Mr. Superinvisible is a landmark in the world of cinema chiefly because it proves that co-starring with Sandy Duncan and a duck in The Million Dollar Duck was not the nadir of Dean Jones’ career! To his credit, Dean at least did the honorable thing and did what so many of our other Silver Screen heroes of days gone by did when in need of easy money – he went to Italy!
And easier money was never to be had! Since this a flick where Dean plays a guy who turns invisible, he doesn’t even have to appear in most of it! Just a few days on set to humiliate yourself by wearing a dress or hiding your nasty bits with palm fronds and a couple of hours in the audio booth dubbing dialogue so bad even the regular crew of Italian dubbing masters couldn’t be persuaded to do it and BANG! Another six hundred bucks to pay off that 1970 Fiat 124 Sport Spider!
In Dean’s defense, it probably didn’t look like such a dire career move when he made it. He was still single-handedly keeping Walt Disney’s live action film division afloat during this time, appearing in such classics as the aforementioned $1000000 Duck, Snowball Express, and the The Shaggy D.A. after the release of Mr. Superinvisible. Heck, this was his first role after what is arguably the best remembered movie of his career, The Love Bug!
And bopping around Europe in what probably appeared to be just another family friendly wacky comedy about a timid scientist who gets mixed up with an invisibility formula, evildoers intent on stealing a deadly virus, and trying to win over the pretty girl scientist he works with was surely hard to resist!
What Dean likely didn’t realize is that there is a big difference between the Disney machine he was used to working with which could take even the silliest premises (Blackbeard’s Ghost anyone?) and assemble a cast and crew that could make them at least watchable timewasters and the Italians signing his checks this time around.
In Mr. Superinvisible, the Italians brought to the table everything they always bring to the table in these half-hearted attempts to rip off a well known movie type.
You get distractingly-bad dubbing, off-putting and unnecessary camera tricks, an instantly-dated mod soundtrack that would be right at home in some candy colored late 1960s spy movie, and of course the patented failed attempts at humor. (A guy parachuting lands on the ground so hard that his legs are scrunched up to his knees and instead of being dead, he just becomes really short!)
And that litany leaves out the two biggies! The story and the special effects are even worse!
Dean is a wimpy scientist working on something or other at a lab where he pines away for a co-worker (Irene), but is constantly outclassed by the rich snooty mama’s boy who drives a bad ass sports car and takes her out to fancy restaurants.
That’s a fairly routine set up, but is totally ineffective since the rich guy is an ugly fat toad and everyone knows he gets his money from his mom. I wasn’t convinced for a minute that Irene was going to let this guy so much as breathe on her, let alone touch her!
In fact, when she goes out to eat with him, she was only too eager to laugh at this bloated up boob when Dean started pulling invisible pranks on him!
But how does Dean get his hands on some invisibility juice? Some doctor buddy of his sends him some from Bombay. Why? Who knows! It was a potion to make you disappear, not to read minds!
Dean does do some due diligence and gets the label (which is in Nepalese for some reason) translated. Of course he does this after he’s already taken it and turned invisible. And are you really surprised to learn that he tracks down his translator pal while this guy is attending a séance?
You don’t have to even see the movie to know where this is going, but you do need to see it to notice that once the label gets translated, it doesn’t reveal a single thing about anything! Even Dean commented on how pointless that exercise was! But at least we got to see a floating bottle!
What about all that jibber jabber regarding the stolen virus? Who cares! The virus doesn’t even work!
Director Antonio Margheriti (Car Crash, Jungle Raiders) trots out the expected invisibility stunts with a floating briefcase and floating dog collar (Dean’s dog gets a dose as does a chimp who in the movie’s only funny moment makes a farting noise that is blamed on some guy standing nearby!) as well as the car chase where the motorcycle Dean is driving appears to be driving itself.
Margheriti even manages to work in the use of models like he often times does as a model of a mansion is blown up and a model airplane flies crazily through the air. But what works in something like Ark Of The Sun God, just looks amateurish in the much more pedestrian Mr. Superinvisible.
And almost to prove that when you want something done right, you call in the pros, Disney made a fun 1972 feature about Kurt Russell turning invisible in Now You See Him, Now You Don’t. Invisible chimps won’t be the only one blowing raspberries at Mr. Superinvisible.
© 2013 MonsterHunter