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Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992) - Blu-ray Review

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Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992) - Blu-ray Review

3 beers

Here comes yet another John Carpenter film on blu-ray! 

Chevy Chase in a John Carpenter movie?  Yes, indeed.  Memoirs of an Invisible Man, while not a commercial success, remains a favorite among Carpenter’s fans.  It also one of Chase’s top performances and, as he was behind the movement to make the film more exciting and more serious, he damn well knows it.  Hell, all fingers point to Carpenter taking on the project because he was interested in getting a good performance out of Chase.  And he does.  But none of that means Memoirs of an Invisible Man doesn’t suffer from a bit of an identity crisis.

The studio wanted Clark Griswald in this situation; it’d be funny they thought.  And they weren’t wrong but no one - on the performance side - wanted to do that with the material.  Warner Bros wanted a director used to special effects at the helm.  How on earth could they market this science fiction flick with John Carpenter's name attached to it?  Hell, it's as if they saw the writing on the wall in this situation.  They also wanted top notch invisible effects, the kind only ILM could produce, and they got that, striking out on two of the three concerns listed above. 

Put it all together and you have a solid movie – complete with good performances from co-stars Daryl Hannah, Sam Neill, and Michael McKean – that just doesn’t know what tone to strike as one man becomes invisible and must fight for his right to continue to exist and express his life as an invisible man.

"while not a commercial success, remains a favorite among Carpenter’s fans.  It also one of Chase’s top performances"


 

And I tend to side with Warner Bros on all their hesitations.  Whether they created the situation or not, there is a BIG issue with the movie.  It stems from the script; too many cooks in the kitchen.  The end result of all these talents coming together makes for a movie that – while definitely charming – just doesn’t come together as well as it should.  Carpenter adds class to the production and plays it straight.  So, too, does Chase in a role that he knocks out of the park.  But, even today, it just doesn't gel like you'd want it to.  

Chase is funny as Nick Halloway, a successful Stock Market analysist who ducks people AND responsibility time and time again, but the humor is mostly dark in nature.  Some of it will have you laughing out loud.  Much of it, though, will escape notice.  After meeting  Alice Monroe (Hannah), a TV documentary producer, at a luncheon and hitting it off with her in the ladies room, his life takes a sudden downward spin.  And it is all thanks to Magnascopic Laboratories.  Spilled coffee in a top secret lab leads to a meltdown of sorts and, as Nick sleeps off his hangover, he wakes up, well, completely invisible.  In fact, parts of the building aren’t visible.  Nick is in one hell of a mess.

But this isn’t Hollow Man, Nick doesn’t go on a raping spree.  And, even if Carpenter tips his hat to 1933’s Invisible Man, the horror elements of the situation are downplayed in favor of spy games as one sneaky CIA agent (Neill) threatens to take Nick down if he won’t join them.  Let the chase begin!

But catching an invisible man isn’t easy.  With solid chroma key effects, Chase – who dropped 20lbs for the role – has fun smoking cigars, wearing hats, and getting wet in the rain.  These effects, while dated, still completely work.  And, as evident by Scream Factory’s new 2K scan from the interpositive, the dawn of digital effects looks all sorts of sparkling new.  The scene in the rain, in which Hannah and Chase share an intimate moment, still looks as revolutionary as it did in 1992.

Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992) - Blu-ray Review

Based on Harry F. Saint's book Memoirs of an Invisible Man and developed with both Chase and director Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters) in mind, this science fiction thriller suffered a series of missteps on the way to Carpenter – based on the demands of the special effects.  Richard Donner was attached for a number of months, but even he passed on the script once it started to get too serious.  So, yeah, throughout its production, Warner Bros had a right to be concerned.  And, truthfully, they had every reason to be concerned.  So, when the commercials promised comedy and the film was a serious spy-like caper with science fiction elements, it is no wonder the film got crushed by negative reviews and the non-stop party of Wayne’s World. 

Scream Factory, with this HD release, gives Memoirs of an Invisible Man a second chance to be seen.

Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: PG-13.
Runtime:
99 mins
Director
: John Carpenter
Writer:
Robert Collector
Cast:
Chevy Chase, Daryl Hannah, Sam Neill
Genre
: Comedy | Romance
Tagline:
Women want him for his wit. The C.I.A. wants him for his body. All Nick wants is his molecules back.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Just tell her that you met someone, you really like him, you think it's serious, he's transparent."
Theatrical Distributor:
Warner Bros.
Official Site:
Release Date:
February 28, 1992
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
July 24, 2018
Synopsis: Just a quick nap and weary stock analyst Nick Halloway is sure he'll emerge as good as new. Instead, he wakes up as good as gone. Vanished. A nuclear accident has made Nick ... invisible!

The laughs and visual effects are out of sight when Chevy Chase headlines Memoirs of an Invisible Man. Invisibility makes it easier to spy on agents (particularly chief adversary Sam Neill) who've put him in his predicament. And he can romance a lovely documentary producer (Daryl Hannah) in a way she's never "seen" before.

Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Warner Bros.
Available on Blu-ray
- July 24, 2018
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

With a DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo track and 2.35:1 aspect ratio, Scream Factory’s new 2K scan is loaded with sparkling details.  Effects stand out the most.  Fibers in clothes are visible and so, too, are some crisp details in the background.  Black levels are consistent and hold their edges.  This is a film that doesn’t look as if it was filmed in the 1990s.  There is a class to the production that still holds up.  Overall, Scream Factory has done a stellar job with this release.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Unfortunately, there is no word from the makers on this film.

Special Features:

Ported over from the DVD release are some pretty old school featurettes.  We get outtakes, a look at the film’s special effects, a theatrical trailer, and TV Spots.

  • Outtakes
  • How to Become Invisible: The Dawn of Digital Effects
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots

Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992) - Blu-ray Review

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