|The Invasion (2007)
Craig, Jeremy Northam, Malin Akerman
Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel
Category: Sci-Fi / Thriller
There may be only one movie called “Superbad” this weekend but only one movie really is super bad and it’s “The Invasion.” BAM! Actually, “The Invasion,” the umpteenth rip-off/remake of Jack Finney’s classic novel “The Body Snatchers,” isn’t necessarily bad per se, it’s just a giant mess that’s not very interesting. And honestly, who could resist saying that line?
Moving on, the overall narrative of “The Invasion” is tight. Nicole Kidman, looking ravishing as always, plays Carol Bennell, a Washington, DC psychiatrist who slowly begins to realize that the strange behavior of those around her is actually an alien epidemic that threatens to replace humanity with emotionless drones. As the gravity of the situation dawns on her, she struggles to retrieve her son, who may hold the key to a cure. Thankfully, the discovery that the world is being taken over by mindless automatons isn’t dragged out. Actually, one should give Kidman’s character credit for picking up on it so quickly. She is in Washington after all, or so we’re supposed to believe. It’s apparent to anyone who has ever actually been to DC that half the shots look like they were filmed in Vancouver.
Despite this, “The Invasion” has a lot going for it and should have been much better. It’s got three of the most respected and talented actors in Hollywood in Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, and Jeffrey Wright. It has source material that in capable hands could have created an uncompromisingly chilling vision. And it had the talented director (Oliver Hirschbiegel) of two superb German films in “Das Experiment” and “Downfall.” In the end, however, we are left with a film wracked with problems, not the least of which is the woeful underuse of its cast, and more aptly, a complete lack of a cohesive vision.
So what went wrong? Über-producer Joel Silver is what went wrong. Very wrong. Apparently not happy with Hirschbiegel’s initial cut of the film, he dusted the film for a year and eventually brought in – record scratch – the Wachowski Brothers (“The Matrix”) to do rewrites, who in turn brought in their lackey James McTeigue (“V for Vendetta”) to do re-shoots of action sequences. What Silver was thinking is beyond reasonable comprehension. Has replacing your writer and director in post-production ever worked, Joel? Here’s a hint. No. Never. Not once. Not ever.
When will Hollywood get it through their thick skulls that it’s always better to trust a director and his original vision? Not any time soon, evidently. After all the time, talent and money squandered trying to bolster his ego, what is Silver and his audience left with? An utterly forgettable and superficial star vehicle for people who will probably just wait until it comes out on DVD to see it anyway. You’ve made your bed, Joel – now sleep in it.