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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
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Tragic 1 Star

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

RE: INVASION

L: Southall Sissoko L: Mojo I loved all the scenes with survivors trying to pass off as people who were infected. ounds a bit like Shaun of the Dead... Ha, was a lot like Shaun of the Dead actually. ... More

Posted by Mojo at 17:53, 14 October 2007 | Report This Post


RE: INVASION

L: Mojo I loved all the scenes with survivors trying to pass off as people who were infected. ounds a bit like Shaun of the Dead... ... More

Posted by Southall Sissoko at 17:12, 14 October 2007 | Report This Post


RE: INVASION

I didn't think it was that bad at all to be honest. I'm a sucker for this kind of film though, and I loved all the scenes with survivors trying to pass off as people who were infected. Kidman's accent was all over the place but she was good enough, whilst Daniel Craig and Jeffrey Wright gave it some weight. The action scenes did seem a little random but were enjoyable for the most part. Wasn't as good as it should have been but certainly not as bad as all the reviews seem to be saying. ... More

Posted by Mojo at 14:12, 14 October 2007 | Report This Post


RE: INVASION

]Was certainly tense in places-the over eager census guy and the vomit inducing tube passengers but had no weighty message. Didn't Kidman and Craig look considerably younger too? Shows how long production went on for. Didn't like the flash forward sequences during conversation-cheap technique to add tension to sedate footage. Bring on "Legend". ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Mr Fallan at 10:52, 13 October 2007 | Report This Post


INVASION

Shame, so looking forward to this film. Some of the action parts just got you going, then let you down. After pub film only (just}. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by David Earl at 19:32, 12 October 2007 | Report This Post


Dave Rave

Shame, so looking forward to this film. Some of the action parts just got you going, then let you down. After pub film only (just}. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by David Earl at 19:29, 12 October 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Invasion

I do like that someone's been kind enough to put a review on the poster. Do not trust anyone. Do not show emotion. Do not fall asleep. Sums the film up perfectly. ... More

Posted by UTB at 16:51, 12 October 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Invasion

Thought it was terrible to be honest. ... More

Posted by likeinthatfilm at 12:10, 11 October 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Invasion

Does Daniel Craig do this? www.dccc.org/stakeholder/archives/body_snatchers.jpg ... More

Posted by Ghidorah at 18:39, 10 October 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Invasion

Of course it was a mess! The producers butchered the movie by letting the Wachowskis and their protege McTeigue reshoot a good portion of the movie and then combine it with the footage originally shot by Hirchbiegel. ... More

Posted by Tom Traubert at 15:28, 10 October 2007 | Report This Post


Invasion

I saw this film on hols in Washington, hoping it would be at least passable. But it was a total mess, with action scenes that looked tacked on at the last minute! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by moviemaniac2 at 12:18, 09 October 2007 | Report This Post


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