Here's the edge-of-your-seat thriller that delivers unrelenting suspense and nonstop action! Donald Sutherland (DISCLOSURE, BACKDRAFT) leads a team of top-level government agents who make a chilling discovery: extraterrest... more »rial beings have landed and are quickly taking control of the residents of a small midwestern town -- manipulating their bodies and minds like puppets! Faced with an escalating crisis as the creatures multiply and spread, the team must somehow eliminate the seemingly unstoppable aliens. With riveting special effects and heart-stopping action, THE PUPPET MASTERS is sure to thrill you!« less
Chad B. (abrnt1) from CABERY, IL Reviewed on 2/22/2011...
Very under rated movie. Based on the novel by Robert Heinlein. An interesting take on the alien invasion theme. Superior to the War of the orlds remake in every way.
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Good Adaptation of the 1951 Book
Lonnie E. Holder | Columbus, Indiana, United States | 06/03/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've been apprehensive about watching this movie because of the generally poor reviews. Thus, it has taken me nine years to get around to watching it. I'm glad I did. The movie is reasonably faithful to the well-written book by Robert A. Heinlein. There are departures from the book to keep the movie moving along, but the essence of the movie remains faithful to the story.
One of the interesting things about the book and the movie, which some reviewers have pointed to as poor acting, is that Donald Sutherland (as Andrew Nivens) and Eric Thal (as Sam Nivens, Andrew's son) seem to be relatively expressionless. Both characters were described as being rather stoic, nearly emotionless people in Heinlein's book. It's difficult to portray that type of character on the screen because the acting can come across as wooden or emotionless. Eric Thal acted as Sam Nivens was written by Heinlein. I am not sufficiently familiar with Eric Thal to comment on his acting abilities in general, but I reasonably satisfied by his portrayal of Sam. His acting could have been better, but it was acceptable.
One point that I found rather distressing is that in Heinlein's original story, everyone was pretty much running around with minimal clothing by the end of the story to prevent the slugs from hiding in pants or loose underwear, as the slugs were fairly small. The movie minimized this exposure, likely because it might have distracted further from the movie. However, one of society's first reactions in this situation would be to have everyone be nearly nude to prevent slug-ridden people from infiltrating those that were not.
Unfortunately for this movie it came much later than many other movies that may share similar concepts. However, consider that the original novel was published in 1951, and pre-dates the vast majority of movies such as "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", "Alien" and the great host of other alien possession movies. Thus, all these other movies may be derivative from the book "The Puppet Masters", but not the other way around, particularly considering how faithful the movie was to the book.
There have been few movie-makers brave enough to attempt filming a Heinlein book; unfortunate, because Heinlein is one of the most influential science fiction writers of all time. The two recent movies based on Heinlein's books are B-movies (this movie and "Starship Troopers"), but for all their flaws they are a very rare treat for hard-core science fiction fans and for Heinlein fans. I admit I stretched a little to rate this movie four stars, but I own the DVD and I will watch this movie again."
Don't Overlook This "Recent Classic" Sci-Fi
The Mighty Hudson | New York, NY USA | 09/23/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
Do NOT confuse this movie with the similarly titled, low-budget series of "Puppet Master" films about demonic marionettes!"The Puppet Masters" (1994) DVD is definitely worth a viewing or two, and...you shouldn't pass up the opportunity to buy this DVD for your collection. If some of the material seems trite, keep in mind that this is a near-faithful adaptation of Robert Heinlein's book of the same title, as originally published in 1951. Many elements that are overly familiar to today's sci-fi fans originated here.This film boasts good performances (Donald Sutherland, Eric Thal) and some creepy special effects. The first 30 minutes or so are especially well crafted. There are lulls but also surprises, including a convention center scene that is highly exciting, and some suspenseful military scenes, too. The last half-hour degenerates somewhat (in my opinion) with a fight that goes on for too long and the by now standard "It's over"/"Oh, it's not over" stuff, but all in all I have few reservations about recommending this underrated movie."
Heilnein On Screen
Joshua Koppel | Chicago, IL United States | 02/26/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a movie of alien invasion through the control of humans. The aliens arrive in a flash of light that is witnessed by three boys (not two) who set off to see what is up.Enter Donald Sutherland as the head of a team investigating the phenomenon. They find a curious setup. The three kids are charging people to see the space ship. This is obviously not a real space ship, so what is going on?As we find out, we have been invaded by small aliens that attach themselves to the human nervous system and then control them. They are spreading quickly.The aliens are working at spreading their numbers as well as their influence. They try to sabotage Sutherland's team as well as aim at government officials.The aliens keep busy and the team keeps trying to contain and predict them. Witty lines and fast scenes keep the film moving to its surprising conclusion.A must for sci-fi and Heinlein fans. Great effects, neat monsters and a good story. Check it out."
INTERESTING RETELLING OF CLASSIC STORY
Michael Butts | Martinsburg, WV USA | 03/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sci fi fans will know that PUPPET MASTERS, based on Robert Heinlein's book, has surfaced twice before in the two INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHER movies. Ironically, Donald Sutherland, who starred in the 80s remake, is in this one, as well. PUPPET MASTERS is different from the BODY SNATCHER in that the ultimate darkness of those two is defeated by an upbeat, man beats the alien ending. This movie also gives us some really frightening looking creatures and some breathtaking action sequences. Sutherland is his usual sturdy self; Eric Thal is quite good as his son; and Julie Warner is very good as the woman scientist. The movie has menace, and while it is not as atmospheric as the SNATCHER movies, it comes across more action oriented, and there's nothing wrong with that, when it is handled this well."
Within its genre, this film is really top notch!
Get What We Give | Georgia | 09/11/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The Puppet Masters is one of those films that most people will pass over, thinking it is similar to those murderous "puppet" movies made by one of those straight to video companies.I'll admit that I watched this film not because I was aching to see it but because it had an interesting sounding premise for a sci-fi film - one that seemed very familiar. I'm not a huge sci-fi buff, but I'll give them their due when warranted.I do like Donald Sutherland. He has truly been a venerable screen actor.In this film, Sutherland plays a government operative charged with discovering the truth about an possible UFO landing in Iowa. Joining him is his secret service-like son, played very well by Eric Thal. Rounding out their investigative group is a NASA scientist played by Julie Warner. Thal and Warner are both very attractive and athletic looking. Thal has the looks of a fashion model and the body of a tri-athlete. When he peels off his shirt you can see every sinuey muscle in his chest and abdomen. This is not a guy that I would want to have to go up against. And that fact plays out as he and the team are forced to face a formidable foe in the aliens who have landed.The Puppet Masters is supposedly the source material for the Invasion of the Body Snatchers films. Written by Robert Heinlien, the book (I've not read it) is supposedly very similar to this movie, but not to the Body Snatcher movies.The aliens in this film don't envelope the humans as in the early films and then replicate them. They are parasitic and take over their human host's minds.This movie has many exciting moments and will have you on the edge of your seat quite often. I found it refreshingly simplistic in its approach - lacking the early films' attempt to maintain Heinlien's supposed inferences to the McCarthyism of the 1950's. Instead, I saw a pure sci-fi film that really was believable but for one key point. Richard Belzer becomes infected with an alien and then has it removed. He goes through severe withdrawals when the creature is removed and ends up committing suicide. Subsequent removals of aliens from victims do not result in withdrawals Belzer experienced and certainly do not result in suicides. In fact, the freed victims seem to have a strong resolve to them. You might write this off to a stronger resolve than Belzer's character, except that he is a government agent who should have such a strong resolve.That one point aside, the movie does maintain as much continuity as can be shown and maintains its "believability."No - it's not great - but within its genre, this film aint too bad."