mag·nif·i·cent/magˈnifəsənt/ (adj.)

1. Impressively beautiful, elaborate, or extravagant; striking.
2. Very good; excellent.

Synonyms: splendid - gorgeous - grand - superb - glorious

WARNING: Some spoilers may be bound but I try to keep them light.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Invisible Man (1933)

DAY 18

"The drugs I took seemed to light up my brain. Suddenly I realized the power I held, the power to rule. To make the world grovel at my feet!"

The Invisible Man (1933) is a horror movie about paranoia and power. The film is about Griffin, a doctor who has stumbled upon an experimental serum to turn himself invisible. But little does Griffin know though that the serum has made him go insane and as he starts terrorizing a whole town its up to his friends, family and the locals to try and stop him.

I'm going to assume that injecting humor into stories that really aren't that funny was one of James Whale's trademarks. This script has some really funny situational humor, character actors, and dialogue that's riddled with puns and other funny things. It blends great and without this, I think the film would be so dark it would be very hard to watch. Good move again, Mr. Whale.

I'm torn on the way the film starts, essentially the film is missing it's first act. It starts with Griffin already invisible and crazy and lets you find out the rest of the details of how this came to happen along the way. This alone is a very modern trick and really interesting way to start the film, but by the second half I felt like it didn't work as well because we never got to see the original (good) Griffin. I found it hard to even feel sorry for him. The film does try to show you a little bit by bringing in his former love but I felt it was too late in the story. In the next couple scenes after that he's threatening his friends life and then blowing up trains!

This story has a very modern feel to it. It's a very interesting thing to follow a true antihero, who only seems to get worse and even in the end doesn't seem to get much redemption. It really feels like what The Dark Knight (2008) would have been like, if the film took the Joker's perspective. The result is a very dark story.

I really loved all the acting in the film but my hats off to Claude Rains in the title role. Even though you can't see his face for most of the film his acting is really quite amazing. His voice alone has such a sinister and evil tone to it, I walked away thinking about it later that night. It's haunting really, a very good fit for the film. This is another Universal monster that without the strong actor behind "the mask" it could have been a complete flop of a film, but Rains really sells it.

I'm very happy to say that for the most part, the effects still hold up in this film. There's a couple sequences where you can see strings or how they did a couple things but honestly for the majority of the film I had no idea how they did a lot of the effects. And in a film like this the whole movie is one trick, so that's very important. I feel like it works so well I honestly forgot there was an actor inside the bandages acting, I actually got lost in the idea of there being nothing underneath. Really cool!

The Invisible Man (1933) is a very dark movie that is well worth seeing today. I think it's not as flashy and showy as a lot of the other universal monsters in rubber masks, but it definitely should be up at the top of peoples monster movie lists. 4/5 stars.

Happy watching!

Did you know universal just released 8 of their classic monster movies on blu-ray in one set!? You can support this blog by buying this film (and 7 other classics) through these links:

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