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Remake Vs Original: Invasion Of The Body Snatchers The Finale

By: Justin Hopkins

**SPOILER WARNING**

  And here we are. The end of the Invasion Of The Body Snatcher movies. It has been a fun ride throughout. While the 1978 version has been clinging to its number one spot. There hasn’t been a bad movie in the bunch. Both the 1956 version and Body Snatchers from 1993 were both really good films with plenty of their own ideas and spins on the ball. So, much so I was looking forward to see what the 2007 The Invasion brought to the table. Much like I did in part 2 in this run; I won’t be covering the 1978 version here, since I already did it in Part 1 and would just be a copy and paste deal. So, if you want to check out my review for that, hop back a run and check out my Part 1. As a bonus, at the very end, will have all four listed from the least to most liked. Alright, with that said, let’s dive into The Invasion shall we.

  The Invasion 2007

We start off with flashing lights and the main character going through a pharmacy. Telling herself to not go asleep. Looking for pills and drinks to keep herself awake. Seeing a door shaking. People pounding on the other side. Trying to get inside. When we jump back in time to see a space ship crashing down to Earth. Breaking to pieces on re-entry to Earth. News Reports are describing how wide spread the wreckage is. Pieces are being found from Dallas to D.C. Some people were wisely staying away. While other have touched it. CDC Agent Tucker is checking out one of the crash sites. Finding their is an unknown Alien Life Form on them. On his way out, a woman brings a piece that had fallen on her roof, and he cuts himself on it, before leaving and while he is asleep that night. Begins to change. We then jump to Carol. Being awaken her son screaming, from a nightmare. We find out that she is a single Mom who was having custody issues with the Father, and that he would be getting Oliver later that night. The Father turns out to be Tucker, the infected CDC Agent from the night before and there is a lot of animosity between them. We meet her friend Ben, who is worked up by the news, who she confides in over what is going on with Tucker, and he calms her down by pointing out how much Oliver loves her and such and she goes off to work. She is a psychiatrist, whose first patient is a woman who normally is abused by her husband, claiming that he was not her husband. Telling her that he doesn’t even get mad. The dog knew and tried to attack, but he broke the dogs neck and tossed it in the trash. Not showing any signs of emotion through the assault. Carol gives her a new prescription and tells her to call if anything happens. Later that night while her and a friend had their kids trick or treating. A dog attacks one of the kids. Who doesn’t even react. Easily powering the dogs muzzle shut before they get the dog off him.  Acting very strangely when the kids or going through their candy. When Oliver yells they find a strange bit of skin on his hand. They assume that it was from someone’s house but she takes it with her. On her way to taking Oliver to his Dad’s. A woman attacks the car inside a tunnel. Yelling about how they are coming, before she gets rundown by a jeep. She gets out to try and help and offers to be a witness, but the cop doesn’t want to hear it and ushers her out. Meanwhile, we see a meeting at Congress. Discussing a new strand of flu and a questionable new vaccine, but pretty much forces the one to question it to take it seriously or lose out. In the back we see infected spitting up into the drinks before serving it to them Going back to Carol.  After an awkward exchange, between her and Tucker. She goes off on her “date” with Ben and has an interesting conversation with one of the people there, about how people don’t change who they are unless the people part is removed and she disagrees with him by pointing out how far we had come, and I will leave it with that.

Yet, again, they did try to change the story a bit. Which even I was wondering how they could. Having an even bigger hill to climb being the fourth telling of the tale, but they did alright.  Again, they were very intense and aggressive. Wanting to get everyone infected as fast as possible. Loved their tests, like when the two jumped off the bridge and swarmed the people below who had an emotional response. Adding an immunity was really neat as well. Never seeing that before and was an avenue we hadn’t seen before. They did change the way people were converted and while it was creative, going to talk more on that later.

They did an alright job building a bit of tense with the drinks. When they spit up into the drinks, and took a moment to pan over the drinks during the dinner. Created a bit of an atmosphere of not knowing if they were spiked or not, but didn’t go beyond that scene. With us knowing the score it was a fun way to create a bit of paranoia that we wouldn’t get from whose infected and not, because we already know what to look for.  This gave us something new, but didn’t last long enough.

I enjoyed the ending they had here. They found the cure and were beating the alien virus, but the good news that was coming through during the invasion. North Korea agreeing to disarmament and countries that never work together finally coming together, reverts back to the horrible mass deaths happening again and a piece of the argument over nothing changes as long as people remain playing over top. Asking the question of would it had been better had the alien virus won. Something they always said, but was kind of proven in one news article. Good way to close without going back to the well of.. or is it?

I don’t have much to say on the casting. Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig were excellent. Kind of wish we got more of an infected Craig, but each played the roles perfectly. They did a great job at building the friendship that was starting to blossom into more. So, when things start happening and story starts going. You feel more inclined to get behind them. Jeremy Northam was a chilling Tucker Kaufman. Had a fun little return of Veronica Cartwright who played Nancy in the 1978 version. A good job from everyone involved.

Alright, onto the negatives and there were a few. For starters, I don’t like to point out logic issues, but this one was blatantly dumb, and that was at the start. Tucker, A CDC Agent, gets cut by a piece of the debris, that he was just informed was contaminated with an unknown spore, and does nothing but goes home. I get that he has to leave infected, but this was a dumb way to do it. He wouldn’t just leave and no one would let him leave and just a dumb way to go.

As I said they changed the transformation, from going away from pods to them just needing to spit up into a person’s mouth or drink and when they sleep they cocoon and shed into the alien version of themselves. Which was interesting, but doesn’t really cut it for me. It loses the disturbing visuals and feels more like an infection then something extraterrestrial. And the dream sequence of her attacking the alien version to wake up was weak.

While, one of my issues of Body Snatchers was that they needed more time to build the characters, this one did that, but the pacing was an issue. By panning away to show the meeting with them spitting in tea and scenes that could have kick started things off just kind of ends. An entire subway scene set up to inform her that she has to act calm so they can’t tell she is human then a whole other stop to add the sweating aspect. None of these scenes were inherently bad, but really slow things down.  Final Grade: B

Winner: Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 1978

Don’t let the low grade fool you. It was still enjoyable, but wasn’t enough to take down 1978. None of them are bad movie. Each being enjoyable in there own ways and have loved doing this series. As promised, my official list is;

4. The Invasion

3. Body Snatchers

2. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 1956

1. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 1978

As always, I hope you enjoyed reading and..

Thank You For Reading.

Remake Vs Original: Invasion Of The Body Snatchers Part 2

By: Justin Hopkins

 **SPOILER WARNING**

  Welcome back to the second part of our Remake Vs Original of the Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. As I said in the first part, there were too many to do in one round, and the winner would go on to face the next remake, which after a grueling decision, the winner was 1978 Remake. Which will now go head-to-head with the 1993 Body Snatchers. After some thought, have to make one more slight change. Normally, would do a full review of each, but since I have already done the review of 1978. Would just be me copy and pasting. So, this will just be an in depth look at the 1993 version and then announce the winner at the end. If you want to see my review of the ’78. Please check out part one, from March 31. Thank you and with that. Let’s dive back into 1993 and check out Body Snatchers shall we.

Body Snatchers 1993

The movie starts with a bit of narration from the main character, teenager Marti. That she has been on the road for a few months, with her Dad, Brother, and Step-Mom, due to her Dad being apart of the EPA, and doing tests of chemicals on military bases. When they stop at the gas station. She is confronted by a soldier in the bathroom. Warning her that they are out there. That they get you in your sleep, and to run while she can. When she gets her Dad and a group goes to inspect. He is gone. When she gets to the base, after learning about there being two bedrooms, leaves before an argument could start. Walking along the gate, and notices something strange, but before realizing what it was. Is swarmed by a group of Military Police, but before anything happens. A woman shows up, and gets her out. Turning out to be Jenn, the General’s Daughter. Who befriends the young Marti. Later that night, we see a lot of the soldiers coming off as very aggressive. Breaking in and taking people against their will.  The next day, we go to the Steve talking to General Platt. Who is not happy about having him there, and send a team with him to expedite the process and get rid of them faster. During his tests, Major Collins comes to him. Asking if the chemicals in question could alter someone’s psychological state. Having a number of soldiers who are in crisis. Struggling with people’s identity and afraid to sleep. Meanwhile, we go to the daycare center. Where all the kids have drawn the exact same picture, except for Andy. Who notices right away that something is wrong, and flees the daycare. Picked up by Tim and taken back home. After a little flirting. Suggesting meeting some time at the bar, Top Gun. Which she goes to later that night with Jen. Just beginning to chat with Tim, when a group of MPs enter. One of which was the same soldier who confronted her in the bathroom. Only, this one was a lot more disturbed. After a brief altercation. He leaves, and they go for a walk. Telling him about her Mother dying when she was 7, and as they share a kiss. Transition to a bubbling ground, and a group of soldiers pulling pods out of the water and I’ll leave it there for the moment.

The story is still an intriguing one despite it being another remake in the same tale. Just a simple tale, that while they didn’t make many changes. Was still just as captivating as ever. Due to the horrific, unnerving paranoia that it creates. They don’t get that option right away. They really leaned into the fact we knew and you can somewhat tell who was a pod person and not, but gets a little harder as I went further along. Really nailing it with Jen. It was an interesting direction going with Marti as the lead. Due to her not having a front row seat to the actual events like they had with Matthew and Miles before him. To a point, it did work out pretty well. The additions of the toxic chemicals being lethal gave it away to set up the ending was a nice touch as well. They needed to find a way to be different and felt they did a solid job with what they did.

The setting was perfect as well. Really felt that they were trapped on the base. Creating an isolated feeling and with the soldier’s regular regiment. Unsure if they are pod people or just going about their regular tasks, but they really hit a homerun with the motel scene towards the end. It was great to see how they totally took control of the situation and how they were overpowering the people after they had the number advantage. The special effects were great as the bodies were crumbling to dust. Speaking of, loved how much more aggressive the Pod People were in this movie. They are not bothering to put on a charade of pretending, and the little tests were almost amusing. From the guy telling Tim he slept with his Girlfriend to try and get an emotional reaction, and Jen using Marti’s love of her brother to crack her at the end. All of which were great.

While there wasn’t much in the way of blood. I did love the special effects they used here. The effects of the pods with the strands, covering the body, and we get an inside view of the pods, of the parasites swarming together and putting an embryo, then fetus, and finally the body. Loved the process they utilized here. Literally sucking the life from their victim and turning them into dust. Even giving them the ability to talk during the final stages. Making for a a great scene at the motel.  It was different than what we seen and kind of like it more here.

This is where things start to taking a downward turn, and that is with the cast. Now, they all did as well as they could, and at times, each had some great moments. Gabrielle Anwar was alright, but great when she was shifting into the Pod Person and attempting to talk Tim out of it. Meg Tilly was kind of just a background character, but her where will you go speech was amazing, and has the best scream out of everyone from these movies. Forest Whitaker had a great speech when confronted by the General and a group of Pod People. Christine Elise was fun as Jenn, when she was on screen that is.

While this movie is great and fun at times. It’s biggest issue is it’s mere 88 minute run time. They didn’t have nearly enough time to build an emotional connection with the characters. We needed to see more of Marti and Steve and Carol. To build the turmoil brewing within the family before the main issue arose. They had an interesting idea with Step Mom and the idea of her Mother being replaced, but no time to make that a thing. You don’t get enough time to care about Tim at all and how do you cast the likes of R. Lee Ermey and limit his talking time. Huge missed opportunity. I really want to give this an A. Really did like this movie, but runtime and missed opportunities to build characters hurt it a little too much. Final Grade: B+

Winner: Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 1978

Body Snatchers gave it a fair fight. Had it been longer. May have even pushed it a bit closer, but as is. Not quite enough to topple the classic that came before it. Would still strongly suggest checking it out if you haven’t. As always, I hope you enjoyed and…

Thank You For Reading.

Remake vs Original: Invasion Of The Body Snatchers Part 1

By: Justin Hopkins

**SPOILER WARNING**

  For anyone who has read one of my Remake vs Original blogs in the past, know I go about them in a particular (long) way of doing them. Basically, I do a full review of the original, storyline plots leading toward the climax, what the pros, cons, and cast. Than give me final grade and do the same for the remake and cast a winner from there. Now, Invasion was one that I wanted to do, but as it turns out, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers didn’t just have one remake; it has three. Now, if I were to do my regular deal with them. This Blog would be close to four thousand words, and I would be in a drunken stupor by the end. So, to save us all, Paul gave me the solution, of doing two at a time. We’ll start with the 1956 vs the 1978 version. The winner will go on to face the 1993 version and finally the 2007 and that will be the ultimate winner. No four thousand words and sanities are intact. Now, with that all out, let’s dive all the way back to 1956 and get started shall we.

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 1956

The movie starts with a Psychiatrist rushing to the hospital due to an out of control man, Dr. Benell, who was screaming that he was not insane. He gets him to calm down, and he starts to tell the story. Flashing back from him rushing back to Santa Mira from a convention for a medical emergency. His Nurse, Sally meets him. Telling him that he has had a long line of people, some have been waiting for two weeks, but won’t say what was wrong with them. Yet, when he gets back to the office. Most have called off, and those he called back said they were alright. When he goes to lunch, he is greeted by love interest, Becky Driscoll. Who tells him her friend, believes that her Uncle Ira is not her uncle. That he had been replaced. A sentiment that is repeated by little Jimmy about his Mother when he gets back. After advising that he stays with his Grandmother for the night. He goes to meet Becky and Wilma’s to meet Uncle Ira. A man he tells Wilma that he is her Uncle and refers her to a psychiatrist, Dan Kaufman. That night, when Bennell takes Becky out to dinner. They are interrupted by Jack and his wife, who found a body. One in pristine condition, with no fingerprints and Teddy think that it is starting to become Jack. Wondering if this is connected, Bennell has them sit up with the body to see what happens through the night. When it takes on the cut Jack received during the conversation appears on the body and eyes open. They flee to the Doctor’s house. Who calls Kaufmann to come right away, and he goes to get Becky and finds a body that looks like her in the basement.. and that is where I will leave it for now.

There is a good reason that this story has been retold and ripped off so many times and that is because it is a great story. It is a timeless tale of suspense and paranoia, and all it takes is a game of confusion. Trying to keep you guessing about who is human and who is not. Pitting the heroes not just against any kind of monsters, but the faces of their friends and families and not knowing just how far this goes, and way out numbered. The camera angles, shots, and scoring are great. We are  64 years down the line and more than stands up against the test of time.

That kind of rings true for the special effects as well. You are not going to get any bloodbath scenes you see today, or over the top gory moments either, but neither were really needed, and I am giving this the benefit of the doubt on some of the more cheesier moments, like the look of the pods themselves. The birthing scene in the green house looked pretty chilling and must have been really something else back then.

Was a bit taken by surprise by the happy ending here and I think it is mostly due to how many movies I have seen go in the opposite, and I did kind of like the idea that they were listening to him in the end. In a way, it still helps it stand out by ending in hopeful tone. Especially, when we get to the next one.

Casting wise was on the ball. Everyone was awesome. Kevin McCarthy’s descent from smooth talking Doctor to deranged screaming you’re next and they are coming are just legendary moments of cinema. Dana Wynter was class as Becky, and seeing her cold demeanor when she becomes one of them was chilling. Larry Gates’s Dan Kaufman was a great choice to be the speaker when they have Bennell and Becky trapped in the Doctor’s Office. King Donovan and Carolyn Jones were great in support.

There was one minor thing I didn’t like, and that was the monologuing. Didn’t really mind it, till he was on his way to Sally’s. Could have been a better setup had he not been talking about it and by the way he talked. Tipped the fact something bad has already happened in advance, instead of just letting the bad happen. Such a minor thing and not one that is going to have an affect on the final grade, but one that bugged me all the same.

Believe it or not, struggled on what my final grade would be. It was teetering on the line. At the end of the day, couldn’t find myself able to give it any less than: S

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 1978

Unlike the Original, this one opens up with the Alien Organism out in space. Making it’s way down to Earth and falls in the form of rain, and blooms into a flower. We see kids around picking them, along with Elizabeth, who takes it home to study. Where she thinks it’s a new hybrid. A cross between two plants. Than we jump to Health Inspector Matthew Bennell. A by the books guy who while writing up a restaurant, has his windshield smashed by some angry line cooks. After getting Elizabeth to come in early, we jump to the morning. Her husband Jeffrey is cleaning up the broken glass that the plant was in and took the can straight to a waiting garbage truck. Without saying a word to Elizabeth. Who goes to work and tells Bennell about it. After they go their separate ways.  She walks away, in an eerie silence. That night, Jeffery cancels their Basketball game date in suspicious fashion, and she goes to Matthew’s instead. Telling him that she thinks Jeffery is not Jeffery. That he looks like him, but not him. The conversation continues over dinner, and he suggests seeing his friend, David Kibner, a Psychiatrist. The next morning while he is dropping off his dry cleaning. The owner pulls him aside, and tells him, his wife is not his wife. A little worried, he calls her, but she doesn’t answer. Surprising him at work, in hysterics. Flashing back to her day. Noticing people staring awkwardly, and when she tried to see Jeffery. Saw him leaving and follows. Watching him meeting strange people. Passing something off to each of them. When she is done, and her and Matthew are talking, on their way to Kibner’s book party. When a familiar crazy man jumps on their car. Screaming that they are coming, and you’re next. Before a mob chases him off and gets hit by a car. An accident that is not reported when Matthew tries to phone in an eye witness report. Meanwhile, she sees Kibner dealing with a hysterical woman who is screaming that her Husband is not he Husband. After talking her down. Kibner joins the group. Telling them he has been hearing the same thing all week and tells Elizabeth that it’s just her trying to escape and it is in her head. That night, Jack and his wife Nancy find a body covered in slime and hair. Calling Matthew for help.. and that is where I end this.

Much like a good remake, this one does a pretty good job, at not only keeping what made the first one great, and adding and shifting to bring out the best in it. The fact they really weren’t trying to hide as much. Still wanting to keep who was human and not for a bt, but they treated the viewer as if they were involved. Aware that we knew what the movie was about and didn’t treat us like idiots. By starting off with the alien species coming from space. Showing us what to look for, and we got to sit back and watch for that and enjoy the rest of the story they were telling. Allowing them to withhold the biggest surprise for the ending.  A stellar example of a good remake.

Also, they went with a point they only talked about in the first one. They talked about Becky being married but didn’t shy away from the relationship between her and Miles, but never mention the affair. While this one focused on the affair that was happening and that it could be a reasonable reason Elizabeth thought Jeffery was a duplicate.

The special effects are still pretty chilling and twisted in all the right ways. Longer more slimy birthing scenes that show not only the effects of the pod people coming to life, but the eye rolling, peeling affects that it had on the sleeping victims. Becky’s transformation especially. The smoothness of Matthew killing his duplicate was more effective than a lot of kills I see today. Camera angles and shots were again fantastic, and score wasn’t bad.

While I enjoyed the fact that the original went with a happy ending. The ending of this is just as legendary, if not more so. Haven’t watched either of these movie and still knew how this ended because of how many times I have seen the picture of Matthew Pointing, and… they still got me. Would love to know when the switch happened. Still just as golden as it always has been.

The casting is once again, spot on. Donald Sutherland’s Matthew is great. What more could even be said. He was likeable guy who made it easy to get behind him. Wanting him to succeed. Helped by the fact he went on the offensive in the factory. Played it perfectly at the end. Not giving it away that he was one of them, until the very end. Leonard Nimoy was so effective as a bad guy. Even when he was suppose to be helping her at the book party. Was so aggressive about it, that he came off as menacing, and after we learn who he really is, and he is still inside. Giving them pill was a great touch. Jeff Goldblum, is really good in support, because of course he is. As well as Veronica Cartwright. Than You got Brooke Adams, who was amazing. Loved her portrayal of Elizabeth. Her laugh was infectious during the weird eye scene that I was sad was not a foreshadow. Going from the sweetest to probably the most terrifying when she turned and let out the screeching. And, after 22 years, Kevin McCarthy still got it. Reprising his role and doing the screaming scene let again. By jumping on the car and issuing the same, dark threat, before meeting a much worse fate this go around. Salute to you, you champion.

I don’t have much in the way of negatives to talk about here. That was a bit of a pacing issue, but more I think about it. More I don’t think it is even big enough to call it a minor negative. So, Final Grade: S

Winner: The Remake

This was so, so much harder than I thought it would be. They are both so good and could easily kick myself for this choice tomorrow. Seriously, everyone involved in both of these two movies deserve huge round of applause for the works of art these two films are. At the end of it, have to ask myself, which would I watch again the soonest, and that is the remake.

As always, I hope you enjoyed and…

Thank You For Reading.

 

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