Memoirs of an Invisible Man on DVD
John Carpenter directed this Chevy Chase vehicle that disappeared from theaters
quicker than Chases character disappears in the film.
Its a shame, too. Not because Carpenter directed (were big John
Carpenter fans), but that it bombed. Its actually a nifty take on the
invisible man theme that couples an interesting story with innovative (for the
time) special effects.
And well bet you cant see through the plot!
Chase is Nick Holloway, a stock analyst whose life is turned inside out when,
hung over and looking for a place to sneak away for a nap rather than attend
a lecture, he unwittingly stays in a doomed building when all hell breaks loose.
When he awakes, the building is partially there and partially invisible - and
hes totally gone.
Which brings him to the attention of an evil government agent (as if there's
any other kind to Hollywood?) deliciously played by Sam Neill. Neill sees the
obvious potential of having an invisible agent working for Uncle Sam, and will
stop at nothing to acquire same regardless of the consequences. If he can't
convince him to serve his country, he'll snuff 'im.
Meanwhile, just before Nick disappeared, literally and figuratively, he met
the lovely Alice Monroe (Daryl Hannah), a documentary filmmaker. They share
an immediate attraction, but when Nick drops out of sight she figures its
Well, wrongo! As it turns out, shes the only one who can help Nick and
the latter part of the film sees them trying to escape Neill and his people
This is not a comedy and maybe thats why it failed; most people associate
Chase with comedies. There are light moments, for sure, but its more a
light dramatic adventure than anything.
Chase is good as Nick. He brings just the right amount of cynicism balanced
with vulnerability to the part and he keeps a stiff upper lip throughout all
the unwanted adventures he finds himself in the midst of.
Darryl Hannah is, as always, decorative and her performance is fine. But its
Neill who steals the show; the gentle scientist of Jurassic Park is a ruthless
scheming nasty, and he pulls it off perfectly without ever resorting to scenery
The plot has some interesting takes on the invisibility theme and many of them
give great excuses for some marvelous special effects. George Lucas Industrial
Light & Magic was hired and as always they turn in a terrific effort. Its
interesting to see this film as a showcase of special effects, because it was
made during the transition from optical to digital. Theres a short featurette
on the effects accompanying the DVD and its quite interesting, though
it left us wanting much more.
Some of the invisibility issues covered include What happens when an
invisible person eats? and we are shown clearly see that, rather than
being a real hoot, being invisible is a dangerous curse. It may not make you
loony as it did in the classic Invisible Man with Claude Rains,
but it certainly keeps you hopping and on your guard!
Carpenter uses some interesting techniques to portray the invisibility. When
were seeing things from Chases point of view we can see him, but
when were looking from a neutral or different point of view, hes
invisible. This leads to some impressive staging and some more terrific effects.
Watch Neills performance as hes taken out of a building at gunpoint
by Chase to see what we mean!
The DVD certainly does the film justice. Its presented in a very good
anamorphic widescreen version, 16x9 TV compatible, and the picture quality is
Audio is Dolby Surround Stereo, or so they say. The qualitys fine, all
things considered, but there isnt a lot of surround in evidence.
Extras are sparse, unfortunately. Wed have loved it if there were a commentary
by Carpenter - perhaps accompanied by Chase. Carpenters commentaries are
always interesting and we can imagine that Chase would have made it even more
so - especially with his memories of the ordeals of filming.
But theres no commentary. Instead, you get some outtakes, the trailer,
and the abovementioned featurette on the effects.
Still, its better than nothing.
Memoirs of an Invisible Man may not be a classic, but its a decent, entertaining
and intelligent film - and if nothing else it should be seen because its
a John Carpenter flick - and that always means a good ride!
Memoirs of an Invisible Man, from Warner Home Video
99 min. anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1, 16x9 TV compatible), Dolby Digital surround
Starring Chevy Chase, Daryl Hannah, Sam Neill
Produced by Bruce Bodner and Dan Kolsrud
Written by Robert Collector & Dana Olsen and William Goldman, Directed by
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