Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Six Degrees of Invisibility, or Thoughts on Kevin Bacon in Hollow Man

An updated The Invisible Man (1933), Hollow Man (2000), an R-rated 90’s CGI extravaganza by boundary pushing director Paul Verhoeven of RoboCop (1987) and Starship Troopers (1997) starred Kevin Bacon as Dr. Sebastian Caine, which you have to admit is a perfect name for an antihero/invisible sex maniac.  A high-flying rock star “cool scientist”, reminiscent of Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park (1993), Sebastian Caine develops an invisibility serum in one of those super-secret underground government labs in an abandoned warehouse, along with his ex-girlfriend scientist Elizabeth Shue as Dr. Linda McKay.
Claude Rains’ bandages are updated to an emotionless latex mask with empty green-screen eyes, but the effect remains the same, a performance based on movement and voice.  A lot of attention is paid to the invisibility process with a montage of 90’s high tech machinery and banks of cathode ray monitors.  Thermal images and analog effects like floating coffee cups and moving furniture are matched with clever 3D renderings of arterial structures that create live action Gray’s Anatomy illustrations as layers of skin muscle and bone disappear from view.  The digital effects and green screen innovations garnered an Oscar nomination (they lost to Gladiator), and remain impressive even by contemporary standards.
As always, the invisibility part of the experiment is relatively easy, the trick is returning to normal without going crazy.  Kevin Bacon’s easy, confident acting personae adds a level of sympathy to a generally arrogant and unsavory modern version of Jekyll and Hyde.  Sebastian’s voyeurism and multiple acts of invisible sexual assault can be uncomfortable to watch from a modern perspective, but is depicted as a part of the erosion of Sebastian’s character and general descent into homicidal madness and is nothing you wouldn’t see today in your average episode of American Horror Story.
With Josh Brolin as Dr. Matt Kensington, Linda’s current boyfriend, and Kim Dickens, Madison in Fear the Walking Dead as Sarah, the lab’s veterinarian.  Also look out for Rhona Mitra from Skinwalkers (2006) and Doomsday (2008) in an early performance as Sebastian’s neighbor.


my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hr diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).