Invisibility and Madness – Hollow Man (2000)

Hollow Man5
Hollow Man, a film made in the year 2000 and directed by Paul Verhoeven, is a science-fiction movie with horror elements that finds itself aligning more with the 1933 big-screen version of The Invisible Man than it does the book by H.G. Wells. The film is modernized and expanded upon and gives us more of an origin for Sebastian Crane, this picture’s Jack Griffin, but tends to follow a very similar route during the latter half instead of doing anything original. Maybe the subject matter is too complicated for anyone to do anything different, Universal did try their best with many sequels to that original Invisible Man film, and though they started this movie off like they were going to, it quickly degenerated into more of the same old, same old.

Hollow Man3It is not to say that this movie was not enjoyable, because it was as a whole. There were parts that just seemed silly and some of the acting by Kevin Bacon was a little over the top, though considering he was going mad, that had to be expected. Having our supposed hero turned villain go insane was an interesting choice, and probably the only one that the producers and writer Andrew W. Marlowe could go with. If Bacon’s character had simply remained a nice guy waiting for his team to fix him up so that he could become visible again, would have been a fairly boring picture. Maybe he could have went around playing pranks or reading Shakespeare or something, but without any conflict, really, what would be the point? Madness must have seemed like the easiest way to create tension and hostility and since it had been proven to have worked before, why go off the books and find something else? That being said, it did lead to a lot of action and suspense and it kept the pace of the film moving along fairly quickly.  Except for the very beginning of the film, you would be hard-pressed to find a moment where the picture was anything but suspenseful and dramatic and even fairly exciting.

Hollow Man2The special effects were quite good and were probably the best part of the entire film. The transformations were captivating yet slightly horrible at the same time and you could not turn away because of the great job that was done. Towards the end of the movie when everything was going full throttle, the best part of not necessarily the film, but the technical aspect of it was when Elisabeth Shue’s character uses a flamethrower to light Crane on fire. It looked fantastic for the viewer, though painful for Crane and it was a captivating moment as he rushed to put the flames out little by little.

At the end of the day, it still would have been nice to see something a little more original from Hollow Man and not just a rehash of what had come before. It is true that by this point in time when the film was made that, not a lot of people might have remembered The Invisible Man and studios like to keep rebooting things for newer generations which is really not a bad thing, but when you stack them up against each other, Hollow Man is more hollow than substance. It is definitely not the best film by Verhoeven, Bacon or Shue, but it is a decent way to spend a Saturday afternoon if nothing else.

3 out of 5
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3 replies »

  1. Great review, Geoff. This is a bmovie done right. Good analysis about the original story. I liked this villanious take too. A character like this is actually scary. You’re so right about the gruesome FX. I’m still blown away by the CG here. Thanks for walking me down memory lane.

    Liked by 1 person

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