Is there a Razzie Award for worst casting? If so, reserve it early for this fourth, spectacularly lousy screen version of Jack Finney’s 1954 novella The Body Snatchers, which some bright light envisioned as the ideal starring vehicle for the Cold Mountain herself, Nicole Kidman, and for Daniel Craig, last seen as poker-faced James Bond. Earth to Hollywood: The whole point is that these characters are supposed to have a difficult time camouflaging their emotions, so that when extraterrestrial DNA start turning everyone around them into soulless drones, there’s actually some, um, suspense as to whether or not they’ll be able to bluff their way to safety. Not that using actual pod people as actors is the only innovation German director Olivier Hirschbiegel and debuting screenwriter David Kajganich bring to the table: This time, those pesky alien spores are transmitted not by plant life, but rather (I kid you not) projectile vomit, while the script (which reportedly received some eleventh-hour doctoring by the Wachowski brothers) waxes undergraduate-philosophic about how maybe our war-torn, psychotropic-popping world might be a better place without humans. Incredibly, the same studio (Warner Bros.) that back in 1993 barely released Abel Ferrara’s superb Body Snatchers spent millions to reshoot The Invasion (with V For Vendetta director James McTeigue at the helm) after an early cut tested poorly. True to pod-person form, you can scarcely tell who did what.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 14, 2007