Last Thursday we had our first ever members’ trip to the BFI Southbank to see The Invisible Man as part of the BFI’s Sci-Fi Season. Unsure of what to expect, we settled into our seats and watched patiently.
Based on H. G. Wells’ 1897 Sci-Fi novella, this 1933 adaptation starred Claude Raines as the innovative scientist desperate to find a way to reverse his self-invisibility experiment. In an attempt to isolate and hide himself from the outside world, Dr. Jack Griffin grows into a power hungry maniac, unaware of the psychological effects that his successful experiment has had.
From the very beginning, our interest is instantly captured by the strong introduction to our title character. We join Dr. Griffin as he is fighting through blistering winds and snowy conditions in an attempt to find asylum. As an audience, we find ourselves confused and disorientated by the use of sound and volume within the scene – questions begin to race around your mind, and you want to keep watching.
The sincerity of the title role is nicely contrasted with the comedic characters of the villagers/pub owners, and provides suitable light relief from the story for the audience. This is similar to the role of the police force within the film who provide a laugh-a-minute type sequence. The oppositions of characters helps to enhance the sinister character that Griffin becomes.
For a 1933 Sci-Fi flick, it’s understandable for one to imagine slapstick-style effects, especially due to the development of cinematic technology nowadays. It has to be said that the special effects, in particular making Raines appear partially/totally invisible, are fantastic – and not just for the era, but in general. The shooting and editing of the film was quite clearly carefully considered to aid the audience in suspending their disbelief.
With a running time of 71 minutes, ‘The Invisible Man’ appears a relatively short film, particularly within the Sci-Fi genre. While some agreed that the film maintained a good pace and kept the audience engaged at all times, I felt as though the story got a little repetitive and seemed to drag. There are only so many unsuccessful attempts at catching a villainous doctor until the audience gets bored!
On the whole, we’re all in firm agreement that this was a very enjoyable and thrilling watch. It had a good balance of comedy and drama, the effects were elegant and believable, it had a suitable ending of peace being restored and the acting was entertaining and suitable for the style and age of the film.
‘The Invisible Man’ receives a solid 4 out of 5 stars from me and I would definitely recommend it to our members!
Don’t worry if you weren’t able to join us at this exclusive member’s event – we are planning more exciting events for the future so stay tuned and watch this space!