“The Invasion” is a remake of the classic “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. This time around, Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig are the heroes that uncover the diabolical truth behind a secret plot to take over the world. This is a film that has been re-made several times before, in various forms. Each time, the film is turned into a heavy-handed metaphor for the current political climate. That is most certainly the case this time around as well, as the oblivious citizens are expected to accept everything their leaders tell them, no matter how implausible that information might be. I’ll spare you the pop politics, but the parallels between the Bush administration and the story are rampant.
I don’t have the slightest problem with films that use metaphors as long as they are done in a subtle and graceful way. Unfortunately, there is absolutely nothing subtle and graceful about this film. Forty minutes in, there is a montage scene that is meant to shock the viewer, “The Usual Suspects” style, by showing a series of fast cut images to help the viewer put together the plot in their own minds. The real problem is, by the 15-minute mark, the whole of the plot is obvious to even the most oblivious viewer, and the remaining hour-and-a-half are spent laboriously trudging through to the inevitable conclusion.
The script may be lame, but at least the film looks fantastic. Quite honestly, the only reason to see this film anyway is to ogle Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. This HD disc looks fantastic and sharp. It hits the perfect balance between a slick new digital movie and the look of film in a theater. This is truly the best of both worlds. Grain is fine and subtle, and black levels are amazingly deep. Colors look great as well, and they are skillfully used to help convey the emotions felt in the film.
The audio track on this HD DVD is actually TOO dynamic. Quiet scenes are truly whisper quiet, which forces the viewer to turn the volume way, way up. Whispers are often followed by a loud noise, however, which goes beyond the usual jump scare, and is actually painfully loud. It’s as if this film never went through a final mastering process, but was just presented in its raw form. The sounds themselves are perfectly fine, but the levels are all over the board.
For an HD disc, this release is pretty light on the extras. There are three electronic press kit featurettes here, which essentially add up to about 10-minutes of advertisements for the film. There is also a 20-minute documentary called “We’ve Been Snatched Before: Invasion in Media History”, just in case, you know, you didn’t catch all the blunt symbolism of this movie the first time around. Neither of these extras adds anything to the proceedings, and I would be plenty upset about the lack of extras if I actually cared about this film.
Part of the problem with this film is that it came along three years after the brilliant film “Shaun of the Dead” hit cinema screens. Once viewers have seen how good a zombie movie can be, no amount of slick camera work and attractive people can make up for such a tired script. This is one of those films that was plagued from the start with problems with the studio, including the firing of one director, and even bringing in the Wachowski brothers to pinch hit on some of the more difficult action sequences. The result is a muddled and oversimplified mess that, I am surprised to say, I’m not even comfortable recommending as as rental.