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THE INVISIBLE

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Justin Chatwin, Margarita Levieva, Christopher Marquette, Marcia Gay Harden
Director: David S. Goyer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio: Hollywood
Features: See Review
Length: 98 Minutes
Release Date: October 16, 2007

“You know what's funny about this whole thing? You're the only one that can save me. Isn't that messed up?"

Film *

The Invisible falls into the category of movies that sound a lot better on paper as opposed to being executed as an actual entertainment package. It actually carries one of the more fitting movie titles in recent memory. The title refers to a character that can’t be seen, but when I hear this title, I think it applies more to the screenplay, simply because it isn’t there, neither is any level of intelligence, imagination, or plain old common sense to be found.

I gave an interest to the movie simply because I noticed the director was David S. Goyer, who co-wrote Batman Begins as well as all three Blade movies. He has a true knack for bringing bigger than life entertaining movies to the screen. Having said that, I have no idea what happened here except to say that Goyer didn’t contribute to the screenplay. My guess is that even he knew the script couldn’t be helped at all so he just proceeded and did what he could with the material.

The first several minutes show some promise as we are introduced to Nick Powell (Justin Chatwin), a most intelligent high schooler just days away from graduation. We learn that after graduating, Nick plans to attend a prestigious writing school in London. But after realizing his girlfriend, who he planned to take with him, wasn’t too serious of a girlfriend, he abandons his plan.

Minutes later, Nick is walking home when he is confronted by a gang of young criminals, one of whom goes to Nick’s school and has reason to believe that he ratted her out after he noticed she had some stolen jewelry in her locker. She extracts revenge by beating him with an inch of his life. Nick is left somewhere in the woods bloody, unconscious, and possibly dead.

But we see Nick the next morning making his way to school, in the same clothes he wore the night before but with no blood on his face or any signs that he was assaulted. Much to his surprise, he discovers that the rest of his class doesn’t respond to him or even seems to notice him. Yep folks, he must be invisible.

And right there is when The Invisible falls apart completely. I’m always one for originality, and while the plotline is its own way unique, it also manages to be insanely ridiculous. I would’ve even preferred a traditional invisible man movie, like the far superior Hollow Man, than what I was served in this lame duck.

Nick is invisible as a result of being nearly beaten to death. He soon learns that the only that he can be brought back to life is if his body is found. But wait, it gets even more unbelievable. It turns out the only person that can hear him is the very person responsible for laying the beating on him, Annie (Margarita Levieva).

The most insulting part of the movie, for me at least, was the absurd arc of the character of Annie. Being a teenage thug, she’s not the most likeable character in the world. Apart from being a non-caring thief and criminal, she gets away with talking as furiously as she wants to her dad and step mom. The movie eventually reveals why she got like that, but by then I still couldn’t have cared less. The idea of taking her character and making her even a little sympathetic and good halfway through the movie is inexplicable on so many levels.

Oh, and here’s another ludicrous moment. Short little Annie punches someone in the chest, sending him flying a little too high in the air. I didn’t know that being a petite high school student with a part time gig as a criminal qualifies as enough to grant you X-Men like strengths.

Another annoying quality the movie has to offer are countless scenes where Nick, once invisible, throws objects only to see that they are right where they were before he touched them. In other words, he’s not really touching anything. It doesn’t make our hero bright if by midway through the movie, he forgets that he can’t touch anything. And laughable line readings such as the one where the invisible Nick approaches his mom (Marcia Gay Harden in a phoned in performance), after being questioned by detectives and says, “I’m dead mom, I’M DEAD!” Again, by this point, our hero should have figured out that absolutely no one can hear him.

And there’s so much more ridiculousness surrounding The Invisible, which I’m not even going to delve into. Despite Goyer’s neat visual eye and a terrific alternative rock soundtrack, this movie has got so much more not going for it. Watching this movie is pretty much the same as watching a blank television screen…there’s nothing there!

Video ****

I can’t lie about the look of the disc, which is strong and thoroughly impressive. This release from Disney/Hollywood boasts some truly nice shots, which look nothing short of solid. Image is nothing but clear, colors are well handled, and nighttime and daytime shots both appear in top visual form.

Audio ***1/2

The 5.1 mix has quite a lot going on in this presentation. Any movie involving invisibility is going to include numerous sound tricks, and this presentation has countless such moments. The music on the soundtrack, featuring tracks by great bands such as Snow Patrol and TV on the Radio, is another high point. Dialogue delivery is also superbly handled.

Features **

The disc features two commentary tracks; one with director David S. Goyer and screenwriter Christine Roum, the second with screenwriter Mick Davis. Also included are Deleted Scenes and music videos for the songs “The Kill” by 30 Seconds to Mars and “Taking Back Control” by Sparta.

Summary:

There’s really nothing much to say about The Invisible, other than it made absolutely no sense. With acting that leaves quite a lot to be desired and a dreary story that garners more unintentional laughs than it should, this is one movie that really feels…well, hollow.

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