Friday, September 14, 2007

The Invasion


It seems like Nicole Kidman's The Invasion is something like a tit-for-tat response to ex Mr Nicole Kidman's War of the Worlds. Aliens from outer space, check. Estranged spouse (the cinematic one that is), check. Cute toddler kid, check. Being the only one who figures what could be going on, check. Lots of running, check. Single parent power, check. Having people clamour on your escape vehicle, check. Cop out Hollywood styled ending mocking the aliens, check. Pointless remake? Probably not, and that's its leg up against the tripods.

The Invasion is an update to the many movies based on Jack Finney's novel The Body Snatchers, and the last movie I can remember about the same was the one starring Garbrielle Anwar (that beautiful lady who tango-ed with Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman, and together like Chris O'Donnell, has already faded from the limelight). At its core the story's about how alien lifeforms start to take control of human beings by being their doppelgangers, and with behaviour like a Stepford Wife, it's definitely not appreciated by those who value their freedom and the ability to choose.

The movie did try to elevate itself from the run of the mill thrillers, in putting in not so sublime anti-war-anti-terror messages. In its cinematic world, the war on Iraq is over with the US troop pullout, and the Koreas get unified. That's because the aliens have taken over and taught us truly what world peace is all about. And therein lies the issue - if we're beings who strive for the greater good, why not let the aliens take over, instead of resisting and insisting on continuing our flawed existence? A human utopia is impossible, given our human nature to suspect, fight, and kill each other. Borg-like assimilation however, we cannot accept.

So Nicole Kidman's psychiatrist Carol Bennell and Daniel Craig's doctor Ben Driscoll (who looks just very Blond here in bland Bond like moments) seem to be the few who would take a long time being found out to be puny humans, and battle it out with the aliens in a hide and seek cat and mouse game, together with cute kid Jackson Bond as Carol's son Oliver. You cannot sleep, and you cannot show emotion, lest you be pinned down, given a taste of a tazer, turn into a cocoon and wake up a new person.

The movie does have its fair share of excitable moments, contrary to what I would have believed from other opinions of the movie, and there are genuine, effective jump at your seat episodes. While Craig is bland, Nicole Kidman is reason enough to watch the movie as firstly, she illuminates the screen with her gorgeous poise, even when she's trying to be robot like, or running around with kid in tow frantically trying to save their souls from zombie-like humans, who thankfully subscribe to the George A Romero model rather than the 28 Days/Weeks one (though I would have loved to see more energetic aliens takeover than the docile world-peace loving ones here).

My greatest beef with the show however, is how everything must be ended nicely, bright sunshine and all. Woefully typical, instead of my personal preference for an apocalyptic styled one. Perhaps therein lies the belief that we humans can provide the fix for our flaws, in good time to come, as Carol Bennell so confidently states early in the movie.

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