The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday February 8th

'Invasion' can't seem to snatch cohesion

An eerie and truly interesting take on a more subdued kind of alien invasion fails to overcome a disjointed plot in "The Invasion." Yet another remake of 1956's "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers," this "Invasion" centers around psychiatrist Carol Bennell (Nicole Kidman) and friendly doctor Ben Driscoll (Daniel Craig) attempting to stop a cosmic goo from taking over the minds and bodies of humans. The capable premise pits everyday, emotion-filled humans against a microscopic alien organism from a wrecked space shuttle. Once infected, the victims become politely detached drones, spreading the infection by vomiting into the faces or drinks of others. The best part of the film is this idea: Contrary to the vast majority of alien invasion movies, there is no violent takeover, no cinematic battles and (thankfully) no Tom Cruise. Those that realize that something is wrong must quickly learn to conceal their emotions or else be caught by the growing hordes of civil zombies. The film's atmosphere alone makes it intriguing. But the film's action sequences feel tacked-on, perhaps because saying the movie was directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, (whose credits include the acclaimed "Downfall") is only partially true, as studio execs apparently didn't like his version. Several other big-names were called in to rework Hirschbiegel's efforts, including the Wachowski brothers ("The Matrix") and James McTeigue ("V for Vendetta"). The unfortunate effect is similar to a frat party when too many people arrive - everyone only gets a half cup from the keg. The editing exposes the film's troubled childhood. The plot jumps in an unconventional manner that is ultimately tiresome and confusing. Kidman's forgettable performance and out-of-place southern accent, and Craig's uninteresting character don't add anything to the movie, either. The movie also attempts to convey relevant social message with scattered shots as contemporary allegory, but it seems to be confused about what exactly the message is supposed to be. At one point, a television set in the background shows news of peace accords worldwide as a consequence of governments under alien control. Other than this moment, the majority of the references don't add to the film. The movie could have finished as an eerie but flawed sci-fi thriller if it weren't for a disgustingly tidy and quick ending tainting the overall experience. A bit of cohesiveness would have served "The Invasion" well, and it would have been nice to have seen where Hirschbiegel meant for the plot to go. Instead, we're stuck with a forgettable sci-fi thriller with great ambiance that even scratches the surface of being socially conscious, but one that is inherently defective, leaving viewers staring at the credits as blank and unemotional as the aliens. Contact the Diversions Editor at dive@unc.edu.


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