In “The Invasion”, Nicole Kidman stars as Carol Bennell, a D.C. psychiatrist with a successful practice, a loving son, and a best friend in Ben Driscoll (Craig), the steely eyed doctor she struggles to maintain a platonic relationship with. When a mysterious flu-like epidemic starts sweeping the city, Carol and Ben begin to notice changes to people all around them, especially Carol’s ex-husband, Tucker (Jeremy Northam), with whom her young son Oliver (Jackson Bond) is currently staying with. With the help of one of Ben’s colleagues, Dr. Stephen Galeano (Jeffrey Wright), Carol and Ben discover that the virus is actually a sort of symbiotic entity of extraterrestrial origin that takes over its human hosts while they sleep! Infected, herself, Carol must race against time to save Oliver, as he may hold the secret to humanity’s salvation.
This umpteenth cinematic iteration of Jack Finney’s “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers” served as director Oliver Hirschbiegel’s (“Das Experiment”) English language debut, but, apparently, the finished product wasn’t up to snuff, requiring quick rewrites from the Wachowski brothers, and new footage shot by director, James McTeigue (“V for Vendetta”). The film, which was in the midst of shooting when Daniel Craig was named the new James Bond, actually didn’t hit theaters until after Craig’s “Casino Royale” was released, meaning “The Invasion” was a long time coming. Were the changes worth the delays? It’s hard to know, really, as so much of the film was reportedly reshot and rewritten that little more than a skeleton of Hirschbiegel’s original film remains, but the final product is an often tense and exciting thriller with a dynamite cast, some truly effective scares, and a sobering message that offers an unconventional spin on Finney’s original story, including an ending that may throw fans of the book and its subsequent film adaptations for a loop (for better or worse).
Warner Brothers presents The Invasion on Blu-ray disc with a lush and vivid transfer that suffers from a slight amount of orange “push”, mostly noticeable on fleshtones during nighttime interior sequences. It’s not distracting and, to be honest, my wife thought me crazy for pointing it out, but it’s my job to nitpick this sort of stuff, right? Otherwise, The Invasion looks pristine, with deep blacks, clean lines, and nary a hint of grain or artifacting.
Oh, and Nicole Kidman sporting form-fitting outfits in HD…well…that’s worth the purchase alone.
The True HD soundtrack is remarkably well-balanced as The Invasion’s sonic spectrum runs the gamut from creepy whispers to pulverizing aural assaults (especially during the “transformation” sequences). Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout, with wonderfully projected sound effects providing a truly immersive sound experience.
Extras consist of three very short featurettes about the film, as well as "We've Been Snatched Before", which is a creepy little gem that focuses on real world microbes and bacteria that have infiltrated our airspace are presented in 1080i VC-1. I'd have loved to see more about the making of the film, but, given its troubled production, I'm not surprised at the lack of in-depth material, here.
The Invasion is a smart and welcome addition to the Body Snatchers' family of films, as it offers a fresh perspective, a slightly altered protagonist, and an interesting (although purists may consider it blasphemous) conclusion that sets it apart from previous adaptations of the story.