Plot: What’s it about?
Dr. Sebastian Caine (Kevin Bacon) and his team of workers have been funded by the military to unlock the secrets of invisibility. This sounds rather complex, but they have already been able to grant primates invisible status, though they haven’t mastered the art of making them visible again. But Caine and his team push forward and after some successful tests, the time has come to report the good news to their committee that funds their work, but Caine lies instead. Caine is an arrogant man with a bad attitude and since he wants to be the first human subject, he keeps their progress under wraps. He then volunteers to be the test subject and when the first phase is complete, it seems as though the process will show no flaws when tested on humans. But when the time comes for Caine to rejoin the visible realm, problems surface and he is forced to remain invisible. He starts to slide downhill mentally and soon, his levels of aggression start to peak. Soon enough, Caine begins to escape from the lab for periods of time and gets more & more risky in his actions. With no real identity in his mind, will Caine run loose and cause chaos? If so, will anyone be able to stop him, since no one can see him?
Man, what a wild ride Hollow Man is. I admit, the film veers off course toward the end, but as a whole, this is one fun movie. Some incredible visuals take the main focus, but the basics of character and storyline don’t get kicked aside either. This story is not a new one by any means, but some cool new twists and turns have been tacked on, so this far from a simple rehash, I assure you. I think fans of director Paul Verhoeven and of course, mad scientist films will be most interested, but anyone in search of a great thriller will find a lot to like with Hollow Man. From the musical score to the cast to the direction to the dazzling special effects, Hollow Man packs all the elements and then some to hold the viewer’s attention. This might not be the most complex film in terms of story and characters, but this is much more than a visual feast, there is substance with this style. You can watch this film for the thrills and intense visuals, but there are also some nice subtle touches to explore on repeat viewing sessions. This new Blu-rayxe release lacks some of the extras, but looks & sounds superior in every aspect, so if the movie is what matters to you, instead of bonus materials, this is the version to own.
In the realm of film directors, Paul Verhoeven is always in the midst of criticism. His films run the gamut from all out action blockbusters to sex laced stripper epics, all of which have divided viewers in the process. I happen to fall on the positive side of Verhoeven’s work and consider him to be one of my personal favorites. In my eyes, his films usually have many layers, some obvious at first glance and others that require you to look beyond the surface. His more recent efforts have been passed off as one dimensional blockbusters, but I think they’ve possessed much more depth than most people admit. Hollow Man is no exception to that trend and while many claimed it was all visual flash, I think it is excellent and offers a lot to think about. Just what the morals and such are varies from person to person, but I think it does offer some food for thought. Other films by Verhoeven include Basic Instinct, Starship Troopers, RoboCop, Soldier Of Orange, Total Recall, and of course, Showgirls. The cast of Hollow Man includes Kevin Bacon (Wild Things, Footloose), Josh Brolin (The Goonies, Best Laid Plans), Elisabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas, Molly), Kim Dickens (Zero Effect, Mercury Rising), William Devane (Payback, Space Cowboys), and Joey Slotnick (Twister, Pirates of Silicon Valley).
Video: How does it look?
“Hollow Man” is one of those movies that seems to always get the deluxe treatment. It’s had three incarnations on standard DVD and now the next generation format has taken hold. The 1.85:1 VC-1 HD transfer certainly holds up well and its a few notches above the previous Superbit Deluxe standard DVD. The movie is dark and has a plethora of special effects, but that doesn’t deter the transfer from sparkling. I noticed no artifacting, the images were crystal clean and the movie now has a 3-D effect to it. “Hollow Man” certainly benefits from Blu-ray fans of the camp flick will love the new transfer.
Audio: How does it sound?
The previous versions of “Hollow Man” contained some pretty impressive reference audio. I’m pleased to say that the PCM uncompressed soundtrack sounds just a tad bit better than the previous DTS track found on the Superbit Deluxe version. There’s also a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 mix if you’re so inclined. The literal 360 degree sound stage really adds to the allure of the movie and though there are other, louder movies out there ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ this one just feels good to sit back and listen to. Dialogue is very clean and surrounds are almost constantly humming away. “Hollow Man” benefits from Blu-ray again with this amazing soundtrack.
Supplements: What are the extras?
For reasons unknown to me, not all of the features from the previous Superbit Deluxe version have made it to this Blu-ray disc. We have the fifteen-part “Fleshing out the Hollow Man” and the “Anatomy of Hollow Man” featurettes, but the deleted scenes seems to have been…deleted. Suffice it to say that the audio and video are amazing, but if it’s supplements you’re after you won’t find many here.