the review site with a difference since 1999
Reviews Interviews Articles Apps About

Buena Vista Home Video presents

The Invisible (2007)

"I know this sounds weird, but you're the only one who can save me."- Nick Powell (Justin Chatwin)

Stars: Justin Chatwin
Other Stars: Margarita Levieva, Chris Marquette, Marcia Gay Harden, Alex O'Loughlin
Director: David S. Goyer

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for (Violence, criminality, sensuality, and language - all involving teens)
Run Time: 01h:42m:21s
Release Date: 2007-10-16
Genre: suspense thriller

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ D+C+B C+


DVD Review

The term "suspense thriller" is thrown around so loosely in Hollywood these days that half of the thrills are gone by the time we even catch the opening credits of such a film. Based on the Swedish film Den Osynlige, The Invisible is a decent thriller that grabs us, but unfortunately lets go way too soon. Also hampered by a lsappy ending, the latest from David S. Goyer (Blade: Trinity), channels Ghost, among other genre films, but just can't deliver the necessary scares and intrigue when all is said and done.

Nick Powell (Justin Chatwin) is a rich kid still reeling from the loss of his father. On the verge of high school graduation, Nick makes enemies with the wrong group of teenagers and pays greatly for it. Shot and left for dead in the woods, Nick's "ghost" is now roaming the halls of his school unable to be seen or heard by anyone, at least at first. His only hope to be saved from death is to lead someone to his body, and that someone just might be the person who fired the fatal gunshot.

Clearly geared toward teenagers, Goyer's film features a few adults, but the screen time is generally dominated by those under 20 years of age. Unfortunately, Goyer didn't exactly get the cream of the young acting crop on board. Chatwin did some solid work in The Chumscrubber and as Tom Cruise's son in War of the Worlds, but he has a difficult time carrying things here as the lead. Margarita Levieva is even worse, though, coming across as simply too beautiful (even wearing that annoying hat for most of the film) to be a "tough girl." Uneven work is also prevalent among the rest of the cast, including Chris Marquette (Alpha Dog) as Pete and one of the older "kids" in the cast, 31-year-old Alex O'Loughlin as Marcus.

The major turn in tone and overall theme is also a huge hindrance on the story's effectiveness. We start off with unrelentingly harsh, bleak tones, with the main character shot early on after he's double-crossed by a good friend. Once Nick is outside his body and unseen by all, things start to tumble downward. He wanders around town, through his house, and around school with seemingly no purpose. Once the aforementioned tonal and theme twist occurs, we lose all interest in Nick's fate. Ghost had an overwhelmingly romantic quality that set it apart from most supernatural films, but The Invisible's attempt at something similar feels forced as soon as its hinted at, essentially sealing the movie's fate.

The one saving grace is (most of) its soundtrack, with the good part consisting of music from some truly exceptional rock bands. The highlights include TV on the Radio's Wolf Like Me and Caterwaul by And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, but any film that includes anything by the band Broken Social Scene (in this case the song Stars and Sons) deserves at least some credit. It's just too bad the inspiration shown in the choice of music didn't trickle down to the most important aspect: the script.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: D+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Presented in anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen, this transfer isn't without its flaws. While the images feature nice detail, there's a bit of softness at times. The colors are intentionally drab and limited, but a bit more vibrancy would have been nice. Despite the aforementioned missteps, other flaws like dirt and grain are kept to a minimum.

Image Transfer Grade: C+

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Spanishyes
Dolby Digital
English, Frenchyes

Audio Transfer Review: A Dolby Digital 5.1 track is surprisingly limited as far as directional effects and other dynamics go. The music sounds nice, though, utilizing all of the surround channels to add some punch to the rock songs. The dialogue is always crystal clear throughout, which, as always, is a huge plus.

Audio Transfer Grade:

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Ratatouille, Lost: The Complete Third Season, Wild Hogs, Becoming Jane
11 Deleted Scenes
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by 1. Director David S. Goyer and writer Christine Roum.2. Co-writer Mick Davis.
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Music Videos
Extras Review: The extras consist of two audio commentary tracks. The first, by director David S. Goyer and writer Christine Roum, focuses on all aspects of the production, from story conception to the final cut. The lone participant in the second track is writer Mick Davis, and he talks only about the screenplay, delving into slightly more interesting topics than the other track's participants.

There are also 11 deleted scenes with optional audio commentary by Goyer and Roum. These clips were clearly trimmed for timing and pacing's sake, but it's too bad more cuts weren't made.

Finishing things up are a pair of music videos for the songs The Kill by 30 Seconds to Mars, and Taking Back Control by Sparta.

Extras Grade: C+

Final Comments

The Invisible is the latest thriller to show up in theaters for a week or two, and make a speedy turnaround to DVD. The ineffective story doesn't warrant much of a look, though, even on home video, as the plot takes a crucial turn for the worse near the end. The disc has issues too, with disappointing audio and video presentations, along with a few extras that don't amount to much.

Chuck Aliaga 2007-10-18