The Invasion Oliver Hirschbiegel

The Invasion Oliver Hirschbiegel
This one’s a toughie. On one hand, The Invasion is pitiable; it was swiftly panned upon theatrical release this past fall and rightfully so. After three different cinematic renditions, this version looked hoary, mangled and totally devoid of all the chills that made Jack Finney’s 1955 novel a sci-fi staple. Plus, there’s really only so much we geeks can take before Hollywood defiles this story to the point of insignificance, further cementing the notion that in this writers’ strike world, remakes are doomed from the outset. On the other hand, The Invasion on DVD rocks, though for all the wrong reasons. The film still blows but the bonus features actually make this thing worth buying. I’ll explain. Of course, the original "body snatcher” premise hasn’t changed: a slimy alien virus drops to earth and spreads worldwide, slowly but surely turning humans into mean, emotionless bastards. Daniel Craig, for all his talent, is denigrated to a minor, one-dimensional role as a glib doctor with a crush on Nicole Kidman’s character, also a doctor. The two do a lot of racing against time, looking pretty and professing their love for one another. Kidman’s presence is as gripping as a Sunday afternoon at your folk’s house. The dialogue goes by the numbers. A cute little Asian boy gets thrown headfirst into a door. It’s sad. Amazing, however, is the educational value the bonus features hold. For example, there’s this bit called "The Invasion: The Media” where legitimately intelligent sources like Dr. Marc Siegel enlighten us with hard-line sociological lessons, the main one being that our mass media seeks to manipulate our minds much in the same way the filmic aliens do. According to him, we are a fickle people and we’ll believe anything that we’re spoon-fed, so long as we can be controlled. Interesting. At the root, this movie is, and was always, about the fear of the unknown, of what looms unlit in our deepest, darkest levels of consciousness. Minus the mediocre "making of” featurette, all the extras showcase interviews with various psychological professionals who, at one point or another, discuss this concept. Some even toss around the idea that society in fact craves doomsday stories (like 9/11) and disaster theories (like Global Warming) because they’re tantalising and "sexy,” as well as a "self-indulgent means to entertain our boring lives.” Fascinating. Either Jack Finney is rolling in his grave or this is the most politically inspiring accident in DVD history. (Warner)