Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 34
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

IS HE IS OR IS HE AIN'T MY BABY?!: Dr Carol Bennell (Nicole Kidman, left) is hugging her boyfriend Dr. Driscoll (Daniel Craig), but she has nagging doubts as to whether he is really Dr. Driscoll, or has his body been infected by the alien life form and, as a result, been turned into an automaton being who is inhabiting Dr. Driscoll's body.

The Invasion: Kidman and Craig Co-Star in Remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers

The original Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), starring Kevin McCarthy, was based on The Body Snatchers, a serialized novel by Jack Finney published by Colliers Magazine. That black and white science fiction classic was set in a California town where citizens were being murdered and mysteriously replaced by identical pod people.

A faithful remake was released in 1978, followed by a 1993 version, titled Body Snatchers, which also remained true to the source material. However, the current version, The Invasion, overhauls the story while still crediting Finney as its source of inspiration.

The film stars Nicole Kidman as Dr. Carol Bennell, a psychiatrist living in Washington, D.C., one of many cities where people have begun behaving strangely after the explosion of the space shuttle Patriot during its reentry from outer space. Seems that the debris, which was scattered across a 200-mile wide path from Dallas to D.C., was contaminated with an intelligent alien life force capable of reprogramming DNA.

Soon, this other worldly life form starts causing a reaction in anyone who comes in contact with it, turning people into polite automatons willing to sacrifice their individuality to become mind numbed bodies. However, Dr. Bennell, her boyfriend, Dr. Driscoll (Daniel Craig), and another colleague, Dr. Galeano (Jeffrey Wright), try to figure out how to reverse the life force's effect on bodies before everybody is turned into easily controlled robots.

The film features a subplot revolving around Carol's frantically text-messaging her missing young son, Oliver (Jackson Bond), a spunky kid who had been left in the care of her ex-husband (Jeremy Northam) who may have been infected by the life force. While this sidebar accurately illustrates the current fad in electronic communication, it proves to be more of an annoying distraction than a useful addition to the development of the plot.

However, the front story is not any more credible. Can someone explain to me how a horror film about a scourge that's making humanity more civilized is supposed to be scary? Intermittently amusing, tautly edited, and very well-acted, the film is nonetheless hopelessly crippled from the beginning by a flawed script.

Not exactly edge of your seat excitement.

Good (2 stars). Rated PG-13 for violence, terror and disturbing images. Running time: 93 minutes. Studio: Warner Brothers.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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