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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 60:40)
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • French: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • German: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Italian: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
    English, Polish, Portuguese, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, German - Hearing Impaired
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

MGM/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 111 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers is a classic horror movie based on the book by Jack Finney. It follows the story of Matthew (Donald Sutherland) and Elizabeth (Brooke Adams) who discover an alien invasion that is taking over the people in San Francisco by taking their individuality and become “drone-like shadows of their former selves.” The two discover the creepy pods which are used to clone the bodies, and destroy the original.

"It really became frightening"

The film, although over 20 years old, is still able to grasp an audience with its thrilling plot twists. It isn’t as terrifying as it could have been, but the twists and turns throughout the story are enough to keep the audiences’ attention. The real frightener though is the line delivery, and some lines of the script itself. Some of the lines are just bizarre and once heard you want to know whether what you heard was correct or not. Some of the lines just don’t fit in properly and really can make you laugh. Plus the fact that Leonard Nimoy rears his head is another thing. However, saying this, the tension that the script can and does successfully create is superbly portrayed by the uniquely stylised Director Philip Kaufman and gives the film back some credibility.

  Video
Contract

The video is surprisingly good for a film of its time. Generally the grain is very good, apart from the opening credits where it is rather annoying and obvious. The opening credits also show many signs of film artefacts, but like the grain, improves as the film goes on.

The symbolism in the visual images is really interesting to see, with many symbols being seen in the opening few scenes. The main symbol is a web-like shape which represents the ‘tentacles’ of the aliens from the pods, and is always between the camera and some people in the background.

The layer change occurs at 60:40 as is very clean and occurs during one of the many quiet points throughout the film. A slight pause is notable but because it is a slow scene does not draw attention to itself.

The video is in the aspect of 1.85:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. There are no visible MPEG artefacts during the feature. The film is very dark though, which means that the build up to the climax is like watching a black screen with small semi-white figures moving around. The shadow detail isn’t brilliant, but for a film of this is an acceptable transfer.

  Audio
Contract

The packaging states that there is an audio track in 5.1 Dolby Surround but there are only 6 audio tracks – 5 Dolby Stereo languages and a Stereo Audio Commentary. That aside the audio was only just passable. The mix between the sound effects and the dialogue is very poor, with the dialogue either being lost under the sound effects, or the dialogue levels too low. At some scenes in the movie the audio sounds like an unedited track such as the Deleted Scenes audio on the Go: Deluxe Collectors Edition disc, with background noise of some lines suddenly ending when that characters lines are finished and coming back again when their new line starts again. Some of the sound effects peak and distort which detracts away from the surreal experience.

The score in the movie, if you could even call it that is really disappointing and rather irritating with repeating synthesised shot chords which add nothing but annoyance to the movie. The score is only there for a very brief part of the film, and most of the film runs with no background music, or so-called music.

There are a few cases of lip sync problems where lines had been re-recorded and poorly added back to the video. An example is at 66:25 where Adams’ character starts screaming some words but her mouth isn’t moving with her lips.

  Extras
Contract

The packaging lists three extra features – the Original Theatrical Trailer and the Audio Commentary plus a strange ‘Feature.’ Normally Feature is the main item on the disc, not a special feature. Anyway, the Trailer is quite long compared to today’s trailers and tells more of the story than some of the trailers today. The audio commentary is from Director Phillip Kaufman and is a very interesting commentary, with only a few short quiet gaps. It even explains Robert Duvall’s strange cameo in the opening.

  Overall  
Contract

The film has a good story, and a good video track for its time but is severely let down by the poor audio mix. The extras boast nothing extremely special, but the commentary will appeal to fans of the film. Definitely worth a hire from the video shop for a late night’s viewing, but not a must-have for your collection, unless you are a die hard fan.


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      And I quote...
    "Bad hairstyles and clothing colours aside, Invasion is a mediocre transfer from a 1978 movie which boasts great special effects for its time."
    - Martin Friedel
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          REC R-800c
    • TV:
          TEAC 68cm CTV
    • Speakers:
          Cambrige pc works
    • Centre Speaker:
          Cambrige pc works
    • Surrounds:
          Cambrige pc works
    • Subwoofer:
          Cambrige
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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