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Plot Device

The Invisible

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I first heard the term "trailer trash" (a verb) in the context of film marketing just a few years back. It refers to the annoying (and growing) practice of so drastically re-editing a film at the eleventh hour before its initial release so as to totally change (usually throw out comlpetely) much of the imagery/clips we repeatedly saw (and probably looked forward to) in the pre-release trailers.

One classic example off the top of my head is Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (a film which I liked, btw). What ever happened to the scene from the trailer where Will Farrell and his female lead are writhing sensually (and fully clothed) on the news studio floor in front of everyone, and he shouts out to her "Let's make a baby!"?? Whatever happened to the scene from the trailer where someone pulls a gun on the female lead and Will Farrell leaps forth Secret Service-style, in slow motion, and takes the bullet for her?? I never saw the DVD so I have no idea if any of that made it into the "out-takes" segment. But these weren't extraneous moments that the film had to jettison for time-saving purposes, these were (from the look and feel of the trailer) core plot elements concerning the main protag's character arc and the story's climax.

The Invisible can now officially join the disturbingly swelling ranks of trailer trashed films.

The trailer featured no less than three individual clips where the disembodied hero is having a conversation with another disembodied soul, an old man in a hospital gown. The old man says to him in one clip "You will never be seen again!" and in another clip "If you can solve the riddle of your own death, only then can you live again." And the theatre lobby posters supported that claim with the tag line "How do you solve a murder when the victim is you?" So, we had a muder mystery here. Echoes of Patrick Swayze in Ghost.

I went and saw it last night (Tuesdays is bargain days, five bucks a ticket all day--yes, that's my apologetic excuse). And the old man never once appeared in the entire film. I kept looking and waiting for him to make his entrance, but it never happened. So the old man got trailer trashed. And thus, I can only surmise that the main thrust of the story line got radically changed as well.

It's probably worth noting that The Invisible pulled an "Aon Flux" and was withheld from critics prior to release. That's usually a bad sign (and it pisses off resident film critic Peter T. Chattaway to no end). So I suspect they were editing and re-editing right up until its release this past Friday. The final story line came off as less of a murder mystery and more of a journey through contemporary, nihilist-ridden, teen angst with a messiah complex tossed in somehow.

The film was "okay," but not brilliant. The characters weren't particularly engaging, but also not particularly repellent. The one "good" kid who kept NOT coming forward with the truth of his friend's assault was really annoying me in his failure to do so (in other words, I wasn't sufficiently convinced that he wouldn't come foreward). I did find the performance by the mother somewhat compelling

I can't recommend this film. But I also won't out-right condemn it. It's so-so. The messiah thing at the end is worth a look from Christians on an intellectual/artistic level (not on a theological level though). I don't feel the messiah motif was done in a convicning way as far as satisfying the believability of the plot, but it was a bit different than most of its ilk and has some artistic merit.

Edited by Plot Device

INT. HOLY TRINITY CHURCH - SANCTUARY - NIGHT

FATHER LORENZO

So now that you've told me all of this: why do you hold such a deep aversion to discussing angels?

PASTOR DAVID

Because I don't wanna get it WRONG! To stand up in front of my congregation--AND in front of God-- and screw it up! Do you hold much stock in that passage from James that says "We who teach will be judged more strictly"??

FATHER LORENZO

Yes... in fact .... I consider that one scripture to be an occupational hazard.

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FWIW, my review.

Plot Device wrote:

: The trailer featured no less than three individual clips where the disembodied hero is having a conversation with another disembodied soul, an old man in a hospital gown.

Wow! I don't know if I ever saw that trailer, but still -- wow!

: It's probably worth noting that The Invisible pulled an "Aon Flux" and was withheld from critics prior to release.

It's even worse than that. Paramount, the studio behind Aeon Flux, at least let critics like me into the late-Thursday-night screenings, the night before the movie opened. But The Invisible? No screenings AT ALL.

: So I suspect they were editing and re-editing right up until its release this past Friday.

I read an article -- in the New York Times, I think -- which said that the film had been re-cut to avoid getting an R rating. But there was nothing in the movie that really seemed, to me, to be pushing the envelope that much. I dunno, maybe the old man in the hospital gown swore a lot, or we get an all-too-good look at him from behind? :)

Incidentally, did you notice the banners that said "Graduation 2006" or some such? Yes, this movie is just like Pathfinder -- a remake of a Scandinavian film that was shot in Vancouver in 2005, and then it sat on the shelf until it was released in 2007 without any press screenings (at least in the city where it was produced; apparently Pathfinder had screenings in a few American cities).


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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The marketing campaign apparently confused an acquaintance of mine on another board into thinking that "The Invisible" had the same director as "The Sixth Sense". I pointed out to her that it was marketed as being from "the producers of The Sixth Sense and the co-writer of Batman Begins" - and even that is misleading. I checked IMDB, which does not list any producers or executive producers in common between The Invisible and The Sixth Sense, but both films have the same production company - Spyglass Entertainment. Also, plugging your film as being from the writer of such-and-such a film is bound to make some people think that said writer also did writing on this film. Not the case here - David S. Goyer, who was a co-writer on Batman, is the director of "The Invisible". (And on a complete tangent, he's been tabbed to direct the X-Men spinoff "Magneto". )

Edited by MrZoom

Edward Curtis

Morgantown, WV

Hold the physician in honor, for he is essential to you, and God it was who created his profession. Sirach 38:1 NAB

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Ah, but would "From the director of Blade: Trinity" have appealed to anyone? (Goyer actually had a hand in WRITING all three Blade films, but he only DIRECTED the third one... which pretty much everyone agrees was the worst. RT gives the first two films ratings in the mid-50s, but the third film is down in the 20s, if memory serves.)


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Ah, but would "From the director of Blade: Trinity" have appealed to anyone? (Goyer actually had a hand in WRITING all three Blade films, but he only DIRECTED the third one... which pretty much everyone agrees was the worst. RT gives the first two films ratings in the mid-50s, but the third film is down in the 20s, if memory serves.)

Heh. As I commented to a friend who called The Invisible the worst movie he's ever paid money to see, perhaps Mr. Goyer should stick to writing.


Edward Curtis

Morgantown, WV

Hold the physician in honor, for he is essential to you, and God it was who created his profession. Sirach 38:1 NAB

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Plot Device wrote:

: The trailer featured no less than three individual clips where the disembodied hero is having a conversation with another disembodied soul, an old man in a hospital gown.

Wow! I don't know if I ever saw that trailer, but still -- wow!

I know this sounds really lame, but I am unable to view/watch trailers from my home computer (not enough processing speed). I can listen to web radio, but You-Tube is out of my reach right now. Otherwise I would have gladly linked that trailer here (provided it still exists on the web somewhere). But I shy away from blindly posting any alleged smoking gun/Exhibit A specimen without at least being able to view it first.

Ditto for the Ron Burgundy trailers.

BTW--good review, Peter.


INT. HOLY TRINITY CHURCH - SANCTUARY - NIGHT

FATHER LORENZO

So now that you've told me all of this: why do you hold such a deep aversion to discussing angels?

PASTOR DAVID

Because I don't wanna get it WRONG! To stand up in front of my congregation--AND in front of God-- and screw it up! Do you hold much stock in that passage from James that says "We who teach will be judged more strictly"??

FATHER LORENZO

Yes... in fact .... I consider that one scripture to be an occupational hazard.

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