26 August 2007

Mooney at the Movies: The Invasion

Kidman keeps an eye out. (Warner Bros.)

The Invasion (B+)

Starring Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Jeremy Northam, Jeffrey Wright
Written by Dave Kajganich, The Wachowski Brothers (uncredited)
Directed by Oliver Hirscheibel, James McTiegue (uncredited)

Okay, you can stop rolling your eyes. Yes, this is the third remake of the original classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers. And you could call it unnecessary, but to do that would have you miss out on one of the year’s most entertaining movies.

For those new to this story, an alien virus is gradually infecting the human race, turning once functional human beings into "pod people," automatons who look just like your spouse or neighbor, but show no emotion and speak far too plainly to be the people you know and loved. Nicole Kidman plays Dr. Carol Burnell, already suspicious of her jerk of an ex-husband (Jeremy Northam), who out of the blue wants to see their son (a precocious but compelling Jackson Bond). As more and more higher-up officials (including her ex) become infected and spread their virus, eventually unveiling an all-but-mandatory vaccine against "the deadliest flu in 30 years."

Now, each generation seems to get their version of this movie with its invasion representing a current issue (in the '50s, it was Communism or possibly the privacy-invading fight against Communism; in the '70s, it was the lack of trust of well, anyone; and in the '90s, it was possibly the AIDS crisis). This version could very well represent fearmongering, but to me there was also touches of the Bible, with false prophets offering "peace when there is no peace." And that's part of what makes this story so timeless, the invasion can represent any number of issues to any viewer. And although the recent poor box office performance may prevent future remakes of this story, this is a tale that can continue to be updated for years to come. It seems the only credentials may be to keep it thrilling, and The Invasion certainly fits the bill.

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