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Memoirs of an Invisible Man Blu-ray Review

Written by ZigZag

Blu-ray released by Scream Factory

Memoirs Of An Invisible Man Blu Ray Poster

Directed by John Carpenter
Written by Robert Collector, Dana Olsen and William Goldman
1992, 99 minutes, Rated PG-13
Blu-ray released on July 24th, 2018

Starring:
Chevy Chase as Nick Halloway
Daryl Hannah as Alice Monroe
Sam Neill as David Jenkins
Michael McKean as George Talbot
Stephen Tobolowsky as Warren Singleton
Jim Norton as Dr. Bernard Wachs
Pat Skipper as Morrissey

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Review:

Stock analyst Nick Halloway has a great job, good friends and has just met a beautiful woman named Alice Monroe. Before he can pursue a relationship, his life is turned upside down in the wake of a freak accident that leaves him physically invisible. Nick is targeted by Agent Jenkins, a covert government operative determined to capture and recruit him or kill him if he refuses. Nick makes a run for it, but finds it hard to blend in with his surroundings, as he is now a wanted man. Desperate to find a way to reverse the process, he contacts a scientist working at the site of the accident for answers. When none are forthcoming, he turns to his friends for shelter. Nick confides in Alice and she does her best to help him evade Jenkins as his team of spooks closes in. Can our reluctant hero avoid capture long enough to find a cure or will he be a long-term test subject in a lab?

Director John Carpenter (Body Bags) has enjoyed a lengthy career working across multiple genres. There are moments of levity in much of his work, but Memoirs of an Invisible Man is his first real attempt at comedy. Chevy Chase (Fletch) stars as the titular character, but despite some early quips, he plays the material straight. A few years later, Eddie Murphy would take a similar approach in Wes Craven’s Vampire in Brooklyn. Audiences met both pictures with mixed reactions as their favorite comedian or director stepped outside their wheelhouse to try something new. Chase is good in the role but occasionally seems out of his element as a dramatic performer. One of the big draws to this movie is the ILM special effects that play with the material. Carpenter faced the added challenge of balancing how much to show his lead actor versus having inanimate objects float across the screen as manipulated by invisible hands. He gets it right more often than not, but the visual effects frequently run away with the show.

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Based on the 1987 novel of the same name by author H.F. Saint, and written for the screen by Robert Collector, Dana Olsen and the legendary William Goldman (Misery), the script focuses a lot of its early attention on the loneliness that accompanies invisibility. This is where the material really comes to life, as Nick deals with his loss of identity. The threat element comes courtesy of the always reliable Sam Neill (In the Mouth of Madness), whose Agent Jenkins’ tireless pursuit to capture or kill our hero pushes the narrative forward. Memoirs takes on a much larger scope as it becomes an adventure picture of sorts. This plotline is in direct opposition to the take-it-slow approach of the new relationship Nick is forming with Alice (Daryl Hannah, Kill Bill). Honestly, I was more interested in this type of movie than the one filled with spies and government agents. Pacing is not always the picture’s friend and I wonder how much of the content Goldman provided, or how much did he step in to fix.

Memoirs of an Invisible Man was a box office bomb, recouping only $14 million of its reported $40 million budget. This is a rare “director for hire” picture for Carpenter, who usually has a hand in the writing, producing and composing of his projects, but does none of those tasks here. Cinematographer William Fraker (Rosemary’s Baby) makes creative use of reflections in this movie and delivers some strikingly beautiful moments throughout. Carpenter also includes nods to a few iconic images from the original The Invisible Man (1933) that are a welcome treat for cinephiles. Shirley Walker (Ghoulies) composed the score and it is satisfying, but a super rare occasion that the director did not write his own.

Scream Factory seems determined to release as much of Carpenter’s filmography as it can get its hands on and this title feels more like an “also ran” entry. Completists will definitely want to pick it up and die-hard fans will find a lot to appreciate, but casual viewers may want to rent this one before choosing to purchase.

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Video and Audio:

Presented in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio and featuring a spiffy new High-Definition 2K transfer, the picture has some really strong selling points. Colors are well-saturated and flesh tones appear natural throughout. There is plenty of fine-object detail in hair and fabrics and the optical effects hold up well under scrutiny.

The audio comes courtesy of a DTS-HD MA 2.0 track that does a fine job with the mix. Music and effects are in perfect harmony with dialogue levels and never intrude on one another.

Optional English subtitles are included for anyone in need.

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Special Features:

There are no newly commissioned supplements on this edition, but Scream Factory has included all of the available content produced to coincide with the film’s release.

First up is the short featurette How to Become Invisible: The Dawn of Digital F/X (4 minutes) that looks at the latest in special effects technology circa 1991. There’s a lot of great information here, which makes it all the more frustrating that the piece is so short.

A collection of vintage interviews (5 minutes) with John Carpenter, Chevy Chase and Daryl Hannah were recorded during production and allow the trio the opportunity to hype the picture. We also get a look at some of the sets and the crew at work.

Behind-the-scenes footage (5 minutes) offers a glimpse of what it was like on set, taking a look at Carpenter directing various scenes. Another great piece, but like all of these segments would benefit from being much longer.

A selection of deleted scenes (3 minutes) are misidentified as outtakes and offer a few more character beats and a funny dream sequence, but it is easy to see why they were cut.

The original theatrical trailer is included along with several (10) TV spots.

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Grades:

Movie: Threestars Memoirs Of An Invisible Man Blu Ray Cover
Buy Amazon Us
Video: Fourstars
Audio: Threeandahalfstars
Features: Twoandahalfstars
Overall: Threestars

About The Author
ZigZag
Author: ZigZag
Staff Writer
ZigZag's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
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