life on such a poor film. Ha ha, this made me laugh - if this is the worst film you've ever seen then you've been luckier than me in your film choices aw this last night and quite enjoyed it. My favourite is the 1956 original and it wasn't a patch on that but still, I certainly wasn't bored and the running time seemed to ... More

Posted by thetruth at 01:10, 10 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The Invasion.......oh dear

L: Lycan Worst. FIlm. Ever. I just had to post this because I watched it last night and am still so angry that I have lost almost 2 hours of my life on such a poor film. sp; Ha ha, this made me laugh - if this is the worst film you've ever seen then you've been luckier than me in your film choices p; Saw this last night and quite enjoyed it. My favourite is the 1956 original and it wasn't a patch on that but still, I certainly wasn't bored and the running time seemed to pass ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by brucejackiejet at 09:21, 09 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The Invasion

L: Caster You'd think.  But...no. sp; Oh yes it is ... More

Posted by Newander at 17:08, 18 June 2008 | Report This Post


RE: The Invasion

You'd think.  But...no. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Caster at 19:17, 16 June 2008 | Report This Post


RE: The Invasion

Sounds worth a rent. ... More

Posted by Timmy_Brisby_05 at 09:13, 16 June 2008 | Report This Post


RE: The Invasion.......oh dear

Saw this last night and quite enjoyed it, better than some of the reviews i've read about it., It was creepy in parts, action packed and overall entertaining. Nicole Kidman was good, as she is in most things and the laed kid, what a cutie ... More

Posted by Newander at 08:03, 16 June 2008 | Report This Post


The Invasion.......oh dear

Worst. FIlm. Ever. I just had to post this because I watched it last night and am still so angry that I have lost almost 2 hours of my life on such a poor film. How on earth can Kidman and Craig look (two great actors) live with themselves after making this. An insult to movie-lovers everywhere. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Lycan at 09:11, 29 February 2008 | Report This Post


This really isn't a bad film

I dont really agree with reviewer's baulking at the idea of an end to atrocities as part of the take over. The whole idea of the collective mind theme is that it would strip us of what it means to be human and yes, that means killing each other at a rate of knots but it also means there would be no art, no beauty, no love and I think the question being asked here is - is an end to war and suffering worth it at the cost of all the positive things that make us what we are? It's short-sighted to c... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by mrwinky99 at 12:41, 27 February 2008 | Report This Post


Alright, Nothing Special.

Okay, it's got two of the most hottest stars around Hollywood and a horror story in tow. But the big question is:, why on earth was it so crap? Nicole Kidman was SOO Annoying, she can not act and it's proven in this. The only good one out of the lot was Daniel Craig and he's sexy, he could do a lot better than this though I did enjoy him in a officer's jacket and hat! The scares are frightening but very short, it got on to it way too quickly and too damn short. It's a shame because I was really ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 13:30, 26 February 2008 | Report This Post


When?

When will this be released, or has it been released already? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tallaght24 at 12:24, 07 February 2008 | Report This Post


Meh

Not bad but not really good either, which begs the question "Why bother remaking a film that's already been made at least four times?" Kidman is good but that's about it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Caster at 22:17, 23 January 2008 | Report This Post


Dreadful....you wandered what everyone was thinking on this one. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Deeznutz at 14:33, 01 January 2008 | Report This Post


Dumb Fun!

This is a movie I vow to defend because of how much I enjoyed it in comparison the truly spiteful reviews I have read about it. The Invasion may be flawed, mainly due to the obscure editing and silly script, but the fact remains that its entertaining. Nicole Kidman does a brilliant job in my eyes and Daniel Craig is doing alright in it as well. The ending is a nice touch as well. There are a few tense set pieces here and there and the idea remains extremely strong. My advice is to ignore the cri... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by 02PARSIM at 17:41, 20 October 2007 | Report This Post


RE: The Invasion

*****POSSIBLE SPOILERS*******   I quite enjoyed this though its obvious in places its been hacked apart and pieced together rather than being edited, especially in the first half of the film. Maybe on dvd we could get a directors cut and see it how hirschbiegel originally intended to be? There isnt that much action in the film, it works more on playing on your paranoia and is quite suspensful and creepy in parts.   It does suffer from moving too quickly though in terms of char... More

Posted by MartinBlank76 at 08:55, 17 October 2007 | Report This Post


RE: The Invasion

SPOILERS! Ok I admit it I liked yes I liked and enjoyed this movie. It`s by no means a perfect classic remake. There are moments where some of the acting and cluncky dialogue slip the film into self parody. Nicole Kidmans US accent is terrible and her reaction when Veronica Cartwrights character tells her her husband isn`t her husband is unintentionally amusing and like Anna Farris in a Scary Movie scene. There is also another unintentionally amusing moment when one of ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cruisecontroller at 11:00, 15 October 2007 | Report This Post


The Invasion

POSSIBLE SPOILERS The Invasion really ain't that bad,certainly not as bad as some reviews might make out urse it pales in comparison with the classic 1956 Invasion Of The Body Snatchers,which is a great movie,and the 1978 remake,which if not great is still pretty good. But I reckon it's at least as good as the almost forgotten 1993 version. Maybe it's something to do with the basic idea,which is probably impossible to totally screw up. Entities out to take over everyone in the world,with... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 21:41, 14 October 2007 | Report This Post


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