Friday, April 7, 2017

Sci Fi Top 100, #38: "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1978)

Movie Stats:
Released 1978 (USA)
American, in English
Director - Philip Kaufman
Stars - Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright, Leonard Nimoy

Plot Summary:
After landing on Earth, aliens quickly begin to take over by cloning the human race. Sutherland stars as health inspector Matthew Bonnell; Adams as his co-worker, Elizabeth Driscoll; Goldblum as Bonnell’s friend, Jack Bellicec; Cartwright as Bellicec’s wife, Nancy; and Nimoy as Bonnell’s other friend, Dr. David Kibner.

Violence; gore; drug use, both consensual and non; brief male nudity (butt only, and it’s covered in mud, so it’s more of a sort of); female nudity (breasts only).

Bad Stuff:
The main characters suffer from a serious case of what I call "the horror movie stupids.” [SPOILER-y] For example, if you send someone into a room to look at a dead body and that person comes back and is like, “Nope, no body there” and sure enough, you check and the body’s gone, maybe that person is a bad guy who did something with the body? Or, if pretty much the whole city has been cloned, including the government, then I think it’s safe to assume the taxi drivers have been turned and maybe you shouldn’t get into that cab. [SPOILER]

The soundtrack is overbearing.

The plot is a bit weak, lots of "people running around without a game plan."

Good Stuff:
It has some genuinely creepy moments, especially in the beginning.

The special effects have held up well.

I like the idea of it. At one point, when Matthew and co. are trying to figure out what’s going on, Jack openly scoffs at Nancy’s (correct) assessment and she says, “What did you expect, metal space ships?” (Side note: I liked Jack’s response, “I didn’t expect anything!” I don’t either, friend.) So many alien invasion movies are all violence, war, and explosions. I enjoyed the insidiousness of the takeover. These aliens a less-violent, less technological Borg.

The Verdict:
In the beginning, I liked it. The pacing is good. It got right to the point. I enjoyed the tension of the characters slowly beginning to figure out what was happening as the noose tightened around them. I also enjoyed how creepy the aliens were until they learned how to fake human behavior. However, once things finally came to a head, I felt like the movie flailed around quite a bit, like it couldn’t figure out how to end. The characters never seemed to make sensible decisions. It was frustrating. While I did like how things eventually wrapped up in that rather famous way (I think most of us have seen the clip), I have a hard time getting over the tiresome portion of the film that felt like filler.

I give it 3 stars.


Patricia said...

Your "bad stuff" paragraph had me at a rolling chuckle for the duration.

I have never seen this movie. I don't even know what the ending you refer to is.

Just the other day I was wondering if Leonard Nimoy was in things other than Star Trek. I often wonder about actors' finances. Obviously, he could eventually support himself quite well by signing things or making appearances, but I wonder if there were lean years after Star Trek got cancelled and before it got cult-y in a financially advantageous way.

balyien said...

There's actually a nice documentary about Leonard Nimoy on Netflix instant watch right now. His career was a great deal more prolific than one would think!

The scene I'm referring to is of Donald Sutherland pointing and screaming in a rather alarming way. It's been spoofed a lot as well. I always knew where it was from, but I didn't know the full context of it until I finally saw this.