Jesus Christ this movie's terrible.
Okay, wait. Let's start over.
Ever since 1956's Invasion of the Body Snatchers—a film based on a novel by Jack Finney—the idea of body snatchin' aliens has been a sci-fi/horror staple. There's the 1956 film, the 1978 update with Donald Sutherland, the 1993 remake, and a slew of various rip-offs. Point is, if you're gonna do the whole body snatchers thing, you'd better bring something new to the table. The Invasion doesn't. (The plot, in case you missed it the first three times: Aliens sneakily invade Earth, gradually replacing people with creepy, soulless aliens who look human but aren't.)
At their best, the body snatchers tales riff on paranoia—something that's almost always genuinely unsettling, and something that isn't ever going to go out of style. But the uninspired, confused The Invasion (despite more than a few clunky references to Hurricane Katrina, Iraq, AIDS, and, of course, 9/11) sucks all the subversive joy out of its once-original premise.
The Invasion's troubled history doesn't help: Originally, the film was directed by German filmmaker Oliver Hirschbiegel, but Warner Bros. hated his cut—so they hired The Matrix's Wachowski Brothers for rewrites, and V for Vendetta's James McTeigue for reshoots. The result is a clusterfuck of Hirschbiegel's original footage and McTeigue's uncredited additions: While psychiatrist Carol Bennell (a bored Nicole Kidman) frets about space invaders, she teams up with two doctors, Ben Driscoll (Daniel Craig, also bored) and Stephen Galeano (a wasted Jeffrey Wright), in an attempt to rescue her precocious son. Along the way: Inept dialogue, craptacular CG, and enough unintentional laughter to make The Invasion classifiable as a comedy.
Oh, and—spoiler alert!—unlike prior versions of the story, The Invasion boasts a fantastically unbelievable happy ending. Yeah: The Invasion—a supposedly scary movie about suspicion, conformity, and human frailty—ends with a glib, chipper deus ex machina. I suspect this final insult is the doing of a brainwashed, alien-controlled Warner Bros. exec. Either that, or The Invasion is a genuinely painful example of just how creatively bankrupt Hollywood can get. Whichever.