The difference between this 2007 take on Invasion of the Body Snatchers is how the actual invasion occurs. It is more of a background event, occurring around psychiatrist Carol Benell (Nicole Kidman) as she walks the streets of Washington. People are rounded up by those infected, sometimes quietly, other times fighting for their lives. Sadly, who is actually responsible for the incredible intensity and paranoia the film generates is unknown.
The Invasion underwent extensive reshoots. Warner disapproved of Oliver Hirschbiegel’s original cut, bringing in the Wachowski brothers to take over.
It is a shame too, because despite a lukewarm reception, somewhat understandable due to the countless remakes of this concept, there is a great movie. Tension continually builds until it reaches a dramatic breaking point during the finale. The final action sequence is intense, not to mention loaded with some noteworthy stunt work as the overtaken humans grasp onto a speeding car.
Writer David Kajganich pens a script with undertones, as any decent science fiction writer should. Thoughts on the nature of humanity, mainly its tendency towards violence, are not forced but a natural reason for the invaders to take over.
His script also contains contrivances though, as Benell’s ex-husband (Jeremy Northam) happens to work for the CDC, her new boyfriend (Daniel Craig) is a doctor, and her son (Jackson Bond) happens to be immune. This is one lucky woman to have all this swirl around her.
Still, The Invasion carries enough of a creep out factor to work. Early in the invasion, Benell receives a knock at the door from a man claiming to be with the census bureau. She shuts the door as the camera zooms into the lock, with the man’s face just visible. His mouth opens in anger, as if he is going to bite Benell. It is an effective moment, and The Invasion is filled with them, despite treading on familiar ground.
Warner duplicates the HD DVD transfer of The Invasion to Blu-ray, with a relatively clean VC-1 encode. Much of the film carries a blue/teal tint, but flesh tones remain accurate along with nicely saturated primaries. A natural film grain sits over the film without causing too many issues with the encode. It’s not completely resolved against certain backdrops. Oddly, Kidman’s face is noticeably smoothed over in many scenes. It is comical to see her neck with the complete grain structure, but it suddenly stops around her chin.
Black levels are almost always deep and rich, with only a spot or two of crush. Slight ringing in certain scenes is forgivable and tough to catch, mostly along high contrast edges. Detail is only fair and rarely do the best textures show through. Some softness is sporadic, and not enough to discredit the otherwise razor sharp presentation. Flawed, but the image is pleasing.
Like the video, Warner has brought over the TrueHD mix from the HD DVD, a strong piece of sound design. The opening offers a bombastic space shuttle crash, with debris and flames filling the sound field as the subwoofer picks up the roar of re-entry. Subtle uses elsewhere, including some excellent street level ambiance, is noted.
John Ottman’s score nicely bleeds into all channels, and certain cues used to up the intensity rock the subwoofer. The finale is spectacular, with numerous crashes, a flaming car, and plenty of opportunity for the surrounds to capture movement. The track nicely provides as needed.
Extras are, simply put, awful. Three featurettes total all of nine minutes, hardly enough time to divulge any real information on the film. There is also no discussion about the re-shoots anywhere. The longest piece, We’ve Been Snatched Before, is a history of how these invasion films have mimicked the issues of the day. Intriguing if a bit dry.