Friday, August 19, 2016

Invasion (with SPOILER)

I've been fascinated with the cult classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers since I was a kid. Something about the mounting paranoia (a theme in many of the great movies from the 1970s), the creepy vacancy of the pod people, the robotic aggression.... Although I've seen the original version from the 50s (I think?), but it's the 1978 one with Donald Sutherland that haunted me.

So I couldn't resist watching a remake from the early 2000s starring Nicole Kidman, Invasion. While the 70s version played with anxieties about social conformity and conspiracy, this version is all about new virus hysteria. The pod people aren't in pods anymore, they are a virus transmitted through bodily contact and they majorly fuck with the immune system. Like earlier versions, the infestation comes from outer space, but it has much less of an alien theme. It's all about medical technology and the super-duper important scientists need to quickly figure things out and come up with an antidote. Another big difference is Invasion is cluttered with news stories about the takeover constantly on TV and in the background -- emphasizing the invasion as a national emergency, rather than an individual horror. It's a noisy, cluttered, panicked circus, not a slow, quiet, ominous takeover.

In all the versions I've seen (including one from the 90s that I'll post about in a second), the ending is always grim. The final scene of the Donald Sutherland one stuck with me forever. But Invasion doesn't go there. Instead, the crackerjack team of scientists come up with an antidote ridiculously quickly. Humanity is saved, and no one remembers when they were trying to kill each other. Ugh. Also, crazy car chase scenes and gratuitous moralizing about the trappings of ego, blah blah blah.

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