A super idea didn't quite pan out in this musical fantasy spoof.
When the Pentagon's Hypno-Ray is stolen, the President of the United States (Michael Pate) decides to summon a superhero, Captain Invincible (Alan Arkin). Though a straight-arrow icon during WWII, Invincible ran afoul of a McCarthyite commission in the 1950s and was blacklisted for wearing a red
cape and flying without a license. Now he's an ageless but senseless drunk wandering Australia. Scientists try to rehabilitate the super-souse with various therapies, as Captain Invincible's perennial nemesis, Mr. Midnight (Christopher Lee), eavesdrops. Midnight is, of course, the master villain
behind the theft of the Hypno-Ray. When a sobered-up Captain Invincible finally penetrates his underground lair, Mr. Midnight reduces the dysfunctional dynamo to a state of delirium tremens with a show-stopper of a drinking song and a tempting display of liquor. But an Aussie policewoman (Kate
Fitzpatrick), the Lois Lane-type sidekick, revitalizes the stricken superhero by playing Kate Smith's rendition of "God Bless America." The Legend in Leotards rallies to defeat Midnight and his minions.
Made in 1983 (but released internationally in 1985), this relatively lavish Australian production was an attempt by the burgeoning Down Under film industry to make a splash on American mainstream screens, with its shameless flag-waving (perhaps meant ironically, perhaps not) and broad humor. But
success on a "CROCODILE" DUNDEE (1986) scale eluded the low-flying CAPTAIN INVINCIBLE, an idea which looks better on paper. Certainly Arkin and Lee, performers whose comic talents are as underrated as their singing, give their all, but the mix of genuine wit, coarse slapstick, weak special effects
and hoary puns seems to grow more desperate as it goes along. Sight gags--like Midnight feeding his succession of carnivorous pets to each other--fall to poor timing and off-note edits. Mr. Midnight's dire scheme turns out to be a banal Aryan-bully trick to rid NYC of its minorities; Lee is worthy
of better writing as the supposed incarnation of evil itself. Director Mora complained that he lost creative control over the material to the producers in post-production
Even with its flaws, this deserves a look in particular from the fringe element who made THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) a cult hit. The ROCKY HORROR team of Richard Hartley and Richard O'Brien contributed three rambunctious musical numbers: "Captain Invincible," "Evil Midnight," and "Name
Your Poison." Other novelty tunes are "Bullshit," "Into the Blue," "We Need a Hero" (written by Brad Love), "The World I Knew" (written by Billy Field and Tom Price), "Amazing How They're Alike" (written by Jan Bunker and Mike Scarpiollo), and the token straightforward love ballad "Heaven in Your
Eyes" (written by Beth Lawrence and Norman Thalheimer, performed by Beth Lawrence). (Violence, sexual situations, substance abuse, profanity.)
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- Released: 1983
- Rating: PG
- Review: A super idea didn't quite pan out in this musical fantasy spoof. When the Pentagon's Hypno-Ray is stolen, the President of the United States (Michael Pate) decides to summon a superhero, Captain Invincible (Alan Arkin). Though a straight-arrow icon during… (more)