22 June 2003 | EdSi2001
This just ain't Heinlein...
How the producers got away with calling this "Robert A. Heinlein's Puppet Masters" amazes me - because the only resemblance to Heinlein's genuinely chilling short story about Titan 'slugs' are the character names. That's it. None of the wonderfully satirical espionage group shenanigans, none of the gripping suspense, none of the character development, and none of the setting. "Puppet Masters" is not supposed to be set in 1994, it's supposed to be set in 1957 - but a different 1957 to the one we know. I mean, this film didn't even attempt the flying cars or the hand-held lasers. Like so many new sci-fi films made from older literature classics, the fiction has been cut out like some sort of hideous tumor and the science has been exaggerated to make sure the audience knows it's SCIENCE fiction. The fact that the science is largely irrelevant is lost on most modern screen writers - and this movie is no exception.
Another example of a perfectly good story that has been shredded to make it 'fit' Hollywood's version of science-fiction, which is largely made up of clanking robots, flashing lights and explosions.
"The Faculty" was a good SF movie. And it was right - Body Snatchers is a rip-off from this story, but it never pretended to be anything but. Faculty had some enjoyable sequences. It wasn't perfect, and elements were laughable, but despite this, it was true to itself..._this_ film was just the massacre of a perfectly good story.
I only hope anyone else who ever tries to make a movie of a Heinlein classic will stick to the book and make a decent movie, not rehash the story until it sounds good - because they sounded good before.