Nick is a bright high school student who dreams of going to a writer’s conference in Europe after graduation. Unfortunately he is beaten and left for dead one night and now his spirit must find a way to help someone find his body before his body finally dies.

The Lowdown

The first thing you need to understand when watching this film is that it is a PG-13 rated thriller released by the Walt Disney Corporation. I recall watching the trailer for this movie and finding myself very interested in seeing it. Now that I have watched it, I find myself very disappointed in the final result.

I am a fan of the writing of David Goyer and find that his direction in this movie has grown in leaps and bounds since the critical disappointment of Blade: TrinityThe Invisible relies on only his directing skills, as it is an adaptation of the Swedish film of the same name and is co-written by Christine Roum and the original version’s screenwriter Mick Davis. Under his direction, Goyer puts together a beautifully crafted film. The shots, the scenes and the sequences just look spectacular. If this movie is nothing else, it is a beautiful film.

The film starts off with a dream sequence and then moves on into the real life of Nick Powell (Justin Chatwin), a very bright young man who has a possible future as a writer. His home life is strained as he lives with his mother, who always seems pre-occupied with other endevours other than interest in her son’s life. Contrasting this is the life of a hoodlum, a girl named Annie (Margarita Levieva). Just as Nick finds himself misunderstood at home, Annie also finds herself an outcast in her own home. Nick’s father died when he was young and Annie’s mother also died when she was a child. Unlike Nick, Annie turned to a life of crime, unable to believe she had any kind of future.

Nick is attacked and brutally beaten, left for dead. He wakes up the next day and goes back to school only to find that no one can see or hear him. He now lives in a spirit world, somewhere between death and life. Nick desperately searches for someone who can hear or sense him, someone who can help authorities find his body before he eventually succumbs to death. It is a great idea that only works in small areas of the film.

The movie is set up to compare and contrast the main characters, showing how two similar people can travel separate directions and end up in completely different places in their lives. To make that work, you need the actors to be strong. I really felt Justin Chatwin started out poorly in the film but he strengthened as the film wore on. I still don’t think Chatwin is a strong enough actor yet to carry a film, but he was not weak enough to really hurt this film. Margarita Levieva was very good in her role as the angry, dangerous Annie, but when it came time for her redemption (it is a Disney film), she really weakens. I feel each of the young actors have their areas of strength, but they are not solid well-rounded actors yet.

The biggest problem with the story is the lack of focus in the script itself. The story is pretty straight forward and simple. You know what is going to happen through the entire movie. I do admit there was one moment at the end that was unexpected to me, but other than that, it was not a complex plot as the movie wore on. There are also things that I considered important about the story that were ignored as the movie came to a close. The relationship between Nick and his mother was not resolved satisfyingly. Yes, it was hinted at, but I think we needed something more. Also, the problems that arose between Nick and his best friend Pete were left in limbo. That was a huge misstep because you never discover what happened to Pete.

Another horrible problem with this movie is the use of music. The movie is filled with an alt-rock soundtrack that really imposes itself on us throughout the scenes. Goyer’s real weakness as a director here is his overuse of musical montages. You could use a conducted score with much more success than Goyer achieved with really bad songs in this film. You should want to follow the characters throughout their journey but you are stuck wishing the songs would just go away.

The plot was a great idea, and the film was skillfully directed but it falls short because of a weak, disorganized script. The acting is only subpar and that is a problem as well. I really wish that it had worked out better because this is a great idea for a movie and with a solid, growing young director and could have been great. As it is, a weak script would elevate this to nothing more than a below average, forgettable Disney film.

The Package

The movie is a Walt Disney picture, so you should already know what to expect quality wise. It is presented in 16×9 Widescreen and looks beautiful. With much of the scenes taking place in dark places, everything remains clear and looks fantastic. The sound is 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround and sounds great. I really don’t like the DVD’s cover and think they should have used the original poster’s art.

There are two different commentary tracks. The first is with director David S. Goyer and writer Christine Roum. The second is a solo track with writer Mick Davis. The one with Goyer and Roum is entertaining as expected with Goyer always full of fun information. The commentary track with Davis is quite boring as he simply sits there and explains what you are watching on the screen. This track is worthless, as it is just an explanation of what you should already know from a very uninteresting voice.

There are five deleted scenes with optional commentary from director David Goyer and writer Christine Roum. A few of the scenes were part of a subplot showing the relationship between Nick and Suzie. It was an entire subplot showing Nick’s reluctance to move on in the relationship despite both his mother and Suzie’s insistence. There was also a large sequence that was completely removed from the movie, although if you saw the trailer you saw parts of the sequence. It is a spooky sequence where Nick passes a hospital and finds an old man who is in the same predicament as him. Goyer explains that it was removed from the movie because test audiences felt that it was not needed for Nick to learn the truth. Goyer also said that they planned all along to use it in the trailers. There was also a subplot going into the investigation of Pete that I think could have been a nice addition to the film. Other scenes were mainly just fat, over explaining what we already learned in other scenes.

Finally, there are two music videos. The Kill by 30 Seconds to Mars and Taking Back Control by Sparta. The Kill is a live performance and for some reason I find it funny to watch Jared Leto perform live. It’s pretty poor quality however. Taking Back Control is a more straight forward video with clips from the movie throughout. The song is a generic alt-rock track that is not that great.