Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
What does the Bible say about intelligent life on other planets? Answer
Are we alone in the universe? Answer
Does Scripture refer to life in space? Answer
Questions and Answers about The Origin of Life Answer
|Featuring:||Nicole Kidman (‘The Hours’), Daniel Craig (‘Casino Royale’), Jeremy Northam, Malin Akerman|
|Director:||Oliver Hirschbiegel (“The Downfall: Hitler and the End of the Third Reich”)|
|Producer:||Roy Lee, Doug Davison, Susan Downey|
|Distributor:||Warner Bros. Pictures|
“Do not trust anyone. Do not show emotion. Do not fall asleep.”
THE INVASION has all the ingredients for a total upgrade from the original. It has Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, a modern theme which places you right smack dab in the middle of ‘now,’ and the automatic audience of folks who know the story well and will come to see it based on that fact. Unfortunately, there is a problem with the story telling, and that’s what takes this A-list remake of the Body Snatchers down a notch to the B-list.
What I expected, and wanted really, was to be dazzled with special effects like in the “War Of The World”’s remake and captivated by powerful performances by these two creative and talented actors. I also anticipated a lot of tongue-in-cheek references to our world situations as the previous installments dealt with it in such a wonderful social-satirical way.
THE INVASION might have had fun with our behaviors and how we allow ourselves to be manipulated by technology, or fashion, or corporate style, or reality TV, but they decided to play it safe and focus on the struggle the main character Carol Bennell (Nicole Kidman), a Washington DC psychiatrist, has in staying alive and saving her son, Oliver (great little actor, Jackson Bond) from the life sucking hands of an unknown alien force.
After the crash of the Nasa Space Shuttle, people start acting a bit strange, like zombie sleep walkers. After a session with one of her regular patients played well by the 1978 version’s Veronica Cartwright, Carol begins to deduce the unimaginable. Then, on Halloween night she cinches her suspicions when her son and a friend find a slimy oozing piece of, well we don’t know what, in their candy sacks.
Carol, who just so happens to have a boyfriend, Ben (Daniel Craig) who is a Doc and knows a scientific researcher, Dr. Galeano (Jeffrey Wright), presents them with the slimy blood streaked goo to analyze. Within a couple of days they deduce this ooze is actually a heat resilient bio-endosporum that contaminates the human body and re-programs your DNA during REM sleep, as Carol’s ex-husband Tucker (Jeremy Northam) demonstrates, the spores are passed from person to person in an icky spew of green bile. After that you become part of the organism-collective that is slowly but surely taking over the world as we know it.
While everyone around them thinks there is a really awful flu going around, Carol and Ben team up with as many uninfected people as possible to battle a total take over of Earth by this bio-slime. Their quest is to save us from the perfection the aliens offer in favor of the world we love, complete with all it’s flaws. In the meantime there is lots of tension, creepy oozing exo-skinned hollow eyed zombies, car chases and crashes and 50 cent scientific words thrown around for good measure.
As you might have already guessed, THE INVASION is not a Christian flick. It is full of people who have no spiritual roots and never turn to God for help and consolation. As in all horror films, there is creepy disturbing scenes that are not suitable for young children. I believe the rating of PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and terror is agreeable, and as always Christian parents and Christian families should just stay home and when this one comes out to rent, pass it over.
I can usually find some form of positive feature in most movies, but the fact THE INVASION is based on a Godless premise and wants only to spout on about how unsaveable this poor old world actually is, gives this warrior for Christ enough ammo to shoot it down.
That said, here’s the good and the bad (I’ve already given you the ugly):
The Bad is references to still very open wounds from the past Shuttle crash disaster that was covered so graphically by the press. Small snippets of the actual disaster were used in this film to intensify the realism of it’s Shuttle crash and it hits a nerve.
The use of current events as background noise coming from televisions and radios is a perverse idea and given as subliminal messages for impressionable young viewers, can be such a bad thing. In shards of overheard news footage, we realize that peace is breaking out all over the planet: Iraq, Israel, North Korea. Why fight when we’re all one big organism anyway? Is individuality a fair trade for global harmony?
As THE INVASION shoots forward, the audience is put in the extremely odd position of rooting for both the humans and the aliens. Instead, shouldn’t we have a movie that stands grounded on exactly what is good as opposed to what is evil?
As is par for the course with the horror genre, there are people and children in danger of harm or injury, people killed, mutilated and bloodied, bodies thrown from cars and buildings and lots of stomach turning visions, like humans slithering under the ooze of alien cocoon skins and characters throwing up into other character’s drinks, food and faces. All this, though present, is kept at a minimum and I was relieved at that. The story was kept above the gore.
There were a few instances where characters kissed, drank and a brief scene where Ms Kidman was shown undressing in her bathroom, in order to wash off the icky alien skin. To it’s credit, and to my recollection, there was no vulgar language. Drugs were taken, but not as an hallucinogenic, but to save lives.
The Good included the intense love of a mother for her child. The fact that people were willing to save the lives of those they didn’t even know. The safety of the children came first for most characters. The fact that the two primary characters, although obviously in love, only kissed and, at least not shown, never consummated their love until the end scene where it was inferred they were married.
The main male character, Ben, showed great compassion and love for the main female, Carol, knowing she was infected and may even infect him he still loved her. The intensity of that unconditional love shown by looking directly into her eyes without reservation and stated “There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you. Nothing!” I believed him and it was the most realistic sequence in this film, other than Ms Kidman’s believable portrait of a mother driven to save her child at any cost.
If you are a horror fan, which almost seems to be an oxymoron to the Christian life, you will be entertained by THE INVASION, but may go away feeling short changed by the confused story line and the serene, almost dull ending. This version of the classic book and flicks, Invasion of The Body Snatchers, never quite breaks from the stoicism and just barely limps over the finish line. The only redeeming qualities are it’s intense film sequences edited to perfection and the excellent cast of actors.
As always, horror movies very rarely give a positive message and never use God as the turning point to all of life’s, of this world’s, pain and anguish. The answer is always there, we just need to crack open our Bibles and see it.
If you want a good end-of-the-world flick, go home and watch The “Left Behind” series with your family… now there’s some life threatening, life giving action!
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: Minor
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.