The Puppet Masters (1994)
Robert A. Heinlein's 1951 novel The Puppet Masters comes to the screen 43 years later. Sharp-eyed viewers will recognize similarities to Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but Heinlein's book came first. Parasitic space aliens invade the Midwest, taking over the bodies of humans and manipulating these unfortunates to do their bidding. US security agent Donald Sutherland and his team of troubleshooters attempt to squash the extraterrestrial scheme before everyone in the world is turned into Howdy Doody. Adding an extra layer to this familiar scenario is the fact that Sutherland doesn't get along with everyone on his side-in particular, he has a lot of trouble relating with his son Eric Thal. Stuart Ormes' perfunctory direction is not up to the standard set by the actors and special effects. … More
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Critic Reviews for The Puppet Masters
Only the most undiscriminating monster-pic buff will come away satisfied.
There's no suspense (ETs rampage from the word go); no frissons (loud hailers telegraph the shocks); and it's insufficiently bright to be an hommage.
A choppy, unsuspenseful succession of chases, melodramatic showdowns and routine special effects.
The Puppet Masters occasionally lives up to its reputation, but the delay between story conception and celluloid conversion has clearly wilted its power and potential.
Attempts at detailed characterization don't work particularly well, and there's a love story that feels as forced as it is superfluous - although even that isn't as unnecessary as the film's final ten minutes.
Despite accomplished special effects and a coolly intelligent script, this paranoid thriller never follows through on its eerie promise.
...generally as far-fetched and overwrought as its 1950s sci-fi brethren.
Not bad if you can get past the "Invasion of the Plot Snatchers" set-up.
its story logic is solid, its science is satisfying and its thrills are nerve-wracking
Some movies with great potential can be ruined or denied their greatness by a single detail.
The special effects are low-budget, but effective. The creatures are disgustingly realistic.
Undiscriminating fans of the genre will probably not be terribly disappointed, but this is certainly familiar territory.
This movie is so wonderfully archaic and reminiscent of 1950s alien invasion stories that one cannot help but like it -- despite rather lacklustre directing.
Audience Reviews for The Puppet Masters
Conspiracy sci-fi in which the human race is being infiltrated by aliens who can control the bodies of their human victims. On their trail are two FBI agents, one male, one female. One is a believer, the other a sceptic. Any of this sound familiar...? Yes, it's a total rip off of the X-Files, but it's adequately done, and Donald Sutherland is always worth watching.More
A captivating paraniod sci-fi thriller well directed by Stuart Orme, that features a outstanding lead star performance by Donald Sutherland, as Andrew Nivens the shrewd, sardonic head of a secret top-level U.S. Security Agency who leads his team consisting of agent Sam Nivens his disaffected son, Dr. Mary Sefton a specialist on alien biology from NASA, both roles are well played by Eric Thai & Julie Warner and agent Jarvis, nicely played by comedian and character actor Richard Beizer into an investigation of a alleged UFO landing in a small midwestern town, they quickly discover that small parasite-like extraterrestrials creatures have indeed landed and are taking control of the town residents and manipulating their bodies and minds like they were puppets, now Sutherland and his team face an escalating crisis as the creatures multiply and keep spreading to the point the the U.S. Army has to be brought in to stop the seemingly unstoppable alien menace. Solid supporting performances by Keith David, Will, Patton, Yaphet Kotto, Sam Anderson, Gerry Bamman and Marshall Bell, but its Sutherland superlative turn in itself that makes this motion picture worth watching. The film has several superbly staged action sequences, and an intelligent screenplay by Ted Elliott, Teau Russio, and David S. Goyer, which is based on Robert Heiniein's original story. Excellent visual effects with remarkable animatronic slug-like alien parasites creatures by Gred Cannorm, A solid piece of science fiction that has some genuinely creepy moments. Highly Recommended.More
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