The Invasion

Cover Art and Menus: 7/10
The cover is fine and dandy. That’s right folks, I like this DVD cover. Stranger things have happened, I’m sure. This cover has a hint of the 50’s Horror/Sci Fi movie posters which is pretty cool. It does have the stars pasted on, but that’s fair. The menu is blah, a pop up Blu-ray menu that has about as much personality as, well, most DVD menus:)

Features: 4/10
The first feature isn’t really a feature, but it’s worth a mention. When you put the Blu-ray disc in the player and it loads an amazing thing happens, the movie plays. That’s right, no trailers, no barrage of garbage to go through before the feature presentation.

  • We’ve Been Snatched Before Featurette – A highly produced segment that reminds us this story is not original.
  • The Invasion A New Story Featurette – A highly produced segment that reminds us that this story is not original.
  • The Invasion On The Set Featurette – A highly produced segment that reminds us that this story….um… I mean, it’s got some talking head interviews about making the movie.
  • The Invasion Snatched Featurette – A semi-weird and completely forgettable extra that does nothing more than feed any paranoid fertile minds some tid bits about epidemics and germs taking over the world.

Movie: 6/10
Microbial aliens survive exposure to the frozen vacuum of outer space, not to mention the violent fiery decent through Earth’s atmosphere as a space shuttle explodes delivering the infected debri and starting the invasion. Got it? It sounds amazing. I want to see any movie with that kind of by-line. The good thing is I have several to choose from. In 1956 and 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers movies came out. Before and after there have been others from all corners of the world. It’s not an untouched subject, that’s for sure. The thing is, it’s pretty timeless, like zombies, like Bond, like love stories. There is something about the story itself that’s very inviting.

So, with an idea as cool as tiny alien bacteria taking over the world, does every movie that explores the subject cool too? Hmmm unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. I did like this 2007 version, Invasion. I can’t deny that I was entertained and had a few unexpected reactions to isolate moments. Kidman was good. The kid was watchable and did a fine job. The look, style, pace, and overall presentation of the movie was very good, in fact I could say it’s a case of style of substance for me. The saving element being the story of the micro-alien invasion that destroys us one person at a time. Now, that isn’t really true. I mean, the invasion brings some type of peace and harmony to the race of humans by wiping out our emotions and leaving us kind of robotic, functional but empty. The planet will be without war, no hunger, no strife..etc. That’s a good thing, right? Part of what I lose is that feeling of global threat. We see clips on the news about what’s happening everywhere else, but I still feel like only this city, Washington DC is in danger.

Speaking of Washington DC, this is a clue to the underlying political message, if you are looking for it. Some people are immune to the infection/invasion, so they are going to be destroyed. It is parallel to the idea that mass numbers of people are willing to follow even the most atrocious political leaders sacrificing individuality because of fear. Those who do not go along are segregated, and eventually destroyed. So, is it ok to destroy a few for the betterment of the majority?  I know that’s part of the intended under current of the story. I take it on a more personal level, though. Do I want to follow society and trends and be a zombie created by the media, advertising, late night shopping channels, magazines, talk shows, and self help gurus? Or do I choose to think for myself and have my own opinions, my own personality, even if it’s not going with the crowd? I know which one I choose. I’d fight the invasion, no question. Even if the promise of peace and perfection were real, losing yourself in the process, not an option.

That covers my personal interpretation of the story. Now, back to the movie. Kidman is good enough and her character is intriguing enough to make me care about her and what her ultimate fate might be. The biggest issue I have with the movie is that she’s the only one I care about. I would say I worry slightly about the young boy, just a default thing I suppose. Bond, or as he is otherwise known, Daniel Craig doesn’t do much to give me that attachment to his character. If he were to be taken over and turned into a zombie-ish mindless alien humanoid I would be fine with that. That goes for Jeffry Wright too. What a shame. That guy is sooooo good in Broken Flowers and other films and this time he’s just, blah, flat. He’s the scientist who gives us all the facts, but it’s boring and muddled and all I could hope for was that he get assimilated. Leading me to another thing that was distracting. The main characters happen to be a Psychiatrist, played by Kidman, who reminds us that as a society we often sedate and medicate people who are different or who can’t cope with life like the rest of us, essentially zombiefying them on purpose. And then there’s the doctor played by Craig, who conveniently answers our medical questions. And finally a scientist played by Wright, who explains things to us, mundane detail by mundane detail. This is one of those things that can bring a movie from great to good to not-so-good. Not caring about the fate of the main characters is something I can’t seem to overcome no matter how excellent the rest of the film is. Now, let me say that Veronica Cartwright (Alien, Invasion of the Body Snatchers 78) is THE most interesting character in the whole movie. She plays a patient of Kidman who is trying cope with a violent marriage. She is the first to claim that something is wrong. “My husband is not my husband.” and even though we only see her a few times I was more interested in her, more concerned about what was happening to her than anyone else.

There are a lot of beautiful scenes, visually this movie is a pleasure. The director does a great job of making sure this isn’t your typical horror/thriller. The subtleties are there, but often get lost in that grey matter around those characters I care nothing about.

Overall I like the movie. I enjoy thinking about the possibilities of the tiny DNA invaders. What I don’t like is that it’s a little closed up for me, that feeling that only one place is really effected even though they try to make it seem global. The story, the style, and the leading lady are the things I appreciate and that entertained me. The missing pieces of the puzzle that could have come together to make me really dig the movie are more characters to care about, more locations around the world, and more of a sense of doom. I like doom.

Audio & Video: (By Ascully) 8/10
The lack of features on The Invasion Blu-Ray Disc actually benefit the disc in terms of picture and audio quality, Warner chose to use a 25GB single layer disc which still keeps the bit rate at over 30KBPS most of the time. This makes the image look incredibly crisp and since the movie is dark and moody the dark scenes have superb contrast. TrueHD and a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track are also included and both sound great, this is a more dialog driven movie though so don’t expect intense explosions and the like. Overall The Invasion on Blu-Ray is a great choice for the HD enthusiast.

Value: 3/10
Nope, this is not a movie or DVD worth the inflated Blu-ray price tag. It’s good enough for a rental or a download from your online rental service. The extras are pretty low key and the movie doesn’t have much impact, not enough for 30 bucks anyway.

Overall Score 6/10