10/11/13

Blood Capsule #40

THE PUPPET MASTERS (1994)

C'mon, I had to review this film.  I had to!  It's known as a trite riff on Invasion of the Body Snatchers (the casting of Donald Sutherland doesn't help its reputation), but it's actually based on a novel that was written four years before Invasion's source material...um, materialized.  I haven't read the book.  Does the silver screen adaptation hold up?  Is it the bee's knees?  The canary's tusks?  The plankton's gizzards?  Mostly, yeah.  The script doesn't waste any precious seconds getting to the "alien slug" pandemonium.  These agglutinative quasi-facehuggers latch onto your neck and tap into your cortex.  For all intents and purposes, you are their bitch.  Or puppet.

We follow a sect of government agency types as they try to contain an abeyant outbreak.  The pacing is immediate, and well-worn themes (trust, betrayal, etc.) are given a fresh coat of pertinence.  Eric Thal and Julie Warner are spot-on as our mock Mulder/Scully tandem, respectively.  On the downside, the third act loses considerable steam, which is a side effect of the protracted running time.  The Puppet Masters doesn't know how to wrap itself up.  Maybe the nine (!) writers on staff couldn't decide on a proper resolution.  Still, sci-fi nuts are encouraged to rent this flick.  Watch it alongside 1993's Body Snatchers and 1998's The Faculty for gilt-edge kicks.

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