Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Invasion

Not much to say about this one, other than that it's part of the swoon at the end of summer. Kind of matches the dog days of August, I guess - I wound up walking to Boston Common after missing the bus to Reading for Harry Potter 5 (actually, the first in a three-bus chain, but I'll talk about that when I get to reviewing that movie), and it was crazy hot. So I'm worn out by the time I get there, and the movie doesn't excite me. Just one where you sit there and take it as a reason to soak in a couple hours of air conditioning

The Invasion

* * (out of four)
Seen 25 August 2007 at AMC Boston Common #3 (first-run)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is one of the stories that's worth pulling out and remaking once a generation or so; the basic theme is something we all feel even if the details of why change over time. So despite the knee-jerk reaction some might have against remakes, The Invasion wasn't a bad idea at the concept stage. The question is, then, just where did things start to go wrong?

Fans of the space program might say it's in the first few minutes; its images of a disintegrating space shuttle strewing debris across the country might seem to match a recent real-life disaster a little too closely. Instead of the toxic materials used in the shuttle's construction, though, the danger comes from a virus that has hitched a ride to Earth on it. Center for Disease Control investigator Tucker Kaufman (Jeremy Northam) is exposed, and after a night's sleep, he wakes up different, less ruled by his emotions and looking to share this gift.

Maybe the problem was with the leads. I generally like Nicole Kidman (playing psychiatrist Carol Bennell) and Daniel Craig (as Dr. Ben Driscoll), but they fail to click here, either singly or as a couple. There's nothing especially individual about either of them; even Carol's maternal instincts to protect her son and Ben's "I really want to be more than friends" thing are pretty standard-order. This was probably intentional, on a certain level - have the threat of transformation bring out stronger emotions while the people around them get numbed - but it doesn't quite work out that way. The two of them react well, but they're not really given characters to play, a potential disaster when the point of the story is how the virus is sapping people of their emotions and individuality.

Full review at HBS.

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