(for sci-fi violence, language and brief nudity)
Director: Joe Dante
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Martin Short, Meg Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, Robert Picardo, Wendy Schaal
Running Time: 2 hours, 0 minutes
Theatrical Release Date: July 1, 1987
Blu-Ray Release Date: August 4, 2015 (Amazon.com)
The top-secret test of a sub-miniaturization process goes wildly awry in this comic adventure when industrial spies steal the technology and the daring pilot (Dennis Quaid) of the world's first molecular-sized craft is accidentally injected into the bloodstream of a hypochondriac grocery store clerk (Martin Short). Now with only a 24-hour supply of oxygen, an atom-sized test pilot must convince the nerd in whose body he is trapped how to be a hero in order to recover the stolen technology, convince the pilot's girlfriend (Meg Ryan) that he loves her ... and save both men from a grisly death.
Have you ever seen a movie when you were a kid--maybe even many times--and then rewatched it later as a teen or adult and thought, "Whoa! I don't remember that?!" This has seemed to be a common occurrence for me over the years. One such film was 1987's Innerspace. I was probably 7 or 8 when I first watched the movie and I loved the story of a cocky pilot named Tuck (played by Dennis Quaid) being miniaturized to the size of a human cell and accidentally injected into the body of a neurotic bystander named Jack (played by comedian Martin Short). The effects in the film were pretty believable too--for its day--as many scenes took place with Tuck inside his tiny pod navigating the blood vessels and organs of Jack. Looking back, it's a pretty rough movie for kids, but it's still kind of fun to revisit almost 30 years later.
Innerspace is making its high definition blu-ray debut this month (hence this review) and Warner Bros. has done a pretty good job cleaning up the original film and making it high definition. The movie is still a bit limited by the time period it was made in, so it's definitely not the sharpest transfer you'll see, but for fans of the movie, it's the best presentation you can possibly see it in.
Innerspace offers a pretty stellar cast in uniting Meg Ryan, Dennis Quaid and Martin Short as the main characters, along with some recognizable faces along the way. Jerry Goldsmith's score is pretty good at times, but the 80s origin offers some bizarre and embarrassingly dated synth effects. I was, however, pretty impressed at how good most of the inner body sequences look even today. Tuck's pod is a pretty cool design, and Quaid is a lot of fun in the role. The story even makes room for some relationship drama between Tuck and Meg Ryan's Lydia, which isn't really needed for this kind of story, but it makes it a bit more well-rounded, and it allows room for Jack to fall for Lydia and think he might actually have a chance to be with her. Short also actually has quite a bit of character development from start to finish, finding some courage along the way that brings about some significant changes in his life.
Unfortunately, the tone of Innerspace is a bit too uneven. It's a comedy, sure, and it does strike a decent balance between the serious and the silly, but things fall apart a bit near the end. The film's best moments involve Tuck and Jack, and Jack and Lydia, so when things start to unravel during the film's climax and some of the bad guys get miniaturized only 50%, it's more corny than it is funny, and the more menacing villains just become silly. Also, if you're not a huge fan of 80s films and the whole 80s vibe, Innerspace is about as 80s as it gets for this kind of action/adventure. It has the look and feel of an episode of MacGyver or maybe A-Team, and I know that's certainly not everyone's cup of tea.
Also, the movie was released at a time when it seems like the MPAA was still trying to figure out the ratings system. It's rated PG, but it would be PG-13 if rated by today's standards. Among the content, there's a good deal of language (mostly the "S" word and "h*ll"), the scenes inside of the body are pretty realistic (and therefore may make some viewers uneasy), a scene where bad guys raid a lab shows them gassing and knocking out everyone in the lab (up until this viewing, I'd always assumed they were getting killed, but they seem to all show up again at the end?), a man is shot and we watch him die, a man's bare butt is seen as he stands naked in the street, a bad guy falls into stomach acid and we see his skeleton with bits of flesh on it, and some other action violence. It's definitely not a movie for the whole family.
While Innerspace holds some special nostalgia for me in my movie-watching history, it doesn't hold up as well as some other movies from the decade (like Back To The Future, Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Ghostbusters). If you're fans of anyone in the main cast, I would recommend checking it out, but otherwise, Innerspace is just a fun, albeit very dated, inner-body experience.
- John DiBiase (reviewed: 8/2/15)
Blu-Ray Special Features Review
I talked a bit in the main review about the blu-ray transfer, but to add to that, Innerspace
is given a pretty good conversion to high definition. I only spotted a speck of dust in the image maybe once or twice, so it does seem as though the studio went right back to the negative to give us a brand new scan of the film.
As far as special features go, there isn't much here. We have a theatrical trailer and an optional feature-length audio commentary to listen to while watching the movie. The commentary is from the original DVD release, probably around 10 years or so ago, and features Director Joe Dante, Producer Michael Finnell, co-stars Kevin McCarthy and Robert Picardo, and Visual Effects Supervisor Dennis Muren. This is definitely a nice bonus for fans of the movie (and offers insights into how they did some of the great special effects).
- John DiBiase
, (reviewed: 8/2/15)
Parental Guide: Content Summary
: Lydia helps lay Tuck down on the couch while he's drunk (and she's sober) and she falls over on him. He laughs and says "All you had to do was ask honey" but she scoffs and gets up; Tuck seduces Lydia by playing their song and slow-dancing with her. The scene cuts away and in the morning we see her rushing out of his place with Tuck wearing only a bed sheet. As he follows her out to a taxi and begs her not to go, his bed sheet catches in the door as they drive off. We then see him totally naked from behind with his bare butt completely visible; Jack goes to the bathroom but continues to talk to Tuck, so it looks like he's talking to his genitals when a man in the bathroom overhears him. The man then stops and says to Jack, "Play with it pal, but don't talk to it;" We see Margaret in bed in lingerie with Mr. Igoe pouring drinks for them, but nothing is shown happening between them; Wendy comments that she's slept with everyone else at work but Jack, but he's the only one she feels remotely attracted to; We see The Cowboy in his underwear; Lydia and Jack passionately kiss--enough so that Tuck passes into Lydia's body; Lydia passionately kisses Jack again to pass Tuck back to him; While having been inside Lydia, Tuck finds that she's pregnant from their previous intimate encounters together; We see a half-size Scrimshaw hiding in a suit case with a regular sized bra draped over his neck; After having just been married, we see Tuck and Lydia kissing in the back of their limo.
: 10 "S" words, 18 "h*ll," 2 "d*mn," 2 "S.O.B," 2 "a" words, 12 "G-d," 1 "S.O.B.", 1 "balls," 1 "sucking"
: The very first shot of the movie is an alcoholic beverage being poured in the foreground at a ceremony; We see Tuck acting very drunk while drinking more; Tuck uses a robotic machine to pour himself a drink; Jack downs a large handful of aspirin; Tuck asks Jack to drink some Southern Comfort so he can drink some inside him. When Jack does, Tuck sticks out his flask to catch some for himself. Later we see both drunk and Jack dancing wildly; Margaret has drinks with the hit man; We see people partying in a club; The Cowboy pops champagne.
: Tuck has some blood on his mouth and hand from being punched while drunk; After Ozzy is shot, we see blood on his lab coat as he's dying; When Tuck is injected into Jack, we immediately start seeing Tuck's ship floating through the inside of his body. As such, throughout the movie, we see fat cells, blood scenes, a heart valve, blood vessels, the backside of the eyeball, stomach acid and sphincter muscle, and other aspects of the inside of the human body; Tuck uses a laser to slice open skin inside Jack and enter his blood stream; The heart valve pulls Tuck toward it. So he digs a hook into the flesh and cuts a hole in the vessel to escape; We see frozen chunks of meat hanging in a meat locker; When Jack's face changes back from The Cowboy to his own, we see a violent, rubbery transformation of his face that's meant to be funny but can appear disturbing to some. In it, his face elongates and stretches and his head swells and shrinks. It's kind of gross; Tuck drops his pod and the attached hit man in his own suit into Jack's stomach acid. We then see the skeleton of the villain with bits of flesh on it.
: Tuck falls over onto a table from being drunk; Jack tell his doctor about a dream he has where a woman pulls a gun on him while he's at work. He then clumsily knocks over a tray of instruments and then falls off the examination table; Tuck slaps himself in the face a few times; A man at a desk is gassed in the face and passes out. A team of guys walk around spraying people in the face and they fall over. They appear to be dead, but we see them again later in the film; A scientist runs off, pushing over a bad guy. He runs down the street and is chased by a car. At one point, he's narrowly missed getting hit. He takes a bike and the chase continues. He then crashes the bike into a car and falls. He hen runs into a store to escape. The hit man chases him inside. He's shot at with a gun in the man's robotic finger and it wounds him. The scientist then injects Tuck into Jack with a syringe and throws the syringe to the ground where it breaks. We immediately see the inside of the Jack's blood cells. The scientist then falls over and dies; The hitman kidney punches a guy and takes his camera; The hit man removes his robotic hand and replaces it with a different one; After he thinks his dream about the woman with the gun is coming true, Jack freaks out and grabs his boss by the collar. He then downs a bottle of aspirin and hyperventilates. Wendy slaps him; Tuck's electromagnetic booster causes Jack's TV to blow up and throw a video cassette through his window. The TV then bursts into flames. Tuck also then gets a fire inside his pod that he rushes to put out; Tuck uses a laser to slice open skin inside Jack and enter his blood stream; Tuck fires a probe into Jack's eye and Jack screams in pain; A man pulls a gun on Jack. They struggle for the gun and Jack knees him and hits him to escape; The heart valve pulls Tuck toward it. So he digs a hook into the flesh and cuts a hole in the vessel to escape; Jack slaps his own face a few times to sober up; The hit man throws Jack into the wall. Lydia tries to shoot a taser at him but she accidentally hits Jack, frying him and Tuck's ship inside. The hit man then picks up an unconscious Jack, hits a guy and steals his truck; We see Jack freezing in a meat locker; Jack opens the truck doors and ends up hanging outside the truck from the door as it's driving down the road. Jack kicks a bad guy; Jack punches out The Cowboy and then they tie him up; Tuck causes Jack's face to change into The Cowboy's and we see him shaking violently (played for laughs); When Jack is threatened with being burned, he panics and his face violently changes back. As such, his head is shown very rubbery and exaggerated. It's played for laughs, but could also be considered disturbing in appearance; We see Jack strapped down. A man goes into Lydia's purse and something in it shocks the man and knocks him out; Lydia shoots a gun in the air twice; A man faints; Jack fights a man and beats him up. When he gets up, he hits him again; A car crashes through a door. The mini bad guys grab them while driving and bite them; The hit man is shrunken down to a cell size and injected into Jack. He's got his own suit and tries to drill into Tuck's pod as he's struggling with running out of oxygen. He drills into the glass, so Tuck drops the both of them into Jack's stomach acid. We then see the skeleton of the villain with bits of flesh on it. Tuck then says "Jack... you just digested the bad guy" and we see Jack burp.
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