Tuesday, February 19, 2008

SENSE SNATCHER


Even though it got lousy reviews, when I watched the latest version of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, geniusly titled Invasion (2007), I was hopeful for many reasons...

 1) Jack Finney, author of the original source material, a1955 book "The Body Snatchers”,  also wrote one of my favorites, the time travel romance novel “Time And Again” (1970). Surprisingly that book hasn't been made into a movie yet (Redford was attached at one point), instead it’s been ripped off a number of times, Somewhere in Time (1980) etc.

 2) I’m a big fan of Don Siegel’s original film version, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1956).

 3) I'm an even bigger fan of Philip Kaufman’s 1978 remake. I think that version starring Donald Sutherland, is pretty much a perfect thriller. 

 4) I went and saw Abel Ferrara’s 1993 version Body Snatchers, though I vaguely recall not being very impressed. I’m now curious to go back and rewatch it. 

 5) Finney's Pod-people ideas have been used dozens of times from Ira Levin’s cult novel and it’s film version, The Stepford Wives (1975) to more recent junk like  Disturbing Behavior (1998) and The Faculty (1998).

 6) This new version is directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel who made the incredible claustrophobic last days of Hitler flick Downfall, was maybe my favorite film of 2005. Apparently he was fired from Invasion at some point and replaced by James McTeigue director of one of my other favorites from 2005, V for Vendetta

 7) Even though Nicole Kidman seems to have terrible taste in material, I still think she can be a captivating actress (To Die For, last year's Margot At The Wedding) and yeah, she has sometimes can suck as well (Cold Mountain). I still feel she has the potential with each performance to do something interesting (and she is very good in this).

 8) I’m not one of those anti-remake types. Some films can be improved on with an updated take, like the '78 Invasion Of The Body Snatchers did. Some remakes might not be better then the original but I’m glad they exist, for instance I... (this is gonna  be sacrilegious to some of my fellow movie nerds...) l really dug the the 2004 Dawn Of The Dead remake. And hey, as much as I admire Wages Of Fear (Clouzot 1953), I like it’s remake Sorcerer (Friedkin 1977) much more.  

Typically of most modern remakes, the 'new take' that this Invasion offers, is more action, more violence and lotsa car chases and even more car crashes. Instead of an oddball food critic, Donald Sutherland and his weird friends. We have a  Soccer-mom who manages to become Mad Max in a ‘deathproof’ auto.

 

Why do I feel obligated to explain why I watched this mediocre film? 

After all Invasion’s completely forgettable. It’s biggest sin is brainless mediocrity.

I only started this writing because I wanted to ask: Did anyone else who might of  sat through this Invasion, noticed the giant plot holes, I did? I mean, I was jarred awake by what a mess this is, I even rewound to see if I missed something.


SPOILER’S AHEAD:  

For those of you with a life, who won’t waste your time watching this, I’ll fill you in, this versions new ‘twist’ at the end.,,,,  

A happy ending! Hooray! It’s just a curable virus. And you can come back from being a pod person! 

The great actor Jeffrey Wright wasted here playing the ‘explainer’ of all things scientific, wraps it all up nicely for us, with a... scientific explanation!  (Check him out, great in the Shaft remake (2000) double-teaming against the title-hero with super creep Christian Bale


MY BIG QUESTION:  Follow along...

a) Okay, one of the first scenes with Kidman, her kid has a nightmare, she gets in bed with him. 

b) The next morning (Halloween) out of nowhere Kidman’s poddish husband calls, surprising her by announcing he wants the son to visit him, 

c) That night while the kids are trick-or-treating Kidman tells her friend, that her son has been having nightmare for the last three nights, ever since he found out, that he had to go visit his dad.  

BUT, they just found out that morning. The dad just got podized that night before!

Am I right? Anyone? Anyone?

RANTS (from my late night soapbox):  

Maybe I’m making a mountain out of a mountain, but it was one of many questions I had. This just reeked of a messy edit. 

-  Like that jump cutting scene where all of a sudden Daniel Craig went from pitching woo to Kidman to racing around in a cop car with her. Where did that come from? 

-  How did the ex’s neighbor kid end up on the train with her?

-  Why cast Jeremy Northam as the pod-god ex-husband?  The guy’s a really charismatic actor, (see An Ideal Husband  (1999),  Gosford Park or Enigma, both 2001. Etc.). He is not used to his strength here, playing ‘robot’. Though he did remind me a little of charisma-free pod-guy Mitt Romney.

-  Speaking of which: The guy claiming to be a census interviewer, who tries to break in Kidman's door, looked just like crackerjack-ace Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward

-  I generally hate kid actors. And generally find adult movies about “rescuing a kid” annoying.  And I hated this kid.

Maybe because I’m barren and heir-less, I don’t relate to that maternal instinct (whereas I understood in Cloverfield why the kid wanted to go back and save the girl. I thought, yeah, she was so hot, I’d risk my life to get to bang her again, too).

-  Another good actor with nothing much to do here, Daniel Craig. I thought for the longest time his character was gay, and maybe the pods were gonna be an allegory for society denying gay people (hey that woulda been a better film).

Were the ‘twists’ toward the end with his character 'shocking'?  I saw both of his 'transformations' coming from a mile away.  

-  The original is often called an allegory about it’s time (the American ‘pod people’ who went along with and allowed McCarthyism and the phony cold-war paranoia). This new version seems to think it has something relevant to say about our world, but it’s doesn't bother going all the way. 

A background news reports: (when we become pod people) we finally withdraw from Iraq. To me, ironic, since the reason we got into Iraq in the first place was because we are pod-people. Hey, who needs creatures from outer space to control us? We already have greedy corporations, lazy media and pussy politicians! Most Americans are already too apathetic and useless to even bother voting).

-  Since, becoming a Pod-Person proves to be a curable curse, in the end, Kidman's fighting it was pointless. In retrospect she must be thinking, “Why did I bother, I should of just gone to sleep”. Right now at Two AM, that’s what I’m thinking,

-sweeneyrules

1 comment:

James Toupe said...

I enjoyed it. But those are good points. I did not catch those errors. I did not know it's a remake. I'm going to watch the other one. Thanks for the tip