When filmy spores fall from space and take root in San Francisco, the city is beautifully transformed by spectacular and exotic flowers. But these lovely extraterrestrial blossoms have gruesome plansfor their earthly admir... more »ers: to slowly clone their bodies« less
Dated but one of the best sci-fi drama plotlines that you will ever come across. The special effects were great since someone physically created them instead of today's overdone and unrealistic CGI. Donald Sutherland is at his best!
DON'T FALL ASLEEP WATCHING THIS MOVIE!!!
Dave Cordes | Denver, CO | 08/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a perennial classic that absolutely terrified me as a child and still holds up after nearly 30 years and is one of the best and rare examples where a remake actually surpasses the original ala John Carpenter's The Thing. Director Philip Kaufman crafts a suspenseful science-fiction masterpiece about the dehumanization of humanity by investing in the personalities of very emotional human characters that break the mold of two-dimensional cookie-cutter stereotypes. Donald Sutherland and Brooke Adams have a genuine chemistry with great supporting roles by Jeff Goldblum and Veronica Cartwright. Adding to the eerie atmosphere we also get a very creepy and surreal performance by Leonard Nimoy as a pseudo-intellectual psychologist that will completely alter your perception of Mr. Spock forever.
I had the pleasure of watching this film again late at night after an exhausting day of work which is the perfect state of mind to be in. Struggling to keep myself from nodding off I could relate even better to the characters and their conflict by forcing myself to stay awake, not because the film is dull or boring, heavens no, but because as a child I believed, however irrational it may seem, that if I fell asleep watching this film that I too would be transformed and replaced by a pod. Funny how the innocent superstitions of childhood can resonate in our subconscious after so many years.
The new 2-disc collectors edition DVD is definitely worth replacing the old one if you own it, which seems almost like an analogy of the film itself which is finally presented in anamorphic widescreen with Dolby digital sound and director commentary by Philip Kaufman if you really want to test your insomnia. The second disc contains some nice featurettes like "Re-visitors From Outer Space, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Pod" featuring new interviews with Donald Sutherland, Veronica Cartwright, Phillip Kaufman and screenwriter W.D. Richter who reflect on the lasting appeal of the film and provide some interesting anecdotes about making the film. "Practical Magic: The Special Effects Pod" goes into the the organic photography of the alien spores and "The Man Behind the Scream: The Sound Effects of the Pod" features Lucasfilm's sound guru Ben Burtt who designed and mixed the sound effects after completing Star Wars to create the film's unforgettable and disturbing sound design. "The Invasion Will Be Televised: The Cinematography of the Pod" also goes into the production design and chiaroscuro lighting used to compose the forboding look and mood through light and shadow to invoke dramatic Hitchcockian suspense, and lastly the original theatrical trailer is included as well. There's more than enough material here to keep you awake for hours but should you find yourself feeling a bit tired just remember one thing; no matter what happens... DON'T FALL ASLEEP!"
A different invasion for a new era
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 07/22/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Made at the height of communist fears and McCarthyism, the original version of Invasion was a film dictated by its time. Many critics see it as a metaphor for A)the effect of communism or B)a metaphor for McCarthyism. Both the original author Jack Finney and director of the first film Don Siegel denied this. For Finney it was an entertainment an example of the paranoid world we live in. For Siegel it was much more complex. It was a metaphor for the urbanization and denial of our humanity in an age of reason and logic. Both are rich interpretations and luckily neither one effects the marvelous entertainment value of the original film.Phil Kaufman's update (it's not really a remake as little remains of Finney's novel beyond the concept and only the bare bones outline of Siegel's film)deals with the same theme of Siegel's film; it's about the dehumanizing aspect of the urban world we live in. Kaufman, though, daringly set in in the heart of the urban myth on the West Coast--San Francisco. Donald Sutherland plays Matthew Bennel a public health inspector. He's got varied and interesting friends including one of his co-workers Elizabeth Driscoll (Brooke Adams). She comes to Bennel complaining that her husband isn't himself. He's uncommunicative, emotionless and won't really talk to her. She suspects her husband is having an affair and follows him. She discovers he's exchanging these odd looking packages with people they don't know. Bennel suggests that she speak with a pop psychologist he's friends with and that he might have a rational explaination. Dr. David Kibner's (Leonard Nimoy)suggestion is more down to earth. He's seen this a lot lately and compares it to a virus--but a psychological one. He suggests that she's just lost touch with him and that she needs to reach out to get him more involved. Bennel's writer/poet friend Jack Belicec (a very young Jeff Goldblum)believes Kibner's explaination and his book are garbage. His supportive (quite literally as she earns the money with her mudbath salon)wife Nancy (Veronica Cartwright)believes Jack's a little jealous and that Kibner might be on to something. Until Nancy discovers a body in her salon. It resembles--vaguely--Jack who had fallen asleep in the salon. They call Bennel as they're afraid it might be the body of a customer with some sort of communicable disease (the metaphor at the cusp of the AIDS epidemic captures the pulse of San Francisco during this time). From there, stranger things begin to happen particularly when another friend appears to be in the process of being "duplicated".Kaufman's film holds up very well. While not as important as Siegel's ground breaking film (Siegel has a cameo with original star Kevin McCarthy and Robert Duvall as a priest at the beginning), it is a valid and very good reinterpretation of the original classic film. Kaufman makes San Francisco claustrophobic and threatening. The brooding cinematography adds to the sense of menace as does the interesting at times atonal score. W. D. Richter's (Buckaroo Banzai, Big Trouble in Little China) screenplay plays with many of the elements of the original film and has a number of set pieces every bit the equal of the original film.All the actors give strong performances. Nimoy in particularly plays off his well known character of Mr. Spock in the early scenes with his touchy-feely pop psychology. Sutherland and Adams have considerable chemistry. Interesting note is that Sutherland did many of his less physical stunts. Kaufman was game but Sutherland's assistant told Kaufman he had the "clumsiest man alive" running around twenty feet off the ground and implied he was inviting disaster.The DVD transfer is good. It's a bit dark but the colors are fairly true to the original prints I've seen. The print is also quite good although there are quite a few analog artifacts that crop up throughout the film. Still, it isn't distracting. The stereo soundtrack sounds surprisingly good given the age of the film. It is a tad bit compressed. The extras include a running commentary by Phil Kaufman and trailers. There's also a nice booklet with inside information and trivia included. The film is included in both pan & scan format and widescreen on a dual sided disc (not surprising given the year it was first manufactured --1998). It's a nice package altogether. While Invasion lacks the surprise of the first film, Kaufman knows enough to play with audience expectations and familarity with the original film from the beginning. This is to his advantage. He also manages to include a considerable amount of social satire (something common in many of his films). While his direction isn't quite as self assured as it would be when he made The Right Stuff, he manages to keep the action moving and inspire intelligent performances from his ensemble cast."
Fibrous Fiends From Outer Space
Bruce Rux | Aurora, CO | 05/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The best of three very good big screen adaptations of Jack Finney's classic sci-fi novel is the closest thing to a filmed nightmare you're likely ever to see.This entire picture is a horror masterpiece. Director Philip Kaufman puts together a hell of a movie, colorful, claustrophobic and atmospheric. Donald Sutherland and Brooke Adams head-up a stellar cast, including Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright, Leonard Nimoy, and even Robert Duvall in an early blink-and-you've-missed-him cameo. Kevin McCarthy reprises, more or less, his role from the original 1956 film, initiating Sutherland and Adams on a nightmare ride of alien invasion that escalates to apocalyptic proportion.There's not a thing wrong with this movie. Denny Zeitlin's eerie, atonal electronic score highlights the often very unsettling visuals, which include disintegrating people, fibrously materializing doppelgangers, and a dog with a human face. The script is flawless, succeeding - like Finney's novel and the original movie - by presenting us with recognizable people facing an impossible reality, updated for modern times. The actors underplay the tense melodrama, making it all the more dramatic when they're ultimately driven to screaming madness.I can't recommend this movie highly enough. If you're a horror or science-fiction fan, or simply love a wonderfully performed, tensely scripted melodrama, this movie is for you. Warning: this film is very, very disturbing, at times. You might want to keep it on the upper shelf."
They're coming! They're coming!
Greg Hughes | 01/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Invasion of the Body Snatchers" is one of the earliest science fiction films I remember seeing. A superior remake of the 1956 original, it's both chilling and funny. In San Francisco, people are beginning to "change". They seem to lack feeling. This is because they are not human, they are replicas, grown from seeds that came to Earth from space. Donald Sutherland plays a health inspector. His friend and co-worker (Brooke Adams) tells him that her husband seems different. Over time more and more people are becoming unlike themselves. It feels like some sort of conspiracy is afoot. Sure enough, an alien invasion is slowly unfolding.This film is about four people's fight to preserve their humanity. The basic message is, if you are not an individual, your own person, you are virtually dead. Love, hate, fear, and anger are what colour our lives. There are certain things in the film that suggest dark humour. Whenever you see the rubbish truck, you know another person has been "replaced". If you listen carefully, you sometimes hear that alien shriek among the everyday noises of traffic and city crowds. Kevin McCarthy, who starred in the 1956 version, has a cameo, again trying to warn people what is happening (to no avail). The film's ending is completely unexpected."
Don't go to sleep
C. Freeman | San Leandro, CA United States | 07/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the creepiest movies I've ever seen. Instead of the humanoid-appearing aliens so typical in most sci-fi films THIS movie goes in the other direction by portraying the aliens as seemingly harmless plants, which adds a rather terrifying irony to the proceedings. What these plants do once near a sleeping person (or animal) has to be seen to be appreciated because the special effects here are unsettlingly real.All of the actors do a splendid job in portraying their characters, from the quirky and nuerotic Jeff Goldblum to the intuitive and resilient Veronica Cartwright. The stolid but slightly off-beat Donald Sutherland, to the emotionally suspicious Brooke Adams. All are terrific here!Another thing that makes this movie so suspenseful is the masterful use of paranoia, which starts on a low simmer, building gradually, till by the movie's end everything is turned up to a heart-pounding, raging boil. All along the way you're virtually on the edge of your seat.So the next time you're out walking and find a rather strange looking plant growing amongst the shrubbery, think twice before bringing it in your home.But why worry, it's only a plant - right???"