Saturday, September 01, 2007
The Invasion (2007)
Now that I've seen it, I can't say that I find it very good, but it certainly is a lot more interesting than I was expecting (not necessarily a good thing). For one thing, this is the first version of the story that isn't a horror movie - this one's an action thriller with car chases and guns and nothing really all that scary or creepy. The closest this comes is that the body snatchers this time aren't pod people, but space spores who can infect a person like a virus, which means that this is the first movie I can think of where somebody projectile vomits mucus into Nicole Kidman's face - something I wholeheartedly applaud, but more silly than scary.
This movie also differentiates itself by being more overtly political than the other versions. This one's a police state/New World Order/the-Bush-administration-is-evil version, which is sort of a good idea in concept but not really in execution, because the paranoia feels applied, affected, not organic or based on anything but the filmmakers' own sense of ire.
The movie has one other halfway intriguing notion, which is that the world under alien control magically is one without war - the blessings of totalitarianism. The movie means to end on an ambiguous note, as if to pose the question, maybe peace and human emotions are incompatible? An idea which I think is basically stupid. Why should we need to choose between a peaceful world and one in which the human race doesn't consist of pod people? Come on guys, if you're going to do ambiguity, come up with an idea that's more complex than this.
Finally, this movie is a good example of form not meeting function. It's a glossy, expensive movie with good-looking movie star Nicole Kidman in the lead, taking place in a series of expensive houses and offices. The production design and cinematography are clean and precise. All of this is completely wrong for a movie that wants to illustrate a contrast between messy, emotional humanity and cold, efficient pod people. The last scene of the movie takes place in a clean, chrome- and marble-covered kitchen with two little kids wearing identical school uniforms watched by Nicole Kidman's unlined, pretty face. And these people aren't the dehumanized drones?