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Alien Virus Returns in a Creepy Invasion

  • Eric Rice Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
  • 2007 8 Aug
  • COMMENTS
Alien Virus Returns in a Creepy <i>Invasion</i>

DVD Release Date:  January 29, 2008
Theatrical Release Date:  August 17, 2007
Rating:  PG-13 (for language, disturbing images and terror)
Genre:  Action/Drama/Thriller/Sci-Fi
Run Time:  140 min.
Director:  Oliver Hirschbiegel
Actors:  Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Jeremy Northam, Jackson Bond, Jeffrey Wright, Veronica Cartwright

Referencing the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster (where the shuttle disintegrated over hundreds of miles, scattering debris from Texas to Virginia), the filmmakers of The Invasion raise this question:  “What would happen if the shuttle carried back an alien virus on the thousands of scattered parts?”

Back in 1971, The Andromeda Strain used a similar tactic, but its virus only killed people by turning their blood to powder—not turning them into alien host clones! The Invasion borrows from the old Invasion of the Body Snatchers without totally copying the film. And this one is good!

Carol Bennell (Nicole Kidman) is a lovely, divorced psychiatrist who is about to lose her mind . . . literally.  Minutes after the shuttle crash, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is trying to get a handle on the virus. Unfortunately, it gets out of hand in a hurry, and folks begin to change. (If only they had read the movie’s subtitle [“Do not fall asleep!”], they would know that that is when the virus takes over—during REM sleep. Nothing like playing on a core human fear, huh?)

To make things worse, Tucker Kaufman, Carol’s “ex” (Jeremy Northam), a scientist at the CDC, is one of the first to be changed.  Also, one of Bennell’s clients comes in and tells her that something is wrong at her house, and her husband “is NOT my husband anymore!”  Of course Bennell doesn’t believe her until strange things begin to happen.  Soon there seem to be more aliens than normal people.  And to raise the stakes even higher, her son is with her now-alien, estranged husband. 

An epidemic is sweeping the planet, and Bennell and her friends must stop it before everyone is invaded.  Worse yet, Bennell may be infected too.  It will take belief in the impossible and an unheard-of bravery in order to combat the nightmarish onslaught.

While watching The Invasion, it was cool not knowing who was an alien and who wasn’t.  On a couple of occasions, Bennell runs into normal folks pretending to be aliens so they won’t get grabbed.  Totally fun and creepy.

Daniel Craig is Dr.Ben Driscoll, Bennell’s boyfriend and a sharp guy who really cares for her. Once he understands what’s going on, he jumps into the fray, helping to save Bennell and her son Oliver (Jackson Bond) from getting caught. Craig plays the nice, helpful, hunky, friend that will have girls lining up to see the movie.  The beautiful Nicole Kidman is also a draw, playing a good “mama bear” when her child is threatened.  Aside from her “obligatory” stripping down in her underwear and walking through the house in VERY flimsy night clothes, the rest of The Invasion settles down into a pretty tight thriller and moves at a white-knuckle pace.

The action and special effects are top-notch, and the music score has an eeriness that is not over the top or intrusive, yet underscores the mood well.  Director Oliver Hirschbiegel also did a fine job of pacing and tension, and the ending was different from what I expected—but good. 

The Invasion has a good deal of violence with some blood.  But as far as sci-fi thrillers go, the amount is very low.  There’s a PG-13 rating probably mostly for language—but with parental supervision and approval, a mature twelve-year-old could probably get a kick out of this film without being traumatized.  Also watch out for an underscore of feminism and the “you cannot trust a man” baggage that comes with that belief, as well as hints of evolution theory and humanism.  But these are not preachy enough to hurt the film.

So when they movie trailer warns you, “Do not fall asleep!”—trust me, you won’t.  As a matter of fact, you might not sleep for days!

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  No drugs; one scene of drinking at a party.
  • Language:  Several obscenities and a few profanities.
  • Sex:  None.
  • Nudity:  Protagonist wears skimpy, sheer clothing in one scene.
  • Violence:  Couple commits suicide by jumping off building, lady is hit by car.
  • Worldview:  Slight feminist slant, hints of evolutionary theory and humanism.  But the worldview issues are not prevalent enough to be distracting to the thrilling story.