Like a bottomless well of alien goo, Jack Finney’s 1955 novella The Body Snatchers continues to irrigate fresh remakes. And here’s one for the pod people. How else to explain this offensively dumbed-down version, an $11 brain wipe? Today’s moviegoing vegetables apparently have no time to suss out subtle paranoias, as Don Siegel laced into his expert 1956 original. No inclination to distinguish between docile, colonized souls and, say, a stiffly directed Nicole Kidman or Daniel Craig (both of whom redefine the term pod casting). No patience to reflect on boomer urban anxieties—as did Philip Kaufman in his sly San Francisco 1978 remake—or military monomania, as Abel Ferrara managed in his 1993 tweak.
What do pod folk really want? They want projectile vomiting. They want ridiculous CGI stunts involving several people squirming on top of a speeding car. (Thank the Wachowskis for that; the film was taken away from its credited director and given to Team Matrix to spice up.) A little kid in jeopardy would be nice, as would a happy, curable ending. Yes, I’m ruining it for you. America is certainly due for a Body Snatchers remake—has been since the Patriot Act or Sanjaya. But to set a new version in the capital and not allude to our Pod in Chief is a crime. Amazingly, a final gesture suggests our war-happy behavior, pointless occupation and xenophobia are human traits worth treasuring. The invasion couldn’t come any sooner.