I’m not really a big Nicole Kidman fan, despite the fact that I think she’s a terrific actress. The problem I have with Kidman is that she’s usually in films that I simply cannot stand. Cold Mountain, Moulin Rouge!, Eyes Wide Shut, The Interpreter… these were all incredibly boring movies to me. In fact, the only Kidman film that I’ve actually enjoyed is The Others, which came out way back in 2001.
So when I heard that she was starring with Daniel Craig in a sci-fi thriller called The Invasion, I was pretty skeptical about how the whole thing would come off. Nevertheless, I decided to rent the DVD a couple days ago when to give it a chance. Surprisingly, I thought the film was actually decent (all things considered).
Plot summary (with possible spoilers): The Invasion opens with a scene showing a space shuttle attempting to return to Earth after a mission. In an accident reminiscent of the Columbia disaster of 2003, the shuttle in the film breaks up upon reentry, scattering debris across a large portion of the U.S. Unlike the Columbia disaster, however, the debris in The Invasion is contaminated with a fungus-like alien lifeform.
As recovery crews, experts from the CDC, and looters all scramble to examine the debris, the aliens begin their invasion. They infect people through liquids, completely taking over the body. Those who have been contaminated turn into little more than robots, going through their daily routines in the most mechanical manner possible while exhibiting zero human emotions.
One infected CDC official named Tucker Kaufman (played by Jeremy Northam) gets the brilliant idea of disguising the alien fungus as a flu vaccination and encouraging people to take the shots in order to protect them from this particularly virulent strain. This of course helps spread the alien lifeform even faster.
Only a handful of people realize what’s going on, including Tucker’s ex-wife Carol (Kidman). Carol starts to get suspicious when many of her psych patients claim that loved ones aren’t acting like themselves anymore. Carol, along with colleague Ben Driscoll (Craig) and a few others, then scramble to avoid detection and infection until a cure can be developed.
My Reaction: Apparently, The Invasion is a remake/update of the 1978 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I learned that just before I sat down to watch The Invasion, and wondered if I’d be able to follow the action even though I knew nothing of the earlier movie. Fortunately, I was.
I usually don’t enjoy sci-fi films of any kind, but I as I said above, I thought The Invasion was pretty good. I don’t necessarily mean from a logic standpoint, as there were numerous plot holes and inconsistencies that made me roll my eyes, but from a suspenseful, what’s-going-to-happen-next standpoint. I thought the filmmakers did an excellent job of creating tension and uncertainty. It was easy to get involved with Carol’s plight, even though I thought the whole idea of alien spores was kind of ridiculous.
One thing I could have done without was seeing the infected people puke on non-infected ones in order to spread the spores around. That was completely disgusting! I would have felt much better if all the transmissions came from tea, coffee, or coke.
I thought Kidman was her usual competent self in this film. Again, I like her as an actress and think that she’s one of the best around. She was fine here, and even though her performance was not particularly memorable, at least it didn’t annoy.
Daniel Craig, on the other hand, was barely tolerable. I absolutely love this guy as James Bond, but I’ve now seen him in two other films (The Invasion and Sylvia) and thought his performances were mediocre at best.
Overall, The Invasion is a decent movie to enjoy with a big bowl of popcorn. If you don’t ask too many questions (like how did the whole threat end so suddenly), then it should be a fun time. I give the film 3 stars out of 5.