The Invasion (2007) Review

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THE INVASION

** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- Do Not Trust Anyone. Do Not Show Emotion. Do Not Fall Asleep.

Release Date- August 17th, 2007

Running Time- 99-Minutes

Rating- PG-13

Screenplay- David Kajganich

Director- Oliver Hirschbiegel

Starring- Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Jeremy Northam, Jeffrey Wright with Roger Rees and Veronica Cartwright

Released in 2007 the Invasion is the 4th adaption of the classic novel the Body Snatchers written by Jack Finney back in 1955, which was later retitled to Invasion of the Body Snatchers to match the film. The original Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which was released in 1956 is one of the greatest sci-fi/horror films of all time and actually improves upon the terrific novel and I’d rate the film as one of my personal favorites as its simply a great chiller. The 1978 remake is one of the few remakes I’d rate higher than the original as it improves on an already great film and what the film added takes it to another level. To me the 1978 version is quite chilling with an incredible amount of paranoia as within the first couple of minutes the tension already starts building. The 3rd version titled Body Snatchers was a solid film with some eerie moments and even though I liked the film its far below the first two films, which brings us to the Invasion. The problem here is the film is quite pointless as another version really wasn’t needed. One could even say that about Body Snatchers and while that film added nothing new it was still a fair enough film. The Invasion attempts to bring a new twist on the concept, but it just didn’t work unlike the 78 version, which shares a few scenes in common with the original, but than adds its own twist on things, but still keeps true to the concept without rehashing it. Even Body Snatchers to some degree avoided being a rehash and while the Invasion more or less avoids that it does stray from the concept and just comes across as a cheap knockoff.

I love films about alien invasions with my favorite kind being films like Invasion of the Body Snatchers where just by looking you can’t tell the difference between a human and alien. I’d rate the first two in the series very highly with again the 78 version being my favorite and one of my very favorite films of all time. Even if I don’t rate Body Snatchers as highly its still an enjoyable film as I’m just a sucker for the concept and when I first saw the Invasion I quite enjoyed it and really didn’t get the dislike the film seemed to get. While it was for me far inferior to the first two films I’d rate it just a notch below Body Snatchers, but upon revisiting the film it just doesn’t quite hold up and I found it quite a chore to sit through. Like I said I just love alien invasion films in this style I also loved the Faculty and They Live, which puts a nice twist on the alien invasion film, but the Invasion was for the most part a failure with some decent, but poorly executed ideas. Based off my last viewing I’m not even sure why I liked the film in the first place and as the film went on I found myself losing interest, which was quite a departure from my first viewing. Perhaps with all the negative feedback and being such a fan of the first two I had lowered expectations? Whatever the reason is the 2nd time around I found the Invasion a mess. The film was plagued by production troubles as it went through massive rewrites and reshoots and upon my first viewing I didn’t really notice it, but seeing it again its quite clear and the flow of the film is quite sloppy.

After returning to earth a space shuttle explodes and brings an alien virus that takes over the human population.

The screenplay was written by David Kajganich and apparently Andy & Lana Wachowski were brought in for rewrites. The script as mentioned as a few decent ideas, but the script is quite sloppy and these ideas fail. I’d have to see Kajganich’s final draft to fairly say if the issues were his writing or rewrites, but unlike the past 3 versions the characters are all bland and at least for me I didn’t find myself really caring if anyone survived. As silly as it might sound my biggest gripe is the fact there aren’t any pods. I’ll give Kajganich credit for trying to bring something new to the series when the easier thing to do would be just follow the exact same formula as the past three films, but in the end the film just feels like a cheap knockoff. The one aspect of the script I did like was on how when everything is normal again our world is again plagued by violence and war and this had it been used more throughout the film could have added another dimension to the film.

The Invasion was directed Oliver Hirschbiegel a German filmmaker who with this film made his American debut and with all the production troubles Hirschbiegel was later replaced with James McTeigue for reshoots however only Hirschbiegel is credited and I have no idea, which filmmaker is responsible for what. While the Invasion attempts to build mystery and suspense from the start of the picture it never quite works. Despite the films best intentions it never quite has the paranoia of the other versions in particular the 78 version. The pacing can be quite sluggish in spots and as stated the film never becomes as eerie and suspenseful as it tries to be. The flow of the film is also a bit sloppy, which most likely has to do with two different filmmakers. Some of the other problems are some of the worst CGI I’ve seen in a Hollywood release and the only thing worse is the atrocious editing where the film jumps all over the place with no flow. I’d have to see the original cut by Oliver Hirschbiegel, but quite honestly I’m not sure how much better the Invasion would fair since the entire film has issues, but I do think rewrites and reshoots added to the problem.

Another issue was the casting. While Nicole Kidman is a very good actress I’m not sure she was the right choice and while she was failed by the writing, Kidman offers nothing interesting in the role of Carol Bennell. The one area this remains true is you can trick the aliens by showing no emotion and if one didn’t know any better you would think Kidman’s character was an alien the entire film as she shows zero emotion. Daniel Craig while onset learned he was cast as James Bond in Casino Royale and Craig has become my favorite Bond, but like Kidman he wasn’t right for this film and his performance suffers from the same issues. Its not that their acting was poor, but rather quite boring. The only real bright spot was Veronica Cartwright who appeared in the 1978 remake.

Overall the Invasion just simply a subpar film and I’m sure some of these issues are due to rewrites and reshoots, but I still think the film would have issues. As stated I enjoyed it upon my first viewing, but the 2nd time around I’d keep checking how much time was left. It was a nice idea to try and inject something new to the series, but again it just feels like a poor knockoff film.

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