Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Oliver Hirschbiegel
James McTeigue (uncredited)
|Produced by||Joel Silver|
|Written by||Dave Kajganich
The Wachowskis (uncredited)
|Based on||The Body Snatchers
by Jack Finney
|Music by||John Ottman|
|Editing by||Joel Negron
|Studio||Village Roadshow Pictures
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Running time||99 minutes|
The Invasion is the fourth film adaptation of the 1955 novel The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney, following Don Siegel's 1956 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Philip Kaufman's 1978 remake of the same name, and Abel Ferrara's 1993 Body Snatchers.
After the space shuttle Patriot crashes on Earth, a fungus-like alien life-form is discovered on the remaining parts scattered over U.S. territory. Once people come in contact with the organism, it controls them once they enter REM sleep. One of the first people infected is Tucker Kaufman, a CDC director investigating the crash.
Tucker's ex-wife, psychiatrist Carol Bennell, begins to feel something is amiss when people seem to have "changed". Her patient Wendy Lenk describes how her husband "is not her husband", and one of her son's friends acts detached and emotionless. At a neighborhood kid's party, Carol's son Oliver discovers a strange life-form. The mothers speculate about whether the organism might be in any way connected to the reports of a fast-spreading flu. Carol takes the organism to her doctor friend Ben Driscoll to have it checked. Meanwhile, Tucker uses the CDC to spread the disease further, disguising the spores as flu inoculations.
When Carol drives her son Oliver to his father Tucker, a terrified woman runs through the street screaming, "They are coming!" and then a car kills her. The police are uninterested in taking a report from Carol, who witnessed the accident. Later at a party of Ben's friend Belicec, Carol has a debate with Russian ambassador Yorish. Yorish argues that given the proper circumstances, anyone is capable of any crime or atrocity and that a world without violence would be a world where human beings ceased to be human.
Ben and Dr. Stephen Galeano, a biologist, discover how the spore takes over the brain during REM sleep. They also find that people who have had brain-affecting illnesses, such as encephalitis or ADEM, are immune to the spore because their previous illness prevents the spore from "latching on" to the brain matter. Oliver is immune to the spore because he had ADEM as a young child. Carol decides to get her son, who might show a way to a cure, back from Tucker. Before she drives to Tucker's house, she joins Ben's team, who are called to the Beliecs' house in a case of emergency. There they witness Yorish's transformation.
When Carol arrives at Tucker's house, he and several colleagues close in on her. He explains that the changed humans, devoid of irrational emotions, are offering a better world and asks her to join them. When Carol resists, he knocks her to the ground and infects her by spurting his saliva on her. She escapes and returns to Ben at the Belicecs' house. They flee when Belicec returns with more transformed people intent on infecting everyone in the house. Galeano and one of his assistants head to a base outside Baltimore, where they and other scientists attempt to find a cure for the alien virus. Carol and Ben separate to find Oliver, who texts Carol his location, the apartment of Tucker's mother, Joan.
Carol makes her way to Joan's home, pretending to be one of the infected who are now in the majority and are systematically raiding the cities in search for the few non-infected humans left. Carol manages to free Oliver and seeks refuge in a pharmacy. There she takes an assortment of pills, knowing she and her son are safe as long as she doesn't fall asleep. She sends a message to Ben informing him where to find her.
Finally Ben arrives, but Carol realizes that he, too, has become one of the infected. He tries to seduce her to give in to the new society, but also frankly states that there is no room for people like Oliver who are immune. Carol shoots him in the leg with a pistol she stole earlier from a transforming police officer, and flees with her son. With the infected closing in on them, Galeano picks them up with an Army helicopter at the last second. They head back to the base, where scientists use Oliver's blood to create a vaccine.
One year later, most victims of the infection have been cured, having no memory of the events which took place during their illness. Asked by a reporter if he considers the virus to be under control, Galeano replies that a look at the newspaper headlines should be proof enough that humanity is acting human again. At her home, Carol helps her son to get ready for school, while Ben, now her husband (they wear matching wedding bands), reads the morning newspaper. He expresses his dismay about the violence in the world, as Carol remembers Yorish's remark that a world without violence would be a world where human beings ceased to be human.
- Nicole Kidman as Carol Bennell
- Daniel Craig as Ben Driscoll
- Jeremy Northam as Tucker Kaufman
- Jackson Bond as Oliver
- Jeffrey Wright as Dr. Stephen Galeano
- Veronica Cartwright as Wendy Lenk
- Josef Sommer as Dr. Henryk Belicec
- Celia Weston as Ludmilla Belicec
- Roger Rees as Yorish
- Eric Benjamin as Gene
- Susan Floyd as Pam
- Stephanie Berry as Carly
- Alexis Raben as Jill
- Adam LeFevre as Richard Lenk
- Joanna Merlin as Joan Kaufman
- Malin Åkerman as Autumn (Uncredited)
- Jeff Wincott as Transit Cop
- Benjamin Bullard as Lone Boy
Comparison with other adaptations
- The greatest difference between this film and the novel and its earlier film adaptations is, instead of substituting the humans with duplicates grown from pods, the alien organism manipulates its victim from within the brain.
- As in the 1978 version, the aliens in this film can be seen in their original shape before they appear in human form.
- Other than the 1993 Body Snatchers, the invaders appear in a civilian environment. As in the 1978 film, this film's setting is urban, with Washington, D.C. replacing San Francisco.
- As in the novel and the first two films, the main character is named Bennell and working in the medical profession. However, here, Bennell is a psychiatrist—and a woman.
- This film lifts other names from the novel and the first two films: Driscoll is Bennell's friend and later partner (portrayed here as a male character named Ben instead of a woman named Becky or Elizabeth). Kaufman is the acquainted scientist/doctor who turns out to be an alien impostor. Also, this film uses the name Belicec for a befriended couple.
- The first time Bennell witnesses a transformation is in the house of the Belicecs—in the 1956 and 1978 films, the person in the process of transformation was Jack Belicec, here it is their guest Yorish.
- As in the 1956 and 1993 films, a young boy early on senses that a parent has changed and is not herself or himself anymore.
- As in the 1956 and 1978 versions, Kaufman first tries to seduce Bennell to become "one of them" by praising the advantages of the new society, before he uses force.
- All earlier versions had one main character reveal himself as a human being through an emotional response; here, various secondary characters react emotionally and end up being caught by the aliens.
- Again, the police play a prominent part in the takeover. In the 2007 version, the National Guard also plays a role in singling out and infecting the remaining uninfected humans.
- All the films show a main or central character trying to stay awake with pharmaceuticals to prevent the transformation.
- Body Snatchers depicted humans being systematically transformed into aliens in an Army infirmary. Here, Carol Bennell, in a back room of the pharmacy she hides in, discovers a group of humans in an identical state of transition, obviously victims of a systematic infection.
- As in Body Snatchers, the final words of an off-camera voice questions the victory humanity has achieved.
- Unlike in the original novel, the infectious spores are brought to Earth on debris from a crashed space shuttle, a plot element heavily inspired by the then-recent Columbia disaster.
In March 2004, Warner Bros. hired screenwriter Dave Kajganich to write a script that would serve as a remake of the 1956 science fiction film Invasion of the Body Snatchers. In July 2005, director Oliver Hirschbiegel was attached to helm the project, with production to begin in Edgemere, MD. The following August, Nicole Kidman was cast to star in the film then titled Invasion, receiving a salary of close to $17 million. Invasion was based on the script by Kajganich, originally intended as a remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but Kajganich crafted a different enough story for the studio to see the project as an original conception. Kajganich described the story to reflect contemporary times, saying, "You just have to look around our world today to see that power inspires nothing more than the desire to retain it and to eliminate anything that threatens it." The screenwriter said that the story was set in Washington, D.C. to reflect the theme. In August, Daniel Craig was cast opposite Kidman in the lead. The film, whose original title Invasion of the Body Snatchers was shortened to Invasion due to Kajganich's different concept, was changed once more to The Visiting so it would not be confused with ABC's TV series Invasion.
Filming began on September 26, 2005 in Baltimore and lasted 45 days. The film had minimal visual effects, with no need for greenscreen work. Instead, the director shot from odd camera angles and claustrophobic spaces to increase tension in the film. In October 2006, The Visiting changed to the title of The Invasion, due to the cancellation of ABC's TV series of a similar name. The studio, however, was unhappy with Hirschbiegel's results and hired The Wachowskis to rewrite the film and assist with additional shooting. The studio later hired director James McTeigue to perform re-shoots that would cost $10 million, an uncredited duty by McTeigue. After 13 months of inactivity, re-shoots took place in January 2007 to increase action scenes and add a twist ending. The re-shoot lasted for 17 days in Los Angeles. During the re-shooting, Kidman was involved in an accident, while in a Jaguar that was being towed by a stunt driver and was taken to a hospital briefly. Kidman broke several ribs, but she was able to get back to work soon after being hospitalized.
In May 2007, composer John Ottman recorded the musical score for The Invasion, using heavy synthesizers combined with a 77-piece orchestra intended to create "otherworldly foreboding and tension". The music was also designed to have an avant-garde postmodern style, with atmospheric and thrilling action elements.
The Invasion was originally intended to be released in June 2006, but it was postponed to 2007. The film was released on August 17, 2007 in the United States and Canada in 2,776 theaters. The film grossed $5,951,409 over the opening weekend. The Invasion has grossed $15,074,191 in the United States and Canada and $24,727,542 in other territories for a worldwide gross of $40,170,558, not able to recoup its reported budget of $65 to 80 million. The music in the trailer is called "Untitled 8 (a.k.a. "Popplagið")" by Sigur Rós.
The film received negative reviews from critics. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, The Invasion rates 20%. On review aggregator Metacritic, The Invasion received an average score of 45 out of 100.
"[…] uninspired fourth version of the 1956 sci-fi classic […] With all the shoot-outs, the screaming, the chases, collisions and fireballs, there isn't much time for storytelling." – Joanne Kaufman, The Wall Street Journal.
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- Patrick Lee (August 14, 2007). "Kidman Talks Invasion Injuries". Sci Fi Wire. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved August 14, 2007.
- Dan Goldwasser (May 25, 2007). "John Ottman scores The Invasion". SoundtrackNet. Retrieved May 9, 2007.
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- "The Invasion". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
- "Invasion, The (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
- Review in the Chicago Sun-Times, August 17, 2007.
- Review in Entertainment Weekly, August 15, 2007.
- Review in The Wall Street Journal, August 17, 2007.