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Remo D
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Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2000 10:00 pm
Location: Marina, CA U.S.A.


Post by Remo D » Sun Aug 19, 2007 10:57 pm

Oh, did I ever have mixed feelings about this one. I've managed to see the three previous BODY SNATCHERS movie on the big screen and I've enjoyed each and every one of them. And in "this day and age," I believe that the concept could work yet again.

Then I heard about the reshoots and the "more action" mandate. And no PODS? No PODS whatsoever? Hey--they may have invented the "point and scream" thing for the SECOND one, but the PODS are the series constant!

Except--well--it's not a series anymore. You could almost envision the first three films as a trilogy (forgiving the character-name coincidences and other similarities between the first two films)... it started in a small town, went to a big city and ultimately spread to a military base. This new INVASION no longer connects--it's a reboot (gee, just like Daniel Craig's previous film, what a coincidence).

Okay--most of the world hates it, but Mick LaSalle likes it. So at the VERY least, if I end up hating it, I can throw LaSalle's review of SUNSHINE back at him and say "Oh, I forgot... you like GOOD movies like THE INVASION!"

But the truth is that the film isn't completely awful.

It starts off remarkably well, in fact--even without the pods, the space spore does its job in a similar fashion... you just have to be infected BEFORE you go to sleep in this case. And our new Doctor Bennell, Nicole Kidman, is quite believable and sympathetic as her family, friends and psychiatric patients gradually go the way of the smiling, static mass of conformity--there's fine acting, robust characters and well-keyed suspense as she realizes the situation is getting out of control.

Oh, but there's also a gross-out deal we never had before... like I said, you have to 'catch' the infection, so THESE "pod people" hock loogies into your coffee if they can't just cough in your face. Okaaaayyyyyy, then...

The film (especially to those of us familiar with the scenario) does appear to run out of steam, but I'm not sure how much of this has to do with the Wachowski rewrites. Comes a point where Nicole's desparate, losing attempt to stay awake starts to catch up with the audience... but is this due to a lack of action or due to a rearrangement of the material? There's some fine stuff (untouched upon by previous adaptations) that show the superficial "upside" of a pod takeover--namely, world peace (we're explicitly handed the end of the Iraqi occupation and other real-life conflicts)... but here's the problem--this material doesn't show up until well after our protagonists are sufficiently terrorized for the sake of their humanity. In other words, the audience doesn't even get a chance to consider the false possibility that the pods might actually be the good guys, which could have made this the most intriguing series entry yet. (It's far better than the notion that these pods might be "curable.")

No, instead, when we hit the lull, the powers that be decide that we need snap crackle and pop to wake us up. And I don't mean the desperate, gloomy bids for action that Kaufman and Ferrara engaged in near the end of their respective entries... I mean rousing car and helicopter chases and things blowing up while exciting music blares on the soundtrack. Well, that might work for some, but generic action is NOT the antidote for a lack of pacing in such a project, which needs to maintain the attention of the audience with snappier writing and characters burning up with nervous energy (after seeing A SCANNER DARKLY and ZODIAC, I'm convinced that THIS movie needed Robert Downey, Jr. more than anything!).

At once relevant to and a victim of its movie-going era, this INVASION sadly comes off as the least of the bunch. But it's not the complete and total train-wreck they're warning you away from, either. This is one for the students, not the fans.
My dog's breath smells like peanut butter...

...and I don't even have a dog!

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Griff [Mola]
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Joined: Mon Oct 18, 1999 10:00 pm
Location: Perth, Australia.

Post by Griff [Mola] » Mon Aug 20, 2007 6:29 am

I'm a huge fan of the Siegel and Kaufman versions and found the Ferrara exercise enjoyable also. Now, the fact that I have zero interest in checking this out indicates a real fuck up on somebody's behalf cos if they can't attract the build-in audience, they're already in trouble.

So after BODY SNATCHERS and THE INVASION can we expect another remake in ten years time or so called OF THE?

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