Innerspace (1987)

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Released 13-May-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Listing-Cast & Crew
Audio Commentary
Theatrical Trailer
Awards
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1987
Running Time 118:36 (Case: 115)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Joe Dante
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Dennis Quaid
Martin Short
Meg Ryan
Kevin McCarthy
Robert Picardo
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music Jerry Goldsmith


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English
French
Italian
German
Spanish
Arabic
Romanian
Dutch
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Science Fiction is an often maligned genre that has never fully been embraced by the high brow critical fraternity. This was never more evident than during the 1980's. For some reason, the majority of mainstream critics were very hostile towards this genre of film and treated many a now revered classic like an unwanted tumour upon initial release. Innerspace, made in 1987, is a prime example of this short-sightedness. Other more famous examples are Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, John Carpenter's The Thing, David Lynch's Dune, and Peter Hyam's Outland. Not all these films are in the same class, but they all share one thing - they were all scorned by the critical fraternity when released and are now being re-assessed 15 to 20 years later and deemed classic examples of the genre. Magazines, including mainstream film publications like Premiere and Empire, to genre specialists like Starlog and Cinescape have sung the praises of one or all of the above films in recent editions. So it is with great pleasure that I have the opportunity to review Joe Dante's Innerspace.

    Innerspace was released in the summer of 1987 and met with total indifference. It did, however, win a Best Oscar award for visual effects. The story itself is basically a comic rift on Fantastic Voyage. Tuck Pendleton (Dennis Quaid), a naval test pilot, is miniaturized in an experiment to explore the anatomy of a rabbit. Things go drastically wrong and he is instead injected into the rear end of Martin Short, a hypochondriacally challenged Safeway checkout clerk. What follows is a brilliantly staged action adventure. Dante, a gifted director, is at his best when making adventure films laced with dark humour, Gremlins and The Howling being the most obvious ones. Innerspace is filled to the brim with great lines, perfectly timed slapstick, brilliant gags, stunning effects, and top notch performances. If it sounds like I am gushing over this film, well I am!

    Dennis Quaid, a criminally under-rated actor, and Martin Short are the heart and soul of this film. Quaid who spends ninety percent of the film seated in a miniaturized pod, with nothing but blue screen to act off is particularly impressive and delivers a fabulous performance. Short, who can be very un-funny on most occasions, is a delight also. Although slightly over-the-top, Short's performance is still grounded in enough reality to elicit continual laughs. Where this film gains added strength is in the supporting cast. Actor Robert Picardo, a stalwart of all of Dante's films, almost steals the movie as 'The Cowboy' - the micro-chip exchange scene is a classic. Not to be short-changed, Kevin McCarthy delivers a memorable performance as the evil villain. I am hard-pressed to fault this film, except maybe for Meg Ryan's performance, which is as bland as ever.

    The screenplay by Jeffrey Boam and Chip Proser is a classic example of clever writing, The characters are well fleshed out and the dialogue sparkles with wit and intelligence. If only all blockbusters were written this well.

    The effects work by Dennis Muran at Industrial Light and Magic is still Oscar-worthy by today's standards. The interior shots of the human body are jaw-dropping and the craftsmanship that went into the work is light years beyond the CGI laptop fodder of recent films like xXx, Dreamcatcher and The Scorpion King. You still can't beat finely crafted miniatures and old fashioned optical effects. Also of special note are Rob Bottin's animatronic effects. During the aforementioned micro-chip exchange, Picardo's character morphs back into Martin Short. Bottin's effect is a show-stopper and absolutely hysterical, not to mention technically brilliant.

    Overlooked during its initial release, Innerspace is rightfully being re-discovered and given the critical praise it deserves. Simply put, this is a must-see film for anyone who has forgotten how good an 'event picture' can be.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Innerspace is presented with an almost flawless transfer. The picture is a stunner for a 15 year old film. In fact, I would rate this print as being as good as any recent release I've seen presented on DVD in the last 12 months.

    The movie is presented at an aspect ratio of 1:85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    Both sharpness and shadow detail are first rate and extremely hard to fault. There is almost zero grain and absolutely no low level noise.

    Colours are rich and vibrant and add tremendously to the comic book feel of the film.

    There were perhaps one or two instances where I saw a film artefact, but otherwise this is a pristine print.

   Warners have done themselves proud with this release - if only all their releases were this good!

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

   To go along with a great video transfer we also get a dynamic soundtrack.

    There are five audio tracks to choose from. We are given three English tracks, one in Dolby Digital 5.1, a 2.0 Surround track and an Audio Commentary from cast and crew also in 2.0 surround. There are also French and Italian 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround tracks. For this review, I listened to the English 5.1 audio option.

    Dialogue is always clear and well projected and there are no audio sync problems. Let's face it - this is a Spielberg production, so we are treated to the best.

    The musical score is by Jerry Goldsmith and, as usual for this great film composer, is a pure delight.

    Surround channel usage is top notch - we are treated to a dynamic soundfield that makes full use of the 5.1 system.

   The subwoofer adds class to an already great 5.1 track.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Listing-Cast & Crew

Audio Commentary by Director Joe Dante, Producer Michael Finnell, Co-Stars Kevin McCarthy and Robert Picardo and Special Effects Supervisor Dennis Muren.

    This is without a doubt one of the best commentaries I have heard recently. All are recorded together and they are obviously having a ball discussing the project. In fact, the commentary is as funny as the film. Actor Robert Picardo is hysterical and you almost wish he had a track to himself. This is a great extra. If only Quaid was available.

Theatrical Trailer

Awards

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    All versions of this film are the same.

Summary

    Innerspace is a joy to watch. It is well made, intelligent, funny and stunning to look at. A great film, and a highlight in Joe Dante's career. Warner Home Video have provided a great picture and audio presentation, with a great cast and crew commentary track. A must-own DVD.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Greg Morfoot (if interested here is my bio)
Wednesday, May 14, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayLG 76cm Widescreen Flatron Television. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony HT-K215.
AmplificationSony HT-K215
SpeakersSS-MS215

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Comments (Add)
I second that... - capone (they're some fine antibiotics you got there..)