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Sci-Fi Movie Remake Deals with Modern Time Concerns

The science fiction movie "The Invasion" is opening in American movie theaters. Set in current times, the film is based on Jack Finney's 1954 novel "The Body Snatchers." .

Psychiatrist Carol Bennell, played by Nicole Kidman, watches her world lose its humanity. With epidemic speed, people turn into emotionless automatons, hunting down anyone who is not behaving like them.

An intelligent alien virus infects people's bodies and alters their DNA structure.

Dr. Bennell is the divorced mother of a young boy, Oliver. One of the few humans immune to the virus, Oliver is kidnapped by his infected father. Bennell will do anything to find and save her son.

Actress Nicole Kidman says what attracted her to the role is the maternal love it conveys. She says it is a love that suprasses any obstacle and she relates a story about a woman, only one and a half meters tall, who lifted a burning car to save her trapped child under it. "That (story) astounded me," says Kidman.

Actor Daniel Craig plays scientist Ben Driscoll. He is in love with Carol Bennell and is helping her find her son.

"The Invasion" is the latest of several movie adaptations of the novel. The first, made in 1956 by director Don Siegel, became a classic. It followed the subtle but steady dehumanizing of a small American town as alien pods took over human bodies. That film noir reflected the postwar era when Americans felt their individuality was threatened by Communism on one hand and Senator McCarthy's anti-Communist investigations on the other.

Philip Kaufman's 1978 sinister remake, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" was set in San Francisco. That remake depicted the urban alienation and self-absorption of its times.

Oliver Hirschbiegel's modern take carries the same message: "Do not fall asleep or you will lose your self."

The film plays upon 21st-century realities and fears. This invasion no longer comes from alien pods. The virus sweeps suddenly across the population like a flu pandemic.

The movie asks whether a totally unemotional society, albeit it alien, could bring an end to human unhappiness

"The Invasion" offers impressive special effects and fast-paced action. But it lacks the ominous atmosphere of its two predecessors. All in all, this formulaic movie lacks depth, and its talented actors, direction. "The Invasion" is a soulless flick infected by its own virus.