BOTTOM LINE: An intelligent premise and themes are evident in this film, but “The Invasion" doesn't thrill or scare, and is so flat dramatically to be not worth caring about.
THE GOOD: As a remake of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers", this film starts with great source material and the premise this time around is intelligent alien microbes which have the capacity to integrate with human DNA and take over their minds and bodies. The premise alone is creepy, but also a very intelligent sci-fi motif that we haven't seen in a long time. Although the film sets itself up as a sci-fi / horror, its strongest points are in its themes; there's a discussion of what it means to be human, particularly as the victims of the alien microbes are essentially transformed in to automatons who behave no differently to each other. The aliens offer peace and tranquillity they argue, but as one character remarks at one point in the film, without the ugly side of humanity, we would no longer be human. “The Invasion" sports a great cast, headed by a very decent Nicole Kidman and the always great Daniel Craig.
THE BAD: Remakes of great original films don't tend to work well and this remake of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers" is no exception. The major problem is that the film is so flat. We have a story about intelligent alien microbes slowly taking over the bodies of every human on the planet and not once do you feel thrilled, or scared, or even a little creeped out by what's going on. There are a few scenes of horror when we see how people are transformed in their sleep, or when one of the ‘snatched’ people spits the alien goo on to a victim to spread the microbe, but these moments are few and far between and don't deliver the effect that the idea intends to. On paper this all probably works, but the direction taken for the film is very lacklustre and boring. The film falls off the rails in the last act when it just ends without any sort of dramatic build-up or climax; one day the humans wake up and they've stopped the virus. Aren't we smart?
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Todd Murphy is a staff reviewer at the film/DVD review web site, All About Movies.net - for all the latest reviews on the newest releases. He also contributes reviews and articles for the Digicosm Film Blog: http://www.filmannex.com/Digicosm