The Invasion (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

I’m a bit slow sometimes and about halfway through “The Invasion” it donned on me that the concept of this movie was vaguely familiar. Now that’s not a huge thing these days and with movie plots becoming more and more in unison, a truly original plot is kind of hard to come by. As it stands, “The Invasion” is a re-telling of the horror classic “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, but with a few liberties taken. But first, let’s discuss the casting shall we? It’s no secret that Nicole Kidman can do pretty much anything, her last venture into the horror genre was with “The Others” and while I thought it was overrated (in “The Sixth Sense” style), audiences and critics loved it. And then we have Daniel Craig, the newly-crowned James Bond who is all of the sudden a lot more prevalent in films these days (oddly enough, the two would re-team a few months later in “The Golden Compass”). A match made in heaven or box office fodder?

Kidman plays Dr. Carol Bennell, a well-to-do psychiatrist in our nation’s capital who’s trying to make her life work as a professional and a single mother. Her friendship with Doctor Ben Driscoll (Daniel Craig) is plutonic at best, though there are hints that both want a bit more out of their relationship. This all takes a backseat when the behaviors of everyone around them start to change. Carol’s husband (Jeremy Northam) is among the first infected and is suddenly a lot less expressive. This is a trend that continues as people stop displaying any signs of emotion and literally go about their daily lives, yet seem to resemble nothing more than zombies. As it becomes more and more evident that an epidemic is at hand, Carol’s son, Oliver (Jackson Bond), might be the only help for the planet. Things escalate and leads Carol to Baltimore where she tries to stave off going to sleep (even though infected, the change doesn’t take affect until REM sleep happens) and hopefully can help save the world.

“The Invasion” was a complete and utter failure at the box office late last Summer and audiences didn’t seem to like the movie. Personally I found it entertaining, but nothing that really stood out as being memorable. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never seen any of the predecessors to this movie and I don’t think that any intimate knowledge would have helped here. Kidman is fairly decent in her role, though sometimes she’s as rigid as they come, though I could see both her and Daniel Craig’s parts being played by about anyone. The movie wasn’t really quite sure what it was supposed to be. A movie about aliens or a zombie movie. As a resident of the area, I did see a few landmarks that was interesting, but that’s about it. I highly doubt I’ll break out “The Invasion” for another viewing anytime soon, but I don’t think it was quite as bad as reviewed.

Video: How does it look?

“The Invasion” hits Blu-ray in a 1.85:1 VC-1 HD transfer that looks amazing. For some reason, there weren’t a lot of bright colors in the film. The majority of it takes place in the concrete jungle of Washington D.C. (the movie was filmed on location in parts of Georgetown and Baltimore). Kidman, who usually has brilliant firey red hair, has more of a strawberry blonde thing going on here and as such, even the actors don’t seem to pop off the screen. I noticed no signs of artifacting, though some of the more distant shots seemed to produce a few of the “jaggies” that can really get under your skin. On the whole, it’s what we’d expect from a big-budget studio movie and viewers won’t be disappointed.

Audio: How does it sound?

A Dolby TrueHD track is used and though I wasn’t overly impressed with the sound, the uncompressed mix was reasonably good. For the most part, the film is dialogue driven with some action scenes thrown in here and there for a good-sounding track. I caught the surrounds kicking in from time to time, offering some more ambiance but I’ll be darned if I can really think of a key scene in which the sound was truly memorable. Like the video, the audio is excellent, just nothing too spectacular.

Supplements: What are the extras?

If it’s supplements you’re after, you might want to look somewhere else. All we get are four featurettes, three of which last under two minutes. These run like extended trailers (actually, I think trailers are longer) and don’t offer up a whole lot of new information. I’d have actually been interested in a commentary track, but no such luck.

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