Too Spaced Out

Serenaded by  Sam Cooke’s “Cupid” and Rod Stewart’s remake of Cooke’s “Twistin’ the Night Away,” Innerspace charges its energy and lets it loose in a number of high-end action sequences. Luckily, despite an Academy Award win for visual effects, Innerspace’s story is never suffocated by their presence. 1987 was years before blockbusters found themselves caught in that trap.

Joe Dante heads this one, remaking the ’60s era Fantastic Voyage into an ’80s style Fantastic Voyage – with his own Warner Bros. twist. Bugs Bunny is everywhere. So is voice actor Mel Blanc if you look.

Sci-fi thriller. Martin Short comedy. Miniature pilot epic. Innerspace is all them. It’s sort of a mess. Innerspace may have the record for most villains in a summer flick, stuffing the feature with at least five key antagonists, more if corporate espionage gunman and side goons are counted. Short’s doctor-hogging, hypochondriac hero Jack Putter has a reason to be scared – everyone in this world wants him dead. That’s what happens when you’re injected with teeny tiny Dennis Quaids… one of them anyway.

The film’s science is mesmerized by robotics and microchips. Innerspace needs them to do anything, even start. It’s a movie drunk on early computing. Now it’s quaint, even adorable by how in awe the camera is of a robotic arm and in retrospect, Martin Short. His kooky schtick works though, dressing up an eye-rolling musical interlude as Quaid – simmering near Short’s ear canal – works to convince Short this is all happening.

It’s a story of a dork turning into a non-dork because of the non-dork injected inside of him.

Unlike the clear inspiration of Fantastic Voyage, Innerspace is not run through medical cliches. It’s a story of a dork turning into a non-dork because of the non-dork injected inside of him. Short’s character arc turns him into a brave fist-fighter and inadvertent stuntman who (almost) lands the girl – Meg Ryan – while saving a technological future for all.

Even if the two hour runtime bumps into the pacing, Innerspace is loaded with those “how did they do that?” moments. Effects work simulating Quaid’s adventures swimming around in Short’s bloodstream are utterly credible. By its finale, with an in-stomach brawl cut between another melee with miniature people, the saved up enthusiasm spent waiting on exposition is finally spent.

In spite of being entangled by loose editing (Innerspace needs 20 minutes chopped), Quaid and Short are an endearing pair with an assist going to Dennis Muren’s effects team – plus the help of Dante’s see-through directorial charisma. The director’s flair and excitability is never less than totally obvious in any of his projects. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Movie]

Inside Martin Short's rump @ 29:05

Warner debuts Innerspace with an up-to-date master with few problems. Grain reproduction is regularly perfect, producing images rich in fidelity. Close-ups are loaded with definition. Exteriors are stunning, too. Inside of Short, images carry a purposeful haze to simulate fluids. Detail wanes with necessity. This Blu-ray debut will do nothing to dress this up thankfully.

Mastering work is almost consistent, but loses itself on a few scenes. Either damage was severe or a generational print was used. Grain takes on a pudgy appearance, smearing the screen in a light vaseline-like effect. If it’s DNR, it’s a subtle application. Why in those few scenes – both in different parts of a doctor’s office – is not clear.

Tossing those aside, Innerspace showcases itself with rich color and depth. Primaries are a show of strength. Yellows have a number of vibrant moments. Flesh tones are perfection.

While shadow details are a victim of crush, it’s not an illogical problem. Quaid spends much of the film in his mini-sub, surrounded by darkness. Losing material in the shadows makes sense. Elsewhere, such as darkened labs, Innerspace’s disc finds the proper medium. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Video]

Stereos are used extensively in this movie, beginning to work into the piece during opening moments as a glass is filled with alcohol. Cue a drunken fight where objects begin to pan around and Innerspace has its soundstage set.

While most of the feature stays spread across the fronts, key car chases pan vehicles through the full span of a 5.1 system. Inside Short’s body, fluids rush overhead. A mall chase and dance club are energetic too. Assists from the LFE come from the ship shrinking in size – it’s an electrical jolt – and the feeling of being inside a body. Hearbeats and exterior action all reverberate on the inside.

Only one scene slips in terms of fidelity which is Kevin McCarthy’s speech inside a meat truck. Dialog suddenly carries a scratchy quality evident nowhere else. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Audio]

A fun commentary reminisces about the production, pulling together Joe Dante, Dennis Muren, producer Michael Finnell, with actors Robert Picardo and Kevin McCarthy. It’s worth a listen, more so since the only other bonus is a trailer. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Extras]

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.


Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.

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