The original Invasion of the Body Snatchers was an excellent sci-fi horror film that was a thinly veiled message about McCarthyism. The ’78 version was a pointed satire about materialism. The third version, done in ’94 was about putting too much faith into the military. This fourth (and by far the most expensive) version is all about… the studio trying to make some money.
Without a strong central subtext, there’s no real reason to do another Invasion of the Body Snatchers movie and the resulting mess plays out like a Pod Person version of the original film.
An alien spore comes to Earth after a space shuttle crash and turns everyone who comes into contact with it into collective drones when they fall asleep. When a psychiatrist (Nicole Kidman) gets a rash of patients coming to her claiming that their loved ones are acting strange, she shrugs it off as just another day at the office, but when her husband (Jeremy Northam) turns into a drone and kidnaps her son, Kidman must rescue him while trying her best to remain awake.
You’ll have trouble staying awake too.
What makes this version different from the other Invasion movies is that the alien infection doesn’t spread from pods being placed next to the person while they sleep; but a virus you get from someone puking in your coffee. So now instead of humans turning into Pod People, they turn into Puke People.
You can always tell who’s a Puke Person because they always talk in a monotone voice. And you can always tell when someone is trying to turn you into a Puke Person because they always show up with a cup of coffee and a stupid smile on their face. And when you don’t drink the coffee, the Puke People get fed up and up and puke in your face.
So what we have here is not really Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It’s Invasion of the Puke People. The Invasion isn’t a terrible movie, and if the film did it’s own thing (The Puke People are a nice touch) instead of being a third rate remake of a beloved classic, it MIGHT have worked.
Although the three previous versions of the film had an obvious but unobtrusive subtext, this one hits the audience over the head non-stop with POSSIBLE allusions (Bird flu virus, Ritalin popping kids, the war in
This was a troubled production and it shows. The initial director, Oliver Hirschbiegel was replaced by V for Vendetta helmer James McTeigue for studio mandated re-shoots, with The Wachowski brothers of The Matrix fame coming in to do some serious script polishing. I couldn’t tell you for sure, but the idea of puking on people and turning them into alien drones smacks of the Wachowskis to me.
Despite the film’s patchwork unevenness and numerous missteps, it does have at least one memorable sequence. While trying to elude the Puke People, Kidman inadvertently crashes her car and is knocked unconscious. A teeming mass of Puke People try to break into the car while Kidman’s son frantically tries to wake her up. It’s a pretty tense moment and if there had been more of them, The Invasion may have been a passable rehash. As it is, it’s just another in a long line of pointless and shitty remakes.
Kidman and Craig were also in The Golden Compass together and Craig and Wright co-starred in Casino Royale.