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The Puppet Masters
The Puppet Masters
Actors: Donald Sutherland, Eric Thal, Julie Warner, Keith David, Will Patton
Director: Stuart Orme
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
R     2002     1hr 49min

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 »


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Movie Details

Actors: Donald Sutherland, Eric Thal, Julie Warner, Keith David, Will Patton
Director: Stuart Orme
Creators: James Axotis, Michael Engelberg, Ralph Winter, David S. Goyer, Robert A. Heinlein, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Horror, Aliens, Mystery & Suspense
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 09/03/2002
Original Release Date: 10/21/1994
Theatrical Release Date: 10/21/1994
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 1hr 49min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

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.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

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, 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."