Sci-Fi / Action

The Invasion

Distributed By:  Warner Bros. Pictures


Reviewed by Ismael Manzano

 

I was very excited when I saw a preview for the movie The Invasion, because, as many of you who follow my works are aware, I am an avid science-fiction fan. The premise looked familiar—alien presence taking over human minds to take over the world—but something about the trailers  had  me convinced that this movie would offer something different than the norm.  So the moment I had a chance, I went to see it.

This latest remake of the classic Body Snatchers movie chiefly follows Carol Bennell (Nicole Kidman, Bewitched, Cold Mountain), a successful psychiatrist with her own practice, a young son Oliver (Jackson Bond), and a loving boyfriend, Ben (Daniel Craig, Casino Royale), who is caught in the mist of a silent alien invasion.  When a U.S. shuttle suddenly and mysteriously crashes to earth, spreading debris for miles around, Carol’s ex-husband and government investigator, is exposed to an infection from one of the metallic shards.  The infection—actually an intelligent viral alien being—takes over his mind as soon as he falls asleep and from him, the infection spreads across Washington via body fluids (spit, blood, etc).  The modified humans all appear normal, except they show little emotions, but in their brains have been retooled and are thus unified in the common goal of infection the entire human race. 

Under the guise of a strong flu strain, the alien virus continues to spread throughout the U.S. at a rapid pace.  Only a few manage to avoid the infection and even fewer still are immune, but together they try to survive in a world that is becoming more and more dangerous to anyone who is not exactly like the rest.  In the mist of all of this, Carol is struggling with a much simpler, but no less emotional trauma of trying to reunite with her son Oliver, whom she left with his father before finding out about the invasion.  What follows is a series of suspenseful chase scenes and tension-filled moments in which Carol tries desperately to find and then protect her son from the onslaught of once-human-aliens. 

Overall, I thought the story was good, but predictable and unnecessary.  It built suspense, it held it for quite a bit of the movie, but there was little or no surprise to the plot and that was its greatest sin in my opinion.  I might recommend this movie to avid sci-fi lovers or anyone who has not seen this ‘Body Snatcher’ theme repeated in countless television shows and movies.  In fact, the only original thing in the story was the incorporation of our current war on Iraq to make a backhanded social commentary about the state of our humanity.  And even that was not strongly reinforced throughout the movie, only mentioned here and there, lost along the way. 

If they had intended for that theme to run more prominent throughout the movie without being overt, they might have reduced the scales and made the dilemma more personal to the main character—have Carol with a husband fighting in Iraq or an older son being lured into the violence of a local street gang, or even have it stated that someone she’d love had died in a terrible and violent way.  The writers could have come up with just about anything to make the struggle more intimate to Kidman’s character, something that might convince the viewer that she might actually prefer to submit to the invaders’ promise of peace, that there might be a chance that something unpredictable might happen.  But unfortunately for me, the writers did not utilize this clearly marked avenue of opportunity and instead stuck to formula.  Well, it was entertaining for the most part, so I would not call it a complete waste of time.  You might enjoy it.  
 


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