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The Pod People Are Already Here!
on 12 August 2016
We currently live in an age of endless movie sequels, reboots & remakes but back in 1978, such regurgitation was not commonplace. So, when Philip Kaufman decided to remake Don Siegel's classic sci-fi film, 'Invasion Of The Body Snatchers,' eyebrows were raised. The original 1956 film had grown in stature since its release, with critics regarding it as one of the better genre films from that period, largely because they began to see the alien 'body snatchers' as a metaphor for either communism or conformity, depending on which side of the political divide they happened to be on. The genius of Kaufman's remake was to supplant the setting of the film from the moral certainties of small town America to the amoral uncertainties of the American city. As in the original, there are no large spaceships hovering in the skies above to herald an imminent alien invasion, or grave pronouncements on the news about our certain extinction, for this was an invasion by stealth; and by setting it in the city, where people don't really know their neighbours, it is so much more plausible that it goes on unnoticed. Largely unnoticed, for we have an engaging group of individuals who perceive that something strange is going on & club together to resist being taken over & forever losing that which makes them human - their individuality. After all, it would be so much easier to lay back, close your eyes & submit. In many ways, the film is about defiance in the face of authority & freedom of individual thought.
In order to heighten the increasing paranoia & mistrust, Kaufman uses strange camera angles, bizarre sounds & shots of people silently gathering. He has also assembled a great cast: Donald Sutherland; Brooke Adams; Veronica Cartwright: a young Jeff Goldblum: & Leonard Nimoy. In my opinion, it is one of the finest remakes ever made!
As well as the film, there are the obligatory extras & they are all worth a look but my favourite is, 'Discussing The Pod,' which is basically, novelist & film critic, Kim Newman discussing the movie with filmmakers Norman J. Warren & Ben Wheatley, which is heaven for a sci-fi geek like myself.