I often find it perplexing why some actors and actresses sign on for some of the movies that they do, especially when it should be obvious from the get-go that the movie will not be all that great or even do remotely well at the box office. Case in point would be the most recent adaptation of Jack Finney’s classic novel The Body Snatchers called “The Invasion” starring Nicole Kidman (“The Others”) and Daniel Craig (“007: Casino Royale”).

“The Invasion” follows the life of Carol Bennell (Nicole Kidman), a Washington D.C. psychiatrist, who begins to suspect that many of the people around her, and throughout the rest of the city are acting suspiciously out of character. As the oddities begin to mount, and the rest of the world follows suit, Carol along with her close friend Ben Driscoll (Daniel Craig) believe that maybe we have been invaded by an outside force. It appears that the change in people’s personalities and behavior only occur after they have entered a deep sleep for the night, now Carol and Ben must fight to stay awake and stay alive before they succumb to the change that is quickly overtaking everyone in the entire world.

I really wanted to see this movie when I first heard about it, but I found it odd that I hadn’t seen all that many previews for it prior to its release. Truthfully, I don’t believe I saw a single preview advertising this film’s release until a week or two before its debut in theaters across the country. Generally when hardly any previews are shown prior to a film’s release, it is a fairly good indication that the movie will not be all that great, and it will nine times out of ten be followed up by rather lousy reviews from the critics. Well, go figure the movie was released and what do you know, the critics seemed to absolutely hate it. With that knowledge I figured I wouldn’t see “The Invasion” unless it was a cheap rental or free on TV at some point. However, I recently heard that the movie turned out to be better than expected and that some of the critics may have been overly harsh in their initial criticism of the movie. So, I decided to give the movie a try, but after viewing it, I should have trusted the critics and my own instincts about the movie, and avoided it completely.

“The Invasion” is one of those kinds of movies that tries really hard to scare the audience with genuine thrills, relying less on shock value; except it never actually succeeds in accomplishing its goal. The film’s pace is way too slow, which works for some movies, but in this one it causes boredom to set in and a general lack of interest in the movie’s overall outcome. The story for the film was somewhat strange to me, now I must admit that I have never read the novel on which this film is based, but I have to believe that for the novel to be as successful as it was it must have been more entertaining than this adaptation.

Aside from the pacing being too slow, the motives for the invading force (presumably aliens of some kind, though we never see them or a ship) are somewhat confusing. It appears that their ultimate goal is for us to live in a world of peace and harmony, and they believe that the only way we can achieve this end result is for them to take us over. Well, that’s all fine and dandy, except why go through all the trouble just to promote peace in our world. If they felt that we were too destructive of a race to ever truly achieve peace in our world, why not just kill us all, allowing them to set up shop on our world and then they could live in peace in our stead. At least that plot makes a bit more sense to me, plus it never was explained why they singled us out to begin with. I mean choosing us because of our destructive nature was their primary motive, but the fact that the invaders seemed to be willing to live out their days in our bodies indicated that they were content with living on our world. So, was there something wrong with their world, or was it destroyed or rendered uninhabitable? These questions began to become more pressing to me as the movie unfolded and the motive for the invaders began to seem more and more ridiculous and just too simple to believe. If the movie had addressed some of the questions I had raised, perhaps the movie would have been better, but the pacing still would have been an issue, though at least the actual story would have made a bit more sense to me in the process.

The acting was decent, but I expected more from at least the two leads in the picture, Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. Nicole did a fairly solid job as a single mother who is just desperate to save her son from sharing the fate of most of mankind, although in a few scenes I thought she went a little overboard with the hysteria as she struggled to find her son and then keep him safe. Daniel Craig was a little more on the other end of the acting spectrum; instead of going overboard in his performance, I found him to be a little too subdued and almost bored with his character, which led me to not care about his character’s fate nearly as much as I should have. The supporting cast was alright, most of their performances were wooden, but I forgive that because I believe that was the way the director wanted them to act so the audience could differentiate between those who were normal humans and those who had been taken over.

In the end, “The Invasion” really fails to gain any real momentum within the story. The acting was decent, but a bit too uneven amongst the various performances that the unevenness begins to distract from the already dull story. Perhaps with better pacing, more consistent performances, and a much stronger motive for the invading forces, “The Invasion” may have proven to have been a better movie. Instead, “The Invasion” wound up being just another below average science-fiction movie that tried to take itself too seriously and found itself generally disliked by the critics and moviegoers everywhere.

“The Invasion” is rated PG-13 for language and violence.