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INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
In crowded San Francisco, health inspector Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland) and co-worker Elizabeth Driscoll (Brooke Adams) begin to notice friends and family transforming into emotionless versions of their former selves. Their paranoia is justified as we learn that gelatinous spores from a distant planet have landed on earth and are growing into giant pods capable of reproducing physically perfect human replicas.

With Don Siegel's 1956 cult classic and Abel Ferrara's 1994 Body Snatchers already available on DVD, pod completists can now add Philip Kaufman's worthy 1978 remake to the collection. The enduring sci-fi/political paranoia novel by Jack Finney is well served in this rendering.

Their paranoia is justified as we learn that gelatinous spores from a distant planet have landed on earth and are growing into giant pods capable of reproducing physically perfect human replicas. Without the weighty Red menace/nuclear warfare allegorical baggage of its 1956 counterpart, Kaufman's remake still does a good job in creating a creepy atmosphere and a mounting sense of dread as Sutherland and Adams realise the alien invasion is poised to spread silently and globally. Indeed, the urban setting and references to ecology and modern psychology (in the form of scary psychiatrist Leonard Nimoy) make this fascinating to look at now as a metaphor for present-day economic globalisation and the increasingly homogenous nature of consumer experience.

Sutherland and Adams give sturdy performances as the last people on earth and there are fine contributions from a young and lean Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright and Kevin McCarthy, the star of the 1956 version who makes a telling appearance as a crazed man shouting "they're here", as if he's survived for 22 years and made it to the big city. Although it sags a little in the middle, this is one of the few remakes able to stand up impressively against a classic original, with Michael Chapman's moody photography and Danny Zeitlin's anxiety-provoking score also making major contributions. Kaufman's excellent commentary track is intelligent, informative and well worth listening to.

Footnote: The cover does not state language options in German, French, Italian and Spanish but these are included on the disc itself.
Richard Kuipers

Published July 19, 2001

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INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS [1978] (M)
US

CAST: Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Leonard Nimoy, Jeff Goldblum, Veronica
Cartwright.

DIRECTOR: Philip Kaufman

RUNNING TIME: 111 min

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: MGM Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: July 1, 2001

SPECIAL FEATURES: Widescreen 1.85:1. Audio Commentary with Philip Kaufman; Trailer, Languages: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish. Subtitles: English, English (H.O.H), Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Portuguese, Polish, German (HOH).






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