Innerspace offers Dante's usual mixture of comedy, exciting action and fantasy, the plot being a variation on Fantastic Voyage (1966). Test pilot Quaid is miniaturised and as a result of a bungled attempt to steal the new experimental technology, accidentally injected into the body of a deeply stressed and insecure Martin Short. Quaid is charismatic and commanding, Ryan gives an early demonstration of her patent romantic comedy persona, but it's Short's picture as he delivers a perfectly nuanced performance pitched between slapstick and paranoia. The Oscar-winning special effects enhance rather than dominate the story, which, though it gets a bit too silly in places, is generally inventive and sufficiently action packed to sustain the almost two-hour running time. Jerry Goldsmith's muscular score is a major asset, while in-joke spotters will have fun picking out everyone from Chuck Jones to William Schallert (the doctor in The Incredible Shrinking Man (1! 957)).
On the DVD: Innerspace on disc has a group commentary with director Joe Dante, producer Michael Finnell, visual effects supervisor Dennis Muren and actor Kevin McCarthy. This is engaging if far from riveting. The original trailer is anamorphically enhanced and there are two perfunctory pages listing cast, crew and the film's Oscar for special effects. The original Dolby Spectral soundtrack has been remixed into Dolby Digital 5.1 and is bold, clear and powerful. The picture is presented at 1.78:1 and is a virtually flawless transfer: colours are rich, detail levels are high and the only trace of grain is in a few particularly high contrast shots.--Gary S. Dalkin
This time it's Dennis Quaid's turn to get miniaturised and injected (into a bunny this time round) for experimental purposes, except he doesn't quite get there...
Quaid, as test pilot Tuck Pendelton, is a great old-fashioned movie hero here, a cross between a young Jack Nicholson and Harrison Ford, and at this stage in his career it looked like that's where he was headed.
The real hero of the piece, however, is the inestimable Martin Short, who plays meek supermarket clerk Jack Putter, an absolute dweeb whose life is turned upside down by the accidental addition of Tuck into his bloodstream.
Short is physically and verbally hilarious as he goes through panic, confusion and eventually sheer heroism, spurred on by this 'alien' presence inside him. Plus there's Meg Ryan in a typically goofy 80's role for added fun.
The action never lets up and the effects are spectacular (and hey, no CGI in sight!) building to the (literally) breathless climax in Short's oesophagus (er, that didn't come out right), as Tuck does battle with another miniaturised craft set to destroy him.
As it's a Joe Dante film, it has all the director's trademarks; actors Robert Picardo (as the hysterical Cowboy; "Women love me"), Dick Miller (as a grumpy taxi driver), cartoonist Chuck Jones, Henry Gibson, plus the usual quota of film references, in-jokery and repeat-viewing-worthy gags (check out how many references there are to rabbits or Alice in Wonderland). Not to mention a cracking, heart-thumping score by Jerry Goldsmith, the John Williams to Dante's Spielberg.... Read more ›
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