Small seed pods develop and float off a planet within space, ending up floating all the way to Planet Earth. We see these pods then transform into small pretty flowers in gardens. But these flowers pods begin to become something that the world has never seen before. Over time these flower pods mutate and have the power of copying a human body. They clone one person at a time, slowly taking over our Earth. One person investigating the strange events in San Fransisco is Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland) who is a public health inspector. He along with his friends try to prove the outbreak is real and generally learns more about this new invasion.
The film’s setup and plot are rather pleasing to see. We witness the beginning of the alien invasion but also the effects this invasion has on human life on Earth. It also doesn’t take long for the film to introduce the leading character of Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland) who as a lead is quite confident and likeable. He isn’t a hard-core action hero but he is wise, particularly when it comes to health matters.
The acting from Donald Sutherland was great to see and I was surprised to find out later that the actor did some of his own stunts (particularly in the third act). There are also other well-known actors in this film including Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum & Leonard Nimoy. While the additional cast is exciting and welcoming to see, the outcomes for their characters are predictable and overall they never carry the same enjoyment as Donald Sutherland.
Visually I truly enjoyed re-watching this film on a Blu-ray release which is now out of print in Australia. Considering the age of the film, I was personally impressed to see how well this film holds up today. Both visuals and even the film’s plot are all solid and feel fresh as a suspenseful sci-fi movie.
As a plot I loved the film’s beginning and last act (with a priceless twist ending), but the middle part of this film can feel slightly painful regarding the plot. Sometimes the film feels like it goes back and forth with certain scenes. There is also lots of screen time given to characters who are simply trying to convince others about what’s going on.
Overall, this film is loaded with many cinematic moments which are unforgettable once you watch it. If you’ve never seen this film, it belongs on your watch-list today. Surprisingly enough, this film holds up quite nicely and the film’s suspense is still strong, not to mention the surprising twist ending. Performances, particularly from the lead actor Donald Sutherland, are also impressive and delightful.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden