Review – Body Snatchers (1993)

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body-snatchers-526e6575aa4c8Welcome to Mind Control Month, Aliens Week – Day 4. It’s the last film of the week covering the Invasion of the Body Snatchers remakes. Today, we’re looking at 1993’s version, simply called Body Snatchers. Dun, dun, dun! Everyone has their own “version” of this film, and this was my wife’s version. As with each variation, this film has its own positives and negatives, but are those differences big enough for anyone to consider this the best version of the film? We’ll see. Let’s first talk about this version’s plot.

The teenager Marti Malone is traveling along her summer vacations with her father, the EPA inspector Steve Malone, her stepmother Carol Malone and her young stepbrother Andy to a military base where her father will inspect some toxic products. In a gas station bathroom on the road, she is scared by a soldier that advises her to not sleep, because they get you when you sleep. Once in the base, she becomes a friend of Jean Platt, the daughter of the general in charge of the base, and the helicopter pilot Tim Young. Marti and her father see that people are acting strange, and sooner they find that aliens are cloning the human beings in the base and invading Earth. – IMDb

The one thing that I really appreciate throughout all of these films is that each and every film is almost different enough to consider it an anthology centered around an imminent alien invasion threat. Each story is just different enough to feel unique among the spectrum. That makes it easier to find a preferred version for the fans. The one problem I had with this one was, unlike the other movies I saw, none of the actors were really super known. That was one thing I could always count on, no matter how good or bad the movie really was, it always had a pretty decent and well-known cast. In order for a number of unknown actors to really be memorable, they gotta really impress you with the characters themselves, and I don’t think they do. The characters are basically random victims during this alien threat, which makes it hard for you to really love them like they probably want you to.

Of course, this is all just speculations based on the initial impressions. Let’s go ahead and break down Body Snatchers to interpret the stars.

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PEOPLE SCORE – 7/10
Acting – 1|Characters – 1|Casting – 1|Importance – 2|Chemistry – 2

Well, we didn’t receive too terrible of a score for the people category this time. I believe it had a little bit of a better grasp specifically on chemistry, as that now has full points, but everything else mostly remains how the others were scored. The chemistry itself at least followed a family close enough for the audience to get somewhat invested in who they are, which definitely helped. As always, everybody in the film had an important role to ultimately play in the progress of the plot. Everything else was just fine, though. The acting was mostly sub-par, the characters aren’t really memorable, and neither were the actual actors playing those parts.

WRITING SCORE – 8/10
Dialogue – 2|Balanced – 2|Story – 1|Originality – 1|Interesting – 2

Alright, so next up is the writing score, which also did an alright job. Is it possible we may have a decent movie on our hands? Only time will tell. The dialogue in the film was mostly typical, but there is a speech in the film that, as my wife pointed out, is somewhat memorable. You have people running for their lives, but you have to ask the question, in a world that’s just overflowing with these alien beings…where? Where will you go? The balance was nice and smooth, as it took us on a gentle but thrilling journey. The story itself, while unique from the other films, wasn’t unique enough to be meaningful. There wasn’t a big heart to the story past the fact that it centers on a family, but if you don’t care too deeply about the characters, it’s hard to find any meaningful story in there. Originality, once again, it’s a unique take on the genre, but they are actually beginning to blend in way too much at this point, but hey, I still consider it pretty darn interesting.

NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 8/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 0|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 2

The narrative structure for Body Snatchers was a little bit strange. While the introduction is perfectly in place, getting us to know all the characters, it blends way too much into the inciting incident, and there’s never a clear moment where something specifically happens that changes everything, that’s because it already has. Like the scary man in the bathroom warned the girl, in the beginning, don’t fall asleep, that’s how they get you. A nice intro shocker, but ultimately the inciting incident, misplaced and unclear. The rest of the film is fine, though. The obstacles were a-plenty, the climax was a pretty good culmination of everything else, and the falling action did a great job, once again, and returning to a new norm.

ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 3/10
Rewatchability – 1|Fun – 1|Impulse/Buy – 0|Impulse/Talk – 0|Sucks you in – 1

Alright, so 3/10 is the score for how entertaining the film is. On one hand, you can easily say it is more entertaining than 1978’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers, on the other hand, that’s not really that hard to accomplish. Everything was touch and go here. It is rewatchable to a degree – would I watch it if it somehow found its way to me, yes. Would I go looking for it? No. Is it fun? Yes, I believe their attention to detail in showing the audience how the pods really work was much better done here, but still ultimately inconvenient. I have no impulse to buy it, own it, or talk about it in the slightest. Does it suck you in? Sometimes, it does…other times, you could drift off to sleep.

TOTAL SPECIAL – 30/50
Alien mind control – 0|Horror – 5|Thriller – 10|Sci-Fi – 5|Halfway Decent – 10

Onto the specialty category where I wrote the five questions down before seeing the movie. First and foremost, is this alien mind control? I meant to bring this up in the last film, but no it’s not. The entire copying the body and cloning them has nothing to do with mind control. How is the horror? I believe it had a spooky element to it, but it didn’t really grasp the creeping nature of the last film. Was it a good thriller? Personally, I would say that the thriller aspect was pretty much perfect from the get go. How was it’s sci-fi? Pretty much like the last film, it’s about aliens cloning people, but it doesn’t really bother to go into detail as to how they do it. Finally, was it halfway decent? I would say yes.

TOTAL – 62/100

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