The Invasion

  • Review Date: January 28, 2008
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 2007

Common Sense Media says

Smart thriller devolves into standard action fare.
  • Review Date: January 28, 2008
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 2007

Age(i)

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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Aliens are implacable, humans are fearful, a mom defends her son absolutely.

Violence

Much of the movie's violence is implied, though what is seen can be jarring and even frightening. Standard action-movie violence includes car chases and crashes, as well as shootings, foot chases, fights, and rough take-downs by cops; these result in bloody bodies (slammed on windshield, etc.) and screams of fear and pain. Some violence occurs in front of young Ollie (his mother shoots someone, his mother almost dies, he has to give her an adrenalin shot to her heart/chest), who is duly upset. Other potentially upsetting images include a space shuttle crashing to earth (recalling the 2003 Columbia disaster); the yucky, crusty goo that the invading virus creates on its victims; a dog attacking a little boy who has been infected, leaving blood on his face (the boy throttles the dog); a woman being hit very hard by a car; an alien trying to break into Carol's house; a victim's intense cardiac arrest; Ollie waking from a nightmare in a panic and later running from his father and hitting him with a crowbar; a dead cop shown in a bloody pool on the sidewalk; TV news reports on suicide bombings in Iraq; and a Molotov cocktail thrown at Carol's car.

Sex

Passionate kiss between Carol and Ben, which is cut off when she changes her mind. Brief shot of Carol undressing (down to pantyhose) as she hurriedly changes.

Language

Language includes infrequent uses of "s--t" and "goddamn."

Consumerism

Shots of and references to a Mac laptop, Mountain Dew, Pepsi, eBay, USA Today, CNN, Fox News.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Carol downs handfuls of stay-awake pills; Carol discusses medications for her patients (anti-psychotic drugs). People drink champagne, wine, and beer at parties.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this latest cinematic take on Invasion of the Body Snatchers could definitely scare kids, despite the fact that much of its violence is implied instead of shown. Not that it's short on action-violence scenes: There's a space shuttle crash, lots of loud car crashes, fights/struggles, and bloody shootings. And the alien virus leaves humans looking creepy (crusty, featureless, and wheezing), before they're turned into eerie copies of themselves. The movie -- which is structured to reflect the main character's disjointed state of mind -- cuts back and forth quickly in time in ways that might confuse younger viewers. Language is brief (one or two uses of "s--t" and "damn"), there's some social drinking, and Carol downs pills to stay awake.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

THE INVASION is the fourth film version of Jack Finney's 1955 novel (previous adaptations include the 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Philip Kaufman's 1978 remake). But the alien-engineered change that threatens humans in this version is no longer a matter of pods that enclose victims while they sleep, but a virus-like "highly resilient organism" transmitted through body fluids. It is up to Dr. Stephen Galeano (Jeffrey Wright), Washington, D.C. psychiatrist Carol Bennell (Nicole Kidman) and her colleague, Ben (Daniel Craig), to discover the antidote.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

"Somebody finally realized there's a war going on, and the only way we're gonna win it is in a lab!" Bent over his microscope, Dr. Galeano isn't a likely action movie hero, and neither are his cohorts. The change in this old story's plot suits our current times. The film indicates Carol's personal chaos with its fragmented, sometimes hard-to-follow storyline, which cuts back and forth in time. And Carol's perspective also limits potential philosophical questions. When her ex, Tucker (Jeremy Northam), tries to infect their young son, Oliver (Jackson Bond), with the organism, he insists that it's for the boy's good, to be part of "our world," where everyone feels peaceful and "the same" (news reports reveal that the rest of the world is changing: Darfur declares a ceasefire, the Iraqi president calls off suicide bombings, and Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush appear together, all smiles and agreements). As Tucker puts it, this conformity by force isn't so different from the pills Carol prescribes for her unhappy patients: Everyone just wants to "feel better."

The hitch is that the new world cannot brook difference, so anyone who's immune to the transition or otherwise resists it is eliminated -- brutally. And so the film undergoes its own change, from sharp paranoid thriller to noisy action flick, with lots of shooting and cars crashing, a chase in D.C.'s metro system, and a by-the-numbers helicopter rescue. Sadly, all this physical commotion eventually prevails over the film's more complicated questions about fear, independence, and social order.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the impact of implied violence in scary movies. Are movies scarier when they show violent acts taking place on screen or when those acts are left to your imagination? Why? Families can also discuss what message the movie is trying to send, if any. Do you think the aliens' proposed choice -- sameness without fighting, or individualism and selfishness accompanied by war and conflict -- is meant to reflect any specific issues in today's society?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 16, 2007
DVD release date:January 29, 2008
Cast:Daniel Craig, Jeffrey Wright, Nicole Kidman
Director:Oliver Hirschbiegel
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Science Fiction
Run time:93 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:violence, disturbing images and terror.

This review of The Invasion was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old Written byStanley April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Nicole Kidman is the highlight of this great film...

From the creators of the Matrix comes a great remake starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. I know that sounds outlandish, but it's true, this sci-fi fodder is worth your time and money, the critics were way too harsh. Seriously, go enjoy this movie...

Teen, 13 years old Written byL.C.H. December 27, 2008
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

An Amazingly Deep Movie

I saw this movie expecting your standard horror alien/zombie movie. I was suprised to find that this movie delved into deep themes about the cost of the freedoms and peace. There is not a whole lot of outright violence, but much is implied and the movie is very creepy at times. I reccomend this to all kids 13 and older and some mature kids ages 12 or older.

Teen, 14 years old Written bydirecterdude123 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Way better then I thought!

This movie is really scary! there is alot of violants and people being attacked. This movie is good for any kid over 13 that loves violant alien action!

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