Saturday, March 3, 2012

Film Review: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

 I'm not sure how I feel about this movie.  My wife hated it, calling it dumb and cheesy and I know I'm supposed to like it given how well it has been reviewed and how it is generally rated on various sites.  But I'm just not that sure.  I'd heard over and over that it was a great remake and a seminal sci-fi film but it just didn't have that great an impact on me.

Yes, it has an iconic ending with Donald Sutherland's character as a pod-person screaming and pointing at one of the few remaining humans and thus giving a very dark ending vs. the happy ending of the '50s original, but the rest of it left me kind of bored.

You have some good actors here: Sutherland, Nimoy, Goldblum, and none of their performances are poor, they just didn't pull me in enough to really care.  Goldblum's performance notable for you can see early on the fidgety, neurotic, zany, rapid talking character that he will play throughout his career--nothing much has changed in well over 30 years for him.

Maybe it was the special effects that got to me...the pods and their movements were very mechanical and not believable.  You could see the wire outlines of the pods' petals that needed to be controlled when they would "bloom".  It was liking a high school play in terms of the production value at this point.

The overall story?  OK, I get the allegory against conforming to society, the evils of pollutants, the lack of trust of authority (despite the intent of the original was was, per the director, writer and more, not to produce a tale of the evils of McCarthyism or Communism) but it comes across almost as robotic as the pod-people themselves and not that scary or frankly, interesting.

I'm glad I saw it for its general inclusion in the overall all film and sci-fi cannon of works.  I just won't be recommending it to anyone else.

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