The Invisible (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

There’s a lot to be said about movies that feature the paranormal, supernatural or the afterlife. Probably the most commercially successful of these films is the aptly-titled “Ghost” in which Patrick Swayze’s character is murdered and he must try and influence events from beyond the grave. Flash forward about 17 years and we have “The Invisible”, a movie of pretty much the same premise as “Ghost” but with a different underlying tone and much younger actors. The film was based off the story (and movie of the same name) by Swedish writer Mats Wahl. While the concept does require the viewer to suspend their disbelief in reality for a couple of hours, I’m really not sure what to think of the subject matter. I have no idea what happens when we die, there could be heaven/hell, we could wander the world as spirits or just cease to exist and rot away in a box. However it’s intriguing to me that we could have spirits walking amongst us and, if so, how they might react to find out what and who killed them.

Meet Nick Powell (Justin Chatwin), a bright young high school student who has lost his father at an early age and who writes research papers for some money on the side. His mother (Marcia Gay Harden, pretty much the only recognizable face in the cast) is a cold and distant woman who goes about her daily business hardly realizing that she even has a son. Nick’s friend, Pete (Chris Marquette), owes some local bullies money and routinely gets pummeled by them until he pays them what they need. It so happens that these same people robbed a jewelry store and the lead suspect, Annie (Margarita Levieva), is none too pleased at being turned in. Nick was set to go to London to pursue a dream, but decides to stay at the last minute. Pete, thinking Nick has fled the country, confesses that Nick is the rat who turned in Annie. As fate would have it, Annie and her posse track down Nick and leave him for dead in the woods. It’s then that the movie takes a supernatural turn as Nick is able to see and do things as a ghost. He learns things that he didn’t know and tries to right what was wrong, with his newfound insight into friends and family.

Despite generally poor reviews, I actually felt quite drawn the “The Invisible” and in the end I was actually somewhat moved by it all. It’s not something I was waiting to come to DVD (or in this case, Blu-ray) but part of the benefit of this job is that I get to see movies that are outside my realm of comfort. I will say that there’s room for improvement in “The Invisible”, it’s a little too much like “Ghost” in some regard but I was drawn to Justin Chatwin’s performance. Unlike many movies out there that are based on fact, films about the supernatural are always going to be speculative at best. The soundtrack was fairly good too, a real treat and even though I was expecting more from Marcia Gay Harden, she still delivers a fairly solid performance. While I don’t think the film will be honored at the Academy Awards, I think we’ll see more of some of the actors from this film. For a rainy day, you could do a lot worse than “The Invisible.”

Video: How does it look?

“The Invisible” is shown in a lovely 2.35:1 AVC HD transfer and Disney has once again delivered the goods in terms of a great-looking picture. Disney’s Blu-ray releases aren’t as plentiful as Warner or Sony’s but I think they’re among the best out there. The movie takes place in Seattle, so many of the outdoor scenes tend to look a bit saturated with the rain and cloud cover, but I will say that flesh tones looked fairly warm and natural despite the atmosphere. Black levels seemed strong and constant as well and as per usual, we don’t get any of that pesky edge enhancement that plagues so any standard DVD’s. As a new to Blu-ray movie, I was pretty impressed by “The Invisible” and my hats off to Disney for providing constant outstanding transfers for their not so popular titles.

Audio: How does it sound?

The PCM uncompressed audio track is the one of choice and I was pretty impressed at some key moments during the film. There are two sequences that stand out in my mind, first is a club scene where Annie goes to escape and the LFE simply take over the scene. I didn’t think I had my sub woofer turned up that loud, but the floor was shaking and I was forced to turn the volume down. The second scene is towards the end in which the flood gates are opened and water pours over the dam. Again, the sheer power of these two scenes left a lasting impression in my head and they compliment what was already a very strong track. There’s a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on the disc as well should you not want to become so immersed in the audio.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Disney didn’t give us a whole lot in terms of extras, but for the true fans out there – there should be enough to warrant a purchase. We start out with a duo of commentary tracks, the first by director David S. Goyer and writer Christine Roum as they discuss details of adapting the screenplay from the existing movie/book and the ins and outs of the shoot. A second track is also present with writer Mick Davis who covers a lot of the same material Goyer and Roum did, but gives us some additional insight into the making of the film. Both are decent tracks and a must for true fans of the film. Next are some 13 minutes of deleted scenes. None add too much to the film, just some extended scenes here and there but it’s good to have these nonetheless. Finally we get two music videos and the always present “Movie Showcase” that gives samples of the best audio/video portions of the movie.

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