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The Invasion [Blu-ray]  [Region Free]
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Thriller starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. The mysterious crash of a space shuttle leads to the terrifying discovery that there is something alien within the wreckage. Those who come in contact with it are changing in ominous and inexplicable ways. Soon Washington D.C. psychiatrist Carol Bennell (Kidman) and her colleague Ben Driscoll (Craig) learn the shocking truth about the growing extraterrestrial epidemic: it attacks its victims while they sleep, leaving them physically unchanged but strangely unfeeling and inhuman. As the infection spreads, more and more people are altered and it becomes impossible to know who can be trusted. Now Carol's only hope is to stay awake long enough to find her young son, who may hold the key to stopping the devastating invasion.
The Invasion deserves a second chance on DVD. This ambitious sci-fi thriller represents a flawed yet worthy attempt to bring contemporary vitality to Jack Finney's classic science fiction novel, previously filmed as Don Siegel's 1956 classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Philip Kaufman's suspenseful 1978 remake, and Abel Ferrara's highly underrated Body Snatchers from 1994. And while those earlier films are superior in many respects, The Invasion is not without strengths of its own, particularly for those who prefer action and suspense. Unfortunately these strengths were compromised by the unpredictable misfortunes of production: Original director Oliver Hirschbiegel (hired on the strength of Downfall) was eventually replaced by James McTiegue (V for Vendetta), and the Wachowski Brothers (of Matrix trilogy fame) added high-octane action sequences to the original screenplay by David Kajganich. Perhaps the movie had a curse on it (star Nicole Kidman was almost seriously injured in a stunt-car mishap during last-minute re-shoots), but it's really just a matter of disparate ingredients that don't always fit together, resulting in a slick-looking film that can't decide if it's a sci-fi mystery, action thriller, or political allegory. It tries too hard to be all things at once.
Despite this, Kidman rises to the occasion with a solid performance as Carol, a Washington, D.C. psychiatrist who's convinced (with the help of costars Daniel Craig and Jeffrey Wright) that a flu-like virus is spreading throughout the population, its alien spores turning victims into soulless "pod people"... only in this case without the pods. The idea is that you'll be fine if you don't fall asleep, and especially if you don't let anyone sneeze or vomit on you. (There's a lot of vomiting; don't say you weren't warned.) With a crashing space shuttle to deliver the alien threat, cute tyke Jackson Bond as Carol's threatened son, and a nod to Kaufman's film with a small role for Veronica Cartwright, The Invasion will surely fare better on DVD than it did in theaters. If nothing else, it proves the timeless relevance of Finney's original premise, which continues to inspire a multitude of variations. --Jeff Shannon
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But before we get to the many bad things about it, the good things - its perfectly acceptable for the average teenager, which is probably the audience it was intended for, Having the protagonist technically infected relatively early on, was something kinda imaginative, I'd seen it before abd was still thinking "yeah right" at the prospect of this happening. If you're not naive, it still generates apathy more than annoyance, so it might be worth watching if you're bored.
First sign of bad horror - the people making it are calling it a "psychological thriller" because they're too good to make a horror movie.
Second sign of bad horror - its a remake where the male protagonist is now, because, you know, otherwise they'd be appearing to be thinking outside the box.
Third sign of bad horror - opening the movie without an action scene, preferably a kill, was thinking too far outside the box - so they used something from chronologically later on in the movie!
Here's why this remake doesn't work - it was made at a point where most Hollywood writers/directors/producers couldn't grasp things like "paranoia" or "subtlety" - or maybe they didn't credit their audience with the ability to understand such things. About thirty minutes in, our protagonist notices groups of people staring at her. Might suggest something was off, if we hadn't already had a panicked person run down, a small child almost killing a violent dog, and various other "coincidences".
At one point, said protagonist Craig's character if he noticed anything; he should've said "yes, because I have sensory input".
One alledged "worrying" scene has Kidman's character search a phrase, my son is not my son, on Google without quotation marks. Ever used Google before? Exactly. The thousands of results that included not, my and/or son were far from worrying.
Allegedly, the studio were trying to make a "cerebral" updating of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Does "cerebral" mean "stupid"? I mean, theres a scene here people who have been avoiding detection, one tells Kidman's character not to show emotion, and then one of their group freaks out when approached by impostors mere seconds later, getting everyone but Kidman's character infected.
Its shoddy and stupid, but not worthless; if you're just killing time, or otherwise have no expections it will probably suffice.
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There are many who complain that it is a film of different styles, because of the switch in directors during production. Perhaps there is, but if you didn't know this specifically, you would simply think the director changed style with the story progression. I don't think it jars anywhere near as much as we're told it does.
It's not a perfect film, I would probably give it a 4 & 1/2, but since I can't, I've given it a 5. The HD version has an amazing picture, that really stands out. It's one of those films that if you're ever pondering the merits of HD over SD, pop this in, and you'll remember why you bothered with HD-DVD/Blu-Ray in the first place. The real shame is the lack of extras. There's a few that are better than nothing, but a substantially longer making-of and a decent commentary are sorely missing (And would have been very interesting, given the production problems).
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