Review: Philip Kaufman's 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' Arrives in Stunning 4K Courtesy of Kino Lorber

by Sam Cohen

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday November 23, 2021

Of all the source material commonly mined for remakes, Jack Finney's sci-fi drama "The Body Snatchers" is probably the one most frequently visited by Hollywood. The simple plot of an alien race duplicating humans and slowly taking over is a pretty common thread that Hollywood has exploited and continues to exploit, with some variations being superior to others for various reasons. But it's Philip Kaufman's 1978 remake, titled "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," that still stands above them all.

Starring a murderer's row of incredible actors who flourished during the 1970s and '80s — including Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Leonard Nimoy, Jeff Goldblum, and Nancy Cartwright — "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" employed breakthrough practical effects to drive the terror inherent in alien takeover directly into the hearts of audiences. The ambitious pod sequences are often cited as some of the greatest moments that sci-fi in cinema has ever produced, but everything is guided by the sure-handed Kaufman,, who understands that much of the film's power is garnered by the exact, precise performances fostered by Sutherland, Adams and Goldblum.

Kino Lorber Studio Classics brings "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with a release that pulls out all the stops for the genre classic. The 4K presentation is culled from a 4K scan of the original camera negative that was graded and approved by Kaufman himself. The Dolby Vision HDR gives incredible depth to the darker sequences in the film, of which there are many — so much so, that it's sometimes like watching a new movie altogether. The blacks look deep and infinite when compared to previous editions.

As for special features, a great many have been carried over from previous releases and are presented here in standard 1080p. Among them is a terrific interview with cinematographer Michael Chapman. It's a rare occurrence to hear a craftsman talk about the difficulties of shooting practical effects, especially since much of their nature is at odds with whatever naturally is occurring in any scene, so it's refreshing to get exactly that from Chapman.

If you're a fan of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," then this is an essential purchase. Even if you haven't seen the film, I highly recommend you pick up this edition. This is certainly the best the film has ever looked and sounded at home.

Other special features include:

•Audio commentary by director Philip Kaufman
•Audio commentary by author/film historian Steve Haberman
•"Star-Crossed in the Invasion" — Interview with actress Brooke Adams
•"Re-Creating the Invasion" — Interview with screenwriter W.D. Richter
• "Scoring the Invasion" — Interview with composer Denny Zeitlin
• "Leading the Invasion" — Interview with actor Art Hindle
• "Writing the Pod" — Interview with Jack Finney expert Jack Seabrook
• "Re-Visitors from Outer Space, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Pod" featurette
• "Practical Magic: The Special Effects Pod" featurette
• "The Man Behind the Scream: The Sound Effects Pod" featurette
• "The Invasion Will Be Televised: The Cinematography Pod" featurette

"Invasion of the Body Snatchers" is now available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.