HTF REVIEW: "Innerspace" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Jun 27, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein


    Studio: Warner Brothers
    Year: 1987
    Rated: PG
    Film Length: 120 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)

    An Adventure of Incredible Proportions
    I seem to be saying this often about the crop
    of recent Warner products, but these releases
    over the next few week represent the core of
    very popular titles that fans have been patiently
    awaiting to be released over the past few years.
    Innerspace ranks up there amongst the
    most highly request as it remains one of the
    funniest and innovative thrill ride movies ever.
    Lieutenant Tuck Pendleton (Dennis Quaid) is a
    hot-shot test pilot. He could have been something
    big, but he's the type that can't follow the
    rules or directions. Half the time he's getting
    in trouble as a result of his drinking problems.
    It's a wonder how a person like Tuck was chosen
    to lead a very high classified experiment at
    VectorScope Laboratories, a lab on the brink
    of Miniaturization. The plan of the experiment is
    to shrink a submersible pod down and inject it
    into a bunny to see if the pod can make audio
    and visual contact with the host organism.
    The miniaturization is completed and Tuck's
    pod is waiting in a syringe to be injected into
    the bunny. At that very moment, security is
    breached and a team of terrorists burst in, bent
    on stealing the technology for themselves. This
    leaves head scientist, Ozzie, running for his
    life with syringe in hand.
    Enter Jack Putter(Martin Short), a mild-mannered
    SafeWay clerk who suffers from just about every
    phobia imaginable. Jack's doctor insists he
    take a vacation and avoid excitement. As Jack
    finishes booking a relaxing cruise inside a mall,
    he meets up with the fleeing scientist and is
    injected with the syringe that contains the
    miniaturized Tucker and the pod.
    And this is just the beginning...
    From hereon in, Innerspace becomes a
    Fantastic Voyage with Tucker floating
    through Jack's very nervous innards. As they
    both escape the clutches of the terrorists that
    are after them, Jack and Tuck take off and find
    Lydia (Meg Ryan), Tuck's ex-girlfriend. Lydia is
    a reporter and has been following a Western
    technology dealer called "The Cowboy", who has
    come to the U.S. for the miniaturization tech.
    Innerspace boasts top-of-the-line special
    effects (for its time), a zippy plot that hardly
    ever falters, and enough physical and verbal
    comedy to keep you laughing throughout.
    How is the transfer?
    You will be very happy to know that this highly
    requested title looks pretty damn good on DVD.
    That's the GOOD news. Picture is very clean and
    clear with no blemish. The colors peak through
    very well. Looking at my notes, I made several
    references to the mall chase where the colors of
    the animal costumes and clown suit came across
    vividly. Even the red-headed lady at the cash
    register never looked..uhm...more colorful than
    she does here. The flesh tones also look very
    natural. The day lit scenes look superbly clean,
    but as the film goes into darker interior scenes
    as well as those inside Jack's body, we are
    introduced to the lowest levels of video noise
    that don't become overly distracting. The only
    scene that has questionable noise is where Jack
    is in his doctor's office being examined.
    I did mention GOOD NEWS. Now for the BAD NEWS.
    While the picture transfer is very good, the
    5.1 Digital track is lackluster as far as rear
    effects go.
    In a movie like this, you would hope that the
    audio experience would be as strong as the visual.
    While the front channels are very strong and full
    of wonderful bass, it is the rears that never seem
    to come alive. Any scene that involved any crowd
    noise (such as in the mall) had no sense of
    surrounding ambience. Even inside the human body,
    there was no sound supplementing the rears. I
    actually had to get up out of my couch and put
    my ears to the surround speakers. At that point
    I could hear the faintest sounds being sent to it.
    Were the rear tracks mixed too low? Was there no
    rear channel information in the original mix?
    Thank goodness the front channels handle this
    movie wonderfully, with some surprising effort
    by the LFE channel that delivered some strong
    booms once the pod was inside Jack. From the
    low-end hums of the pod to the thumping beats of
    Jack's heart, the subwoofer captured all of it
    quite well.
    Special Features
    Warner didn't pack this DVD with any visual
    extras that would interest those of us who are
    interested in how the effects work was done.
    Wasn't there any material available?!
    What we do have is a full-length commentary
    by Director Joe Dante, Producer Michael Finnell,
    Co-Stars Kevin McCarthy and Robert Picardo and
    Visual Effects Supervisor Dennis Muren.
    Through the commentary, we learn that Innerspace
    was a title everyone was looking to dump. Not
    thinking of anything better, the title stuck.
    Promoted as a shrunken Dean Martin being injected
    into Jerry Lewis, the film was pitched to Warner
    Brothers. Once we go into the lab, the commentary
    makes a lot of jokes about some of the primitive
    technology that was used in the film. Effects
    Supervisor Dennis Muren used rubber life saver
    type discs to represent the blood cells in Jack's
    body. The footage looked so good that critic
    Roger Ebert thought the film was using actual
    medical footage. A medical supervisor was brought
    on board, however, to make sure what was being
    represented was legitimate. A "helmet cam"
    was created for Martin Short to film the scenes
    that were shown on the pod's video monitor out
    of his eyes. In all, this is a very lively, fun
    commentary by the core creative team involved in
    the film.
    A cast & crew filmography gives selected
    film highlights of all the principal actors as
    well as Screenwriter Jeffrey Boam and Director
    Joe Dante.
    One entire screen is dedicated to the 1988
    Award that the film won.
    Finally, the film's original theatrical
    trailer, containing the indistinguishable
    "Goonies" music is included.
    Final Thoughts
    "Take a shot of adventure", insists the trailer
    for this film....and a shot of adventure it is!
    Innerspace remains to this day a clever,
    cute and engaging film thanks to Director Joe
    Dante (Gremlins) who an instinct for slapstick
    Though I had wished that the DVDs 5.1 audio
    would have lived up to the quality of the video
    transfer, I am thankful that the DVD looks this
    It's a definite purchase!
    Release Date: July 9th, 2002
  2. Todd_Michael_R

    Todd_Michael_R Stunt Coordinator

    Feb 21, 2002
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    Thanks for the nice review Ron. Will be picking this one up for sure when it streets.
  3. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

    Aug 3, 2001
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  4. Greg S

    Greg S Supporting Actor

    Mar 13, 2000
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    Hot d**n I love this flick!!

    Wow the list of DVDs to p/u this year is getting MUCH LONGER!!

    Thanks Ron

  5. MichaelG

    MichaelG Second Unit

    Jul 10, 2000
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    Where have I been, didn't even know that this was being released, very cool.
  6. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

    Feb 16, 2001
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    Albany, NY
    Personally, I could never make it through this film, just not my cup of tea. But I'm glad a great disc is coming out for the film's fans, and thanks for another great review.
  7. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

    Oct 31, 1997
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    Two words: Guilty Pleasure
    I saw this growing up (was it in Jr High or High School?) and absolutely loved it. When it made its way onto HBO I watched it for an entire summer. I will be picking this one up on release date.
    As far as the sound, I don't remember this being a particularly dynamic soundtrack (I don't know what the budget was for this film). I looked on IMDB and the LD was only Dolby Surround, and there's no mention of if that was the original format or one created from a stereo soundtrack. It won't bother me too much, though.
  8. MikeEckman

    MikeEckman Screenwriter

    Jan 11, 2001
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    Great movie, great transfer, okay audio, great price....its mine! [​IMG]
  9. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

    Jan 18, 1999
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    Oh my, I've been waiting for this one. Not only was it the movie I watched on my very first (ever) date, it was also my first, and only, widescreen VHS tape I owned, and hence my introduction to OAR.
    And yes, it's a guilty pleasure too. [​IMG]
  10. Kenneth Cummings

    Kenneth Cummings Supporting Actor

    Aug 7, 2001
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    Sounds good to me, but strange enough, I never seem this movie before, but from the sounds of it, I going to get it.
  11. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

    Jun 11, 1999
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    Great review, Ron!

    A definite purchase for me as the LD was lousy.

    Sounds like WB used a 4.0 discrete pre-Dolby encoded printmaster and sweetened the bass for the LFE track.

    Also, when you list aspect ratios for Warner Brothers films, 99.99% of their 1.85:1 ratio films have been either side cropped (for hard matted negatives), or the mattes have been opened up (for soft matted negatives) to HDTV's 1.78:1 ratio. I have no idea why they do this as many other studios still present 1.85:1 films as 1.85:1.

    You might want to note that in your specs.

  12. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

    May 16, 2001
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    Georgia (the state)
    Real Name:
    Patrick McCart
  13. Paul_D

    Paul_D Cinematographer

    Jul 28, 2001
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  14. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

    Apr 25, 2000
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    London, England
    Real Name:
    Steve Christou
    Love this film, a must buy for me, deservedly won the Oscar for visual effects, also love Jerry Goldsmith's theme for The Cowboy.
    The Cowboy: "Have you seen Outlaw Yosey Vales? aah what a flick!" [​IMG]
    ps. I hope Joe Dante's Explorers gets a special DVD release, fantastic little movie, with a superb Goldsmith score.
  15. Sean Moon

    Sean Moon Cinematographer

    Jan 25, 2001
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    Great review, didnt even know it was coming out this summer. Looks like July 9th-August 6th will be an expensive month for me.

    Now only if they used some good box art on this release. It just seems that most studios are destroying all good poster art from the 80's. (This, Real Genius, etc)
  16. David Tolsky

    David Tolsky Supporting Actor

    Sep 3, 1999
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    Just as a side note, the "actor" who plays 'Ozzie' is really a cinematographer. John Hora was supposed to shoot this movie but for one reason or another, was not available. Those who follow the movies of Joe Dante may be familiar with Hora, who has shot several movies for Dante, including Gremlins, Gremlins II, Explorers, Matinee, and others. So anyway, Dante was determined to use John Hora in some capacity and thus, he fit the bill as Ozzie, the eccentric professor. Just a tidbit of information [​IMG]
  17. Joseph J.D

    Joseph J.D Cinematographer

    Dec 4, 2001
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    Can't say I like the cover art. Kind of looks like a cheesy old comicbook cover to me. However, I love this film and will have it in my hands soon as it's released.[​IMG]
  18. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

    Aug 6, 2001
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    Northern Virginia
    Real Name:
    Chuck Mayer
    Bad cover, great movie, great review. Certain first day purchase!!!

    Take care,
  19. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

    Oct 3, 2000
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    Hey, you know Ron likes a movie when he makes time to listen to the commentary! [​IMG]
    Thanks for the sneak peek, Ron! I am one of those "children of the 80's" who has been anticipating this DVD for quite some time.
    Can't wait to spin it!
  20. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

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