Man" on DVD
In Paul Verhoeven's "Hollow Man," one can take the title as a reference
to Dr. Sebastian Caine's character as much as it is to this modern invisible
man tale itself.
Caine (Kevin Bacon) is a brilliant, driven scientist who, unfortunately,
is also ruthless, arrogant, and egotistical as hell. He can certainly
back up his brilliance and ego with results, but that doesn't make him
any more likable.
With his former main squeeze (Elisabeth Shue) and their support team,
he's working on a project for the Defence Department that will allow them
to phase shift people so they appear invisible to the naked eye.
Apparently, it isn't nearly as hard to make things disappear as it is
to bring them back, and that's been the stumbling block preventing the
project from achieving ultimate success.
Then a breakthrough comes with a gorilla - in a spectacular computer-generated
special effects sequence. The next step is to try it on a human and Caine
browbeats the team into letting him volunteer for these unauthorized tests.
Naturally, things don't go as planned and they can't bring him back.
Not only that, but it seems that the longer a creature stays out of sight
the more it affects its brain, and Caine's God complex begins to take
over and he begins exercising his new power in dubious ways.
This is your typical Paul Verhoeven Hollywood film, in that it's a neat
yarn told well, with great effects - and more graphic violence than is
necessary to tell the story. Still, there are only a few scenes in which
the gore is obtrusive and it doesn't really spoil the movie, especially
if you're familiar with the director's works.
There are also a few times when your suspension of disbelief threatens
to be suspended, but on the whole, Hollow Man succeeds very well.
Bacon is terrific as the brilliantly flawed scientist, and Shue is smart,
sexy, and concerned as the Number Two person who has eschewed their relationship
in favor of one with a real human being - in this case the Number Three
person (Josh Brolin).
The special effects were the main thing being promoted with this film's
release, and they don't let you down. As with his "Starship Troopers," Verhoeven has used
the state-of-the-art in computer effects, and it shows. Fortunately, there's
also a pretty neat yarn to accompany them.
The DVD is presented in digitally mastered anamorphic widescreen, which
fills your 16x9 TV screen, and the picture quality is first rate. The
Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is also excellent.
There are plenty of extras, too, including a feature commentary with
director Verhoeven, star Bacon, and script writer Andrew W. Marlowe. You
also get an isolated track of Jerry Goldsmith's score, a "Making of" featurette
and three deleted scenes that include Verhoeven's commentary.
As if that weren't enough, there are a total of 15 behind the scenes
featurettes called "Fleshing out the Hollow Man", effects comparisons
that use picture in picture to illustrate the magicians' work, talent
files, production notes, and the usual annoying animated menus.
Hollow Man, from Columbia Tristar Home Video
113 minutes, Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 TV compatible, Dolby
Starring Kevin Bacon, Elisabeth Shue, Josh Brolin, Kim Dickens
Produced by Douglas Wick and Alan Marshall
Written by Andrew W. Marlowe, Directed by Paul Verhoeven
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