Friday, June 27, 2014

70s Class: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

It is about time that I continue to watch this 'series' in the most random of orders.  True story- the first full-length Body Snatchers film I saw was The Asylum's Invasion of the Pod People.  No, really.  Mind you, I had seen parts of the first two movies through the years, but never watched them in one sitting.  After that, I moved to...the 1993 Remake, since it was hard to find for a long time.  It is not great.  While I still have yet to see the Original film (which I will rectify shortly) or the 2007 Remake (less of a priority), I thought it was time to get around to the most revered Remake.  After all, I do own it (as part of a 3-Disc Set with Alien and Lifeforce...for some reason).  What do you need to know?  Pods from Outer Space are here and the human race is going to be replaced.  Will we go down without a fight?  No way- we have...2 Health Inspectors, a Shrink and Jeff Goldblum on our side.  We might be boned, folks.  To find out what happens, read on...
Say what you will about how great a tool CG can be, but look at stuff like this.  It was made on the cheap in 1978 (back when computers were HUGE).  The early forms of the aliens are literally drops of viscous fluid bought for $5.

See- you do learn some neat things listening to Commentary Tracks.
Our heroine (Brooke Adams) is the first to get close to the alien invaders when her boyfriend...Art Hindle (?!?) is taken over.

While the withering husks from the 1993 Version look neat, I admire the subtlety of how we just see Art sweeping up his old body in a dust pan the next morning.  It is elegant in a way if you think about it.
What is also a neat touch is seeing this one guy (in the blue coat) suddenly running down the street and being pursued by some people.  They don't highlight or change the music for this bit- it just happens.
In arguably the best Cameo of all-time, the late Kevin McCarthy runs up to warn our heroes, only to be killed by Pod People moments later.

It is a great reference to the Original, while also feeling like a part of the Story.  It is a tricky balance to achieve, but they did it.
As things escalate and nobody believes our heroes (since their evidence keeps going missing), they find a friend in Leonard Nimoy and his weird leather glove.

Naturally, he turns out be evil.  Even before he played this role twice in three years (2009's Land of the Lost and 2011's Transformers: Dark of the Moon), he was doing it back in 1978.  Weird typecasting.
As freaky as the 1993's Effects are, the ones here in the Garden Scene are freaky too.  Ew.
All hope seems lost when they are captured.  This leads to the other reason that Nimoy is here: to deliver the back-story for the aliens in a sophisticated manner.

After all, this is the man who made Bilbo Baggins seem...okay, I can't finish that sentence.
This is Man-Faced Dog.  He will be in your nightmares for the next week.  He says 'Hi.'
Let it also be said that this is one of the best and most effective Twist Endings of all-time.  It is not a cheat, but it still shocks.  Even thirty-six years and millions of views later, it still rocks.  The End.
Even after all this time, it still rocks.  I have watched films from pretty much every Decade (even this Melies film to cover the 1890s) and each one is notable in some way.  Films from the 1960s are trippy and/or Slapstick, while films from the 1990s feature Vanilla Ice/Andrew 'Dice' Clay.  In that way the 1970s Films are generally slower-paced and more subtle (except for Peckinpah).  For many of those films then, the audience is more limited than it should be.  Us youngsters want quicker results sometimes and can't get into many Classics for that reason.  Having said that, I can't imagine that there are alot of people who can't get into this one.  Right off the bat, you get (subtle) tension and it only builds from there.  It is still not 'fast paced' by today's standards, but you connect with the Characters quickly.  Speaking of Characters, how come I never saw Art Hindle in a film before Offspring, but now I just keep running into him randomly in films?  What are the odds of that?!?  I honestly have no real complaints about the film.  It is funny to see Jeff Goldblum playing the same Character in 1978 that he still basically plays now.  One thing to watch is how Donald Sutherland does all of his Stunts near the End, apparently almost getting burned badly in the process!  I also love the Soundtrack, especially the part where it goes from joyous to sad when the Plot changes in a Scene.  If you still haven't seen this film Classic, do it already!  If you have, see it again.  Remember, Robert Duvall is watching...
Next up, I take a two-part look at films about mowing.  I'm sure there must be more to this if they made two films about it.  Stay tuned...

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