Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Invasion: Grade B

The Invasion (2007)
Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig. Director Oliver Herschbiegel.

In this third remake of the 1956 classic, Kidman is a Washington, DC psychiatrist and Craig is a physician. The invaders come as spores on the space shuttle and spread through bodily fluids. But even after you have been infected the transformation doesn’t “take” until you fall asleep. Kidman starts to notice patients and friends who are “not themselves.” It’s ambiguous, because there is nothing unusual about these people unless you knew them well. They are not the easily identifiable zombies of the original movie. After a while the aliens dispense with stealth and just start killing humans who betray their uninfected status by showing emotion. The aliens argue persuasively (and with feeling!) that a world without emotion is better. Kidman and Craig race around town pursued by alien zombies, trying to get an antidote before Kidman, who is infected, falls asleep. Whereas the original movie is generally interpreted as reflecting McCarthyism and fear of communist infiltration, this version expresses fear of an AIDS-like global pandemic, called “flu” in the movie, and also fear of totalitarian government (the aliens go for the police and government officials first – an odd choice). The moral dilemma, whether humankind would be better off without its “animal” passions, is displayed, but not examined. The story is more campy than a serious exploration of any idea. It is a well-done film, although I miss the big green pods. Both Kidman and Craig turn in good acting. I am mystified by Kidman’s boob job, which is prominently on display. Why would such a talented actor with such a beautiful face do that to herself? Maybe she is an alien.

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