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The Invasion

The Invasion
Two stars
Genre: Science Fiction/Horror
Rated: PG-13
Directed by:
Oliver Hirschbiegel
Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Jeremy Northam, Jackson Bond, Jeffrey Wright
Released by: Warner Bros.

In Short: A good-looking cast can't save this oft-told tale of body-stealing aliens from being a predictable rehash of a Fifties classic.

Aliens Redux
One Too Many Visits from the Body Snatchers
by Jenny Peters

When Hollywood latches on to a good idea, they often have a hard time letting go. That's the only explanation for “The Invasion,” the fourth film version of Jack Finney's fine 1955 novel “The Body Snatchers.” This time out, an alien life force penetrates the earth's atmosphere by attaching itself to a returning Space Shuttle, and immediately proceeds to use the world's human population as a host, changing people into a completely new race while leaving their bodies intact.

The Invasion
The Invasion

Nicole Kidman stars as a psychiatrist and single mother of a young son (Jackson Bond). Her ex-husband (Jeremy Northam) is one of the first to be transformed, and she catches on to the grave danger of the alien invasion. She then enlists the help of two doctor friends (the swooningly handsome Daniel Craig of James Bond fame, and intense actor Jeffrey Wright) in an attempt to stave off the body-snatching invasion by figuring out an antidote to the infection.

As usual, Kidman looks terrific, but her performance lacks the emotional warmth necessary to make us want to root for her as she races around trying to save both her young son and the human race, all the while staying awake, for if she sleeps, the aliens will take over her body, too. It's a frenetic performance without any soul. Thankfully, director Oliver Hirschbiegel (a German who makes his English-speaking Hollywood film debut with the flick) at least keeps the action moving, so that the audience is able to enjoy chase scenes and flaming car crashes that distract from the leading lady's obvious struggle with her characterization.

The Invasion
 The Invasion

But the real problem with “The Invasion” goes deeper than Nicole Kidman's lackluster performance, into the reality that we all know from the first frame exactly what is going to happen by the end of the film. Will our heroine and her son make it out alive, along with her hunky co-star at her side? Most likely. Will humanity be saved? Most likely. Is there any reason to pay to see this, rather than renting the still-number-one version of this story, the 1956 film “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”? Not for a minute.


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