A frustratingly not-terrible action thriller.
"The Invasion" is the fourth, and the least, of the movies made from Jack Finney's classic science fiction novel The Body Snatchers. Here is a great story born to be creepy, and the movie churns through it like a road company production. If the first three movies served as parables for their times, this one keeps shooting off parable rockets that fizzle out. How many references in the same movie can you have to the war in Iraq and not say anything about it?
Don Siegel's classic "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1956) was about alien pods that arrived on Earth, sucked up the essence of human hosts and became duplicates of them -- exact copies, except for what made them human. It was widely decoded as an attack on McCarthyism. Phil Kaufman's "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1978), inexplicably described by Pauline Kael as "the American movie of the year," was said to have something to do with Watergate and keeping tabs on those who are not like you. Abel Ferrara's "Body Snatchers" (1993), by far the best of the films, might have been about the spread of AIDS.
And "The Invasion"? One of the alien beings argues persuasively that if everyone were like them, there'd be no war in Iraq, no genocide in Darfur -- no conflict in general, I guess, although they don't seem to have much of a position on global warming. I don't have a clue what the movie thinks, if anything, about Iraq, which is mentioned so frequently, but it may be a veiled attack on cults that require unswerving conformity from their members. Which cults? I dunno.
In all four movies, alien spores arrive on Earth from space. In the early films, they take the form of pods, which look like very large, brown snow peas. Some viewers complained after Kaufman's movie that they couldn't believe aliens could truck those pods all over San Francisco, to which the obvious reply is: Do you expect a movie titled "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" to be plausible?