Before Leigh Whannel and the Blumhouse team reinvented and reinvigorated the Invisible Man franchise for the modern generation with their 2020 adaptation, I would have argued that no one could have stepped into Claude Rains shoes as the doomed scientist, Dr. Jack Griffin.
In Fact he would reprise the role once more with American comedians Bud Abbot and Lou Costello in Abbott and Costello Meet The Invisible Man further associating himself with the iconic character.
Rains became synonymous with the Universal horror franchise with his dignified gentlemanly manner which also saw him in The Wolf Man movie and The Phantom of the Opera.
HG Wells’ novel would inspire 7 feature films under the Universal umbrella, none could match the original film however, but something must have stirred the creative flow to keep the infamous production company revisiting the story.
There would be a seven year gap between the original 1933 release and a sequel, so perhaps the time lapse was too big a call for it to truly lift off from its predecessor but for me The Invisible Man Returns never quite lands the mark.
This view may have raised eyebrows from some, particularly as the film boasts the magnificent Vincent Price as its lead, whose physical presence is only seen for about a minute of screen time.
The rest of the movie, the renaissance man is either wrapped up in bandages or providing his sultry tones to the piece.
As much as Price adds much needed gravitas to the narrative, it never encapsulates the viewer beyond the tale of redemption.
As such there is no real audience connection to the characters and their one-dimensional storyline, that essentially sees Price as Geoffrey Radcliffe, a man accused of murder and sentenced to death for a crime that he didn’t commit.
In steps Dr Jack Griffin’s brother, Frank, with the invisible formula and gives it to Radcliffe so that he can escape and prove his innocence.
Quite why Frank does this is neither mentioned, nor followed up again. The rest of the movie plays out as a crime thriller, where Radcliffe tries to uncover who the real murderer was.
Not a patch on the original, which personally is because it steers away from the science and the side effects that ensue from substance abuse.
It’s only saving grace is the presence of Vincent Price, even if it is merely in voice alone.
- Saul Muerte
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