Written by: Andrew W. Marlowe and Gary Scott Thompson
Directed by: Paul Verhoeven
Starring: Elisabeth Shue, Kevin Bacon, Josh Brolin, Kim Dickens, Greg Grunberg
- HBO Making-of: Anatomy of a Thriller
- Three Deleted Scenes
- Fleshing Out the Hollow Man
- Fifteen Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes
- VFX Picture-in-Picture Comparisons
- Theatrical Trailers
Released by: Columbia Tristar
My Advice: Rent it.
Sebastian Caine (Bacon) is the head scientist on a top-secret government project to find a way to make human beings invisible. After he solves the problem about how to bring an invisible gorilla back to “reality,” he decides that he should go ahead and test it on himself. Well, he successfully makes himself invisible, but when they try to bring him back, the serum they used on the gorilla doesn’t fully work on his human anatomy. What follows is Sebastian’s sinking into the depths of the darker side of humanity and how easy it is for him to take advantage of his invisibility.
[ad#longpost]According to the Superbit website, Superbit DVDs have a higher bit rate on the digital transfer and therefore increase the quality of the picture on the screen. However, the picture takes up the space on the disc that is normally allotted for what they call “value added content.” The difference, in my opinion, is very subtle and really only good for those technogeeks (like myself) who really get off on that kind of thing. I would not go out and buy replace the movies that I currently have in Superbit versions, but I might consider purchasing future DVDs in this format. What’s great about it is that you don’t have to buy a new player with some kind of special decoder software built in. They simply use the current technology and make it look the best they can.
The movie itself has a major problem in that once you have seen the special effects of them making Bacon invisible, the rest of the movie is not very good by comparison. It’s a shame that all of the hard work that the special effects people went through is overshadowed by a very weak script. Ultimately, the movie is about seeing a person become invisible. Bacon and company know that they are playing second fiddle to the special effects and therefore come close to phoning in their performances. The writer didn’t seem to know what to do after the special effects were over either. What results is a film that really goes downhill quickly. But, if it’s action you are looking for, there are worse films that you could pick up to satisfy that craving.
The second disc of this set is where the special features reside. Running right down the menu, you first choose the HBO making-of special that basically just tells you the story (including the ending). There are some interviews with the cast and director, but there is nothing of any real depth here. The fifteen featurettes basically “flesh” that weak HBO making-of out a bit, but all they really do is show you a little more of the behind-the-scenes clips than before, and that’s really about it. Incidentally, they cover pretty much the special effects and action sequences of the film.
Perhaps the best special feature on this disc is the VFX Picture-in-Picture shots of three of the scenes in the film. What they do here is show you Bacon performing the scenes in the various colored suits they had him in while filming, but you get to see them running in real-time with what the final product looked like. The fact that there are only three of these is a real bummer. I wish they hadn’t wasted the disc space with all of the featurettes and put more of these on the disc.
There are three deleted scenes that are advertised with director’s commentary, but there are only two of them that have any sort of Verhoeven talking going on. What you have is really more like introductions to the deleted scenes. There is no running commentary over the scenes, nor is there an option to turn one on.
If I were looking to start a Superbit collection, I would choose another of the titles available that are a little more worthy of keeping on the shelf in the first place. Given that, it stays on the rental list.