Innerspace Blu-ray Review
Another Fantastic Voyage
Joe Dante's fantastic sci-fi action comedy thriller Innerspace is a timeless classic that sits alongside other 80s gems like Back to the Future.Taking its cues from Fantastic Voyage, Innerspace installs the miniaturisation concept in a thriller structure brimming with some great dialogue and some fantastic physical comedy. Transcending its 80s effects (that are surprisingly good on the miniaturisation front) and benefiting from some decent practical stunts (but poor back projection), it tears through an exciting, surprisingly epic runtime and perfectly balances the sci-fi action / comedy elements, with plenty of thrills and even a little romance thrown into the mix. Dennis Quaid's cocky ex-pilot Tuck Pendleton follows Cruise's Top Gun formula but has a much-needed lighter edge, whilst Martin Short's Jack Putter does the hard work as the neurotic, accident-prone comedy foil who Tuck gets inadvertently injected into.With The Road Warrior's Vernon Wells on hand for excellent villain duties, and Meg Ryan, fresh from Top Gun herself, as Tuck's drop dead gorgeous ex-girlfriend, the result is pure magic. Joe Dante brings his darker Gremlins sensibilities to the fore (particularly with some of the effects), but Spielberg's production oversight sees the tense-but-fun tone maintained throughout, assisted to no end by a great futuristic score by Jerry Goldsmith, which predates Total Recall but has exactly the same vibe. As with Back to the Future, and a few other sci-fi action comedy entries from the era, they really struggle to make films which manage to pull off this kind of balance these days (perhaps Liman's Edge of Tomorrow), and it remains a rare gem and an absolute all-time classic.
Picture QualityInnerspace finally reaches UK shores almost two years after its Stateside release, with Warner delivering what looks to be the exact same Region Free disc, only housed in a Steelbook release, exclusive to Zavvi. The 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation is thankfully still tremendous, having been remastered under the supervision of Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment and with the blessing of director Joe Dante, who approved of the work put in to clean it up.
Detail is largely excellent - the film arguably hasn't ever looked this good before, with the technology hard at work to polish up the print and remove all signs of damage and defects, whilst retaining a suitably filmic texture courtesy of a fine layer of natural grain which never intrudes upon the clarity. There is a hint of softness - of that slightly over-DNR'd look that affects some of the faces in close-up, but it's a fleeting effect that barely registers across the runtime.
The remastered presentation of this classic film is tremendous
The colour scheme is broad and rich, picking up the gloomy, shadow-ridden passages through the body, beaming with blood red and bristling with organic intensity. Indeed the miniaturisation sequences are amidst the most impressive on this remaster; the effects standing up even after all this time. Black levels are strong, and overall it's a fantastic looking presentation for this 30 year old film, demo through and through, and just shy of reference.
Sound QualityThe accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is also an impressive piece, bustling with intensity during the inner sequences, and thrumming with some classic tracks - lots of Sam Cooke - on the outside.
Dialogue remains firmly prioritised across the frontal array, clearly and coherently disseminated throughout, whilst the fantastic steel-driven score by Jerry Goldsmith really drives the pace, the action, the more tense sequences, the darker twists, and even the comedy, given excellent coverage across the surrounds.
This is undoubtedly the best the film has ever sounded
Effects lap up the supermarket environment; the bustling pod interface lab; the chaotic car chases; and, of course, the excellent inner voyages, where even the LFE gets to kick into action, bringing the pounding valves of the heart or the gurgling stomach acid to life with magnified presence. A slew of great rock tracks further pepper the feature, also giving the surrounds plenty to do, and, considering the vintage of the audio, it's surprising they turn it into quite the demo affair - it certainly seems like the best it's ever sounded before.
ExtrasSince this looks to be the exact same release as the US got a couple of years ago - albeit in new packaging - we get the same couple of extras here. There's a group Audio Commentary led by director Joe Dante who is supported by producer Michael Finnell, visual effects supervisor Dennis Muren and actor Kevin McCarthy. It's an engaging, informative affair, with enough players to balance out the technical and the anecdotal. Other than that all we get is the original Theatrical Trailer.
The steelbook is a nice design
Zavvi's exclusive steelbook is a nice matte design release which boasts some decent original poster artwork on both the front and back covers, maintaining the 80s poster vibe and even the colour tones (as seen in the actual poster below). The downside is that the inked artwork of the original poster didn't quite have the right palette, which, for example, meant that Meg Ryan's pale makeup and lipstick/smile made her look dangerously close to The Joker. On the steelbook release, that's only exacerbated. Still, it's a nice release with some strong artwork which doesn't try and do some kind of pop art retro icon nonsense, and sticks to the original, great artwork to good effect.
Blu-ray VerdictAn absolute all-time classic
Celebrating its 30th Anniversary, Innerspace finally reaches UK shores in a nice Zavvi-exclusive Steelbook package, complete with excellent, remastered video and a strong audio track, as well as a Commentary to provide some input on the extras front. Fans should consider this a worthy release; a veritable must-have for the collection.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £15.99
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