The Invasion (Oliver Hirschbiegel, 2007)
Oliver Hirschbiegel's 2007 The Invasion, the umpteenth remake of Jack Finney's 1955 classic The Body Snatchers is easily the fastest-paced, most action-packed version yet--and that's not a recommendation. In 1956 Don Siegel directed the lean, classically proportioned Invasion of the Body Snatchers; in 1978 Philip Kaufman did a lushly photographed (by Michael Chapman) comic remake; in 1993 Abel Ferrara's Body Snatchers transposes the action inside a military base.
All three versions start out by establishing a familiar, quotidian world--a small town, a big city, a family newly arrived at a new military assignment--against which odd details begin to appear, accumulate, create an atmosphere of paranoia and gathering menace. Setting the films side-by-side, you can see a progression of premises demonstrating how Finney's potent story of alien conformism versus human individuality can apply to different times, and differing circumstances: the 1956 classic explored the cracks in the smooth façade of small-town middle America; the 1978 version evoked the strangeness of a major city (San Francisco) and poked fun (the mordantly funny W.D. Richter wrote the script) at complacent Sixties liberals (in a way the film anticipates the rise of Ronald Reagan and a more conservative, less intellectually astringent America). Ferrara took the previous films' concept (that the nature of modern culture leaves it open to alien mimicry and infiltration) and pushed it even further: soldiers--trained to follow orders and not question, to wear uniforms and move in carefully choreographed motions, to consistently value the unit (the platoon, the division, the service) above one's self--seem like an inevitable choice for takeover.