I thought I’d give Prime Video Cinema a try since we’re not allowed to leave our homes (and the theatres are closed).
I’m not gonna lie, the two “In-Theatre” purchases I made were expensive. But, one of these movies was so good that I won’t just see it again on my couch, I’ll list it as one of my top five movies of 2020…
In one corner, we have the Disney-Pixar flick about two teenage brother elves who try to conjure a magical spell that can bring their father back to life for 24 hours, and in the other corner – a thriller hybrid about a woman desperately trying to escape her abusive husband who can “see everything” with his cutting edge surveillance technologies.
(Both sound like they could only be movies, right?)
And, with each movie comes the unwritten protocol to suspend disbelief, sit back, and “go with it.” Sometimes, a movie is so well executed that it makes you believe in its manufactured world, despite the occasional loophole.
I call this the “wonderment factor” in movies. It is the pendulum between being too far fetched and consistently otherworldly. Theoretically, if the other world created by the movie provides its own logic and stays true to its logic (no matter how illogical is might be in the real world), then the viewer can enjoy a sense of wonderment. In my opinion, The Village (2004) leaned too implausible to entertain; Minority Report (2002) was just right.
Take The Invisible Man. Never have I seen such a fusion of thriller, sci-fi, and horror masterfully blend the tangible with the fantastical. From the psychological stronghold the husband has over his wife (bravely played by two-movies-and-a-show-a-year Elizabeth Moss) to the possibility of his paranormal presence after his death, to a whole other level I won’t spoil, this thing pushes and pushes and captivates and captivates. With each unfolding scene comes an explanatory scene that validates the past scene, and you just “go with it.” It is astonishing, and even with a couple of plot holes at the end, the wonderment factor not only entertains, it makes you believe because you want so desperately the reprieve of Elizabeth Moss’s character.
Most remarkable of all is the Me Too overtone that permeates an urgent message above The Invisible Man‘s entertaining qualities.
Onward is what you’d expect out of any Disney-Pixar family fare: It appeals to most ages, is visually stunning, loud 80% of the time, contains a touching message, and voids all suspension of disbelief from the first minute because it is set in a suburban fantasy world where centaurs, unicorns, and elvish folk talk and fly around. There are some funny moments (Chris Pratt’s character unleashes Jack Black’s School of Rock vibe brilliantly, regardless of the intention), there are some loud, visually busy moments (the chase scenes go on too long), and there are some odd moments (the conjuring of the father with just the legs is a one trick pony gag that also goes on too awkwardly long).
As we already know, these are crazy times we live in. Being hunkered at home has its place for movies. I’m glad theatre onscreen options are available, but even if you have the streaming services, they can be expensive ($19.99 a pop!). I’d say if you’re a movie fanatic like me, and you want something new and enthralling for two hours, The Invisible Man is absolutely worth it.
Onward *** out of *****
The Invisible Man ****1/2 out of *****