Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA/Australia, 2007. Warner Bros., Village Roadshow Pictures, Silver Pictures, Vertigo Entertainment. Screenplay by David Kajganich, based on the novel Body Snatchers by Jack Finney. Cinematography by Rainer Klausmann. Produced by Joel Silver. Music by John Ottman. Production Design by Jack Fisk. Costume Design by Jacqueline West. Film Editing by Hans Funck, Joel Negron.
Fourth version of the classic Jack Finney novel, this time with Nicole Kidman as a doctor who becomes aware that visitors are blending in a bit too easily. She’s a psychiatrist whose patient (Veronica Cartwright, who also appears in the Philip Kaufman version) insists that her husband is not the man he used to be. When Kidman begins to notice other people behaving in all too calm a manner, she takes a sample of shed skin that she discovers near her kid to her doctor boyfriend (Daniel Craig) and discovers that aliens have indeed arrived on the planet and are taking human bodies over in their sleep. The joke in this version is that the alien invasion is possibly a good thing, solving health crises and bringing peace to the Middle East. Kidman is intent on staying herself and goes on a journey to save her son who, like a number of people with a chicken pox virus in their past, are immune to the nasty bug. Giving scientific detail to the previously mythical takeover technique actually adds to the fun, and for the most part it’s a well-made and diverting action film until the very end, providing information that is discovered in a structured manner that has few plot holes. Reshoots and studio takeover of the project, which saw director Olivier Hirschbiegel kicked out and replaced by James McTeigue, means that the conclusion doesn’t answer the question that David Kajganich’s script so humorously asks (perhaps it IS better that the world is taken out of our hands?) Kidman is terrific in the lead, Craig barely registers (relax with that hair) and Jeremy Northam has some terrific moments as her spooky ex-husband. Not nearly as good as the first two versions but a cut above the disastrous Abel Ferrara film.