• Memoirs Of An Invisible Man (Shout! Factory) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: July 24th, 2018.
    Director: John Carpenter
    Cast: Chevy Chase, Daryl Hannah, Sam Neill, Michael McKean
    Year: 1992
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    The Movie:

    Based on the book by H.F. Saint, 1992’s Memoirs Of An Invisible Man opens with a scene that immediately introduces us to its titular character, Nick Halloway (Chevy Chase), a man who has developed the ability to become invisible and who is quite worried that something is going to happen to him. Before that happens, he wants to get his story recorded, just to make sure that there’s a way to set the record straight should he suddenly find himself six feet under.

    This setup allows Nick to narrate his story to the audience and, through the magic of the movie flashback, we learn how he wound up in this predicament. See, Nick worked in stocks and had a fairly normal and reasonably uninteresting life until his friend George (Michael McKean) introduced him to a beautiful woman named Alice (Daryl Hannah), a documentary television producer. Sparks fly pretty fast between them and after what must have surely been a really fun night, Nick wakes up the next morning feeling a little rough. Regardless of his state, he heads off to a company meeting at Magnascopic Labs and, with the meeting in full swing, he bows out briefly to take a little rest in the men’s room. At the same time, a series of accidents occur and the building is evacuated… except for Nick who, along with a good chunk of the building, becomes invisible.

    When word gets out about Nick’s interesting situation, a shifty C.I.A. agent named David Jenkins (Sam Neill) figures he’d make a great addition to the team and sets out to get him onboard, but Nick, now head over heels in love with Alice, wants nothing to do with it. This doesn’t sit well with either side, and soon enough Nick and Alice find themselves on the run, all while trying to sort out what can be done about his condition.

    Essentially a thriller with some light horror and sci-fi elements thrown into the mix – along with a fair bit of romance – Memoirs Of An Invisible Man was a massive commercial failure when it debuted. That said, if you’re not expecting it to go into the dark territory that Carpenter’s movies often voyage and look at it as good entertainment, you can have a lot of fun with it. It’s interesting to see Chase, who up until this time had never really dipped his toes outside of comedy, play a reasonably straight part. He does a decent job here, he’s likeable enough and shows some decent acting chops. There are some comedic moments in the film, likely put there to appeal to his built-in fan base, but honestly the movie would have been better without then (they’re not particularly funny). This works better when Carpenter is building suspense, something that he’s obviously very skilled at.

    The rest of the cast are also decent. Hannah is pretty, likeable, and well-cast. She handles the material just fine, bringing enough weight to the heavier, more dramatic side of things to make her work in the role. Michael McKean is as reliable as ever and quite fun to watch here, while Sam Neill steals more than a few scenes as the C.I.A. agent out to get Nick no matter the cost. He’s got a lot of enthusiasm and energy here and that translates well to the story.

    There are some flaws, of course – the narration is a bit much during the first act of the picture and there are some obvious inconsistencies with how and when Nick becomes invisible – but this is one worth checking out. It’s not super heavy, cerebral stuff, so just keep a big bowl of popcorn handy and sit back and enjoy. On that level, it’s a fun watch.


    Memoirs Of An Invisible Man arrives on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory on a 50GB disc in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 2.35.1 widescreen taken from a ‘new 2K scan of the original film elements.’ This is a pretty solid image. Detail and texture are both quite good, not just in close up shots but medium and long-distance shots as well. Color reproduction looks just fine, nice and natural, while skin tones look accurate as well. We get good black levels throughout and there are no obvious issues with compression, crush, edge enhancement or noise reduction to complain about.

    The only audio option on the disc is an English language DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo track but it easily gets the job done with no trouble. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and there are no issues with any hiss or distortion. The levels are properly balanced and the score sounds quite good. Optional subtitles are provided in English only.

    This isn’t a super stacked collector’s edition but there are a few extras hidden away under the main menu screen, starting with a featurette called How To Become Invisible: The Dawn Of Digital F/X that runs just over four-minutes in length. As the title states, the focus here is on the digital effects work that was used to basically turn Chevy Chase invisible in the film – it’s a bit dated, but interesting to see. Shout! also includes a selection of vintage interviews with director John Carpenter, actors Chevy Chase and Daryl Hannah that run just over five-minutes in combined running length. It’s interesting to see these included here and to get a bit of insight from the director and key cast members about their thoughts on the project. The disc also includes five-minutes of fly-on-the-wall style behind the scenes footage showing Carpenter and company at work on the feature.

    Rounding out the extras are three-minutes of deleted scenes, a theatrical trailer, a few TV spots, menus and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    Memoirs Of An Invisible Man might have been a flop when it first hit theaters over twenty-five years ago, but it’s aged better than you might expect. Carpenter keeps the pace quick and throws some interesting ideas into the mix while Chase top bills a surprisingly solid cast and delivers a surprisingly good ‘straight’ performance. If it isn’t the film either its director or star will be remembered for, it’s still a good time at the movies and Shout! Factory’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds great and throws in a few supplements too. A very nice upgrade for fans of the film.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!