“ Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy - Science Fiction / Theatrical Release: 1966 / Director: Richard Fleischer / Actors: Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch ... / DVD released 09 May, 2005 at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: PAL „
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There have been stories about travelling through TIME. There have been stories about exploring SPACE. But, what about venturing, inside the HUMAN BODY itself? I thought the idea was neat. A feature length adventure, about going through the world that lies beneath our own skin. To actually travel through the regions of the heart, lungs, stomach, veins, etc.
As a toddler, I have seen many parodies of this story. From "Futurama" to "The Magic School Bus". But, this is the original live action version. That took the pages from the book it's based upon, and displayed it in front of our own eyes. I love all things science fiction. With older titles, there's a charm about out-dated special effects. How creative it was, how you could tell how they did it, and thinking to yourself "I could do that". But there were two words that sold this to me - Raquel Welch.
A scientist working behind the iron curtain, posses a secret on the science of permanently miniaturising atoms. When he arrives to safety on American soil he gets shot, causing a blood clot in his brain. Slipping him into a coma. A team of scientists will have to shrink to size, and enter the body and destroy the clot. They will have a limited amount of time before they will begin growing back to size. So, they have to get in and out as quick as possible, without getting attacked by the mysteries and dangers of the human body.
Nothing special out of the actors. Except perhaps, the male performers giving little googly eyes to Rachel ever now and then.
I'm still not strong enough, to watch the entire film in one sitting. If I ever had to pick a movie that would put me to sleep every time, the first one that comes to mind is "Fantastic Voyage". I can't even make it to the part when the micro-ship enters the body. The first 30 minutes is unbearable for me. I can't decide if it was just filler-time, or a long set-up for suspense. They just talk about the mission and the preparations go on for what feels like an eternity. Either way, with nothing to hear but the humming sounds of machines and dead-air, it makes me drowsy.
What bothers me, is that lack of any music. There is none what so ever (well there is but it doesn't help). Did they spend all of their budget on special effects, they couldn't even afford a guy to play around with a tambourine? It's about as vocal as being inside a library or a museum. I do have complements to the creators. The audio effects are strong, but it's also it's weakness. Forget your album of ocean waves and whale songs. This will do the trick, if you need to fall asleep.
By the time we even get the ball rolling, I'm probably already snoring. The only way I could watch this, is if I start right where they enter the blood stream. And, even then that's leaving the remaining time of the film, at around 60 minutes (exactly, the same amount of time they have - that's sort of clever).
The attention to detail is well respected. I like the fact that inside me blood, it looks like a "lava lamp" show. A lot of attention was concentrated on the looks. Which was really the whole point of the film anyway. The visual methods, for it's time is brilliant. The last 30 minutes, is the only thing watchable here.
It's not as "fantastic" looking now, as it was in it's original release. I myself, am against remakes. However, if someone was passionate about it, and tried reinventing it out of the purposes of art and not money. Then I would agree to watch a newer, better, update to this story.
Time hasn't been kind to this movie. For some reason they want to operate on a defecting scientist who has been injured in an assassination attempt (I believe someone says he is able to make the shrinking process last longer than 60 minutes as an off the cuff remark) and the guy their sending doesn't want to go but has to anyway.
The crew is the Navy guy, the doctor who navigates (surely the surgeon could have done that as well negating the need for him?), the surgeon and his assistant to do the operation and the guy for security. He's pointless too, plenty of things get sabotaged and not once does he manage to stop any of them. Then they all decontaminate and board the sub to be shrunk. Actually their shrunk twice and I still don't understand why this process couldn't have been done closer to the operating room.
They are shrunk, then put into a giant syringe (Donald Pleasance has a bout of cabin fever, tries to open the main hatch but it is prevented) and shrunk again. So clearly whatever the floor is made of in that room it's shrink proof. Oh, and the great goof "the ship is powered by a microscopic nuclear particle". Hang on, if the whole ship shrinks, surely that will shrink as well rendering it useless as a power source?
We gloss over the stunningly beautiful Raquel Welch many times who is ignored until shes wearing a skintight wetsuit and no bra. Yes, no bra. It's totally obvious she isn't wearing one and you have to be blind to not notice the scenes where she is definitely bra-less.
I do find it funny that such a high tech sub has to communicate using Morse Code, could they not afford a radio? Even though we are told they have 60 minutes in shrunk mode they never get to use those 60 minutes fully as they are not injected until 4 minutes have passed with them shrunk. Once injected into the body their problems start pretty much right away and they end up going off course due to a medical problem they hadn't previously detected.
They end up having to detour through the heart (but the heart can only be stopped for 60 seconds while they fly through) and also lose air meaning they have to refuel for air in the lungs (another good goof as the air molecules would be to big to fit in their ship) and then have to detour through the ear (I still really don't understand why that happens) and then finally reach the brain and the injury they are there to operate on with only 6 minutes to operate and escape. Donald Pleasance pointless argues and wastes more time doing so then jumps the Navy guy and tries to steal the ship to escape.
I'm not sure if we're supposed to think he's trying to kill the defector or that he's the person who sabotaged everything but he ends up getting killed by white corpuscles and both him & the ship are destroyed. To escape the remaining survivors make their way to the optic nerve and successfully escape. A weird ending as you never know if the operation was a success or not.
I saw this double feature disc on Amazon and simply HAD to rent it. It was such a nostalgia trip! I can remember sitting down as a kid and watching this on TV in the 1970's on a Sunday evening, and remembered how vividly both films captured my imagination.
In Fantastic Voyage (1966), a scientist who knows the secret to keeping people miniaturised indefinitely, escapes from behind the Iron Curtain of the old Soviet Union. The CIA sends an agent to escort him under motorcade to safety, but they are attacked. Unfortunately, the scientist suffers a severe head injury and a blot clot forms inside his brain. the only solution os for a group of American scientists to miniaturise themselves and a submarine, get injected into his bloodstream, remove the clot, and get out before the effects wear off (remember, only this scientist knows how to make the effect indefinite). The CIA agent is sent along to oversee all goes to plan. They race against the clock, encountering many obstacles, including antibodies who mistake them for an infection.
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961) is all about the Seaview and how on its maiden voyage, it must save the world from blowing up. Admiral Nelson is showing off the US Navy's latest new toy, an atomic submarine. On board are several politicians, and while at sea, they all learn the Van Allen belt is heating up and will cause the earth to explode when it hits our world as it burns. The admiral is sent to an international conference to help come up with a quick solution, which is, of course, that he and a group of scientists must take his marvellous new submarine, travel to the depths of the ocean, and fire an atomic missile at the asteroid belt as it enters the atmosphere. One of the scientists disagrees, saying that the belt will burn itself out as it hits the atmosphere, and it causes debate, but the admiral goes back to the sub, and commands her captain to take it to the rendezvous with the asteroid belt. Tensions ensue, with command tensions flaring over the running of the sub, the admiral's abrupt manner inalienating the crew, and even worse, the fate of everyone is in the hands of an unknown shipboard saboteur.
The stories are typical 60's yarns, stretching the implausible to incredible lengths, but the films are well crafted enough that you are able to suspend disbelief and really get into the films I have to also take my hat off to the SFX team, especially for Fantastic voyage. The effects are so skilfully done, they have dated very little. It is a lesson that many should learn; they had smaller budgets back then, but small budget need not mean cheesy effects!
This is a single disc, with both films on the single sided disc. The colours look fresh, and the look is not grainy, so they get a two thumbs up for the care they took in restoring and transferring the old films. Sound too has been updated well, with the sound being available now in Dolby Surround 2.0 or Dolby 4.0 by your own selection from the set up menu. For those who are interested, there is a multilingual subtitle capability (Croatian (on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea only), Czech, Danish, Finnish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, and Turkish), as well as in English for the hearing impaired. The only bonus feature found on the disc is one that may amuse; the two original theatrical trailers for the films are included. Priced at only £5.97, and widely available for rental, this is a title sure to please, and viewable for the entire family.
FANTASTIC VOYAGE was made in 1966 and won an Oscar for its special effects – an Oscar which I believe was well deserved. Although the effects have dated in the sense that they appear to be in a very 1960s psychedelic style, they are still impressive. The storyline has a medical team reduced to the size of microbes, who are given the task of being injected into a human being’s body to cure him of an incurable blood clot on the brain. They have to navigate their way around his body in a nuclear-powered submarine which has also been miniaturised. There is lots of action in the film, and the presence of Raquel Welch in any film makes it more than watchable! Other cast members include Donald Pleasance and Stephen Boyd. The film was novelised by the great science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, and I believe that he also wrote a sequel, which was never filmed, although the basic premise of the film was re-used for the less impressive 1987 movie INNERSPACE, starring Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan.
One of the all-time great sci-fi ideas, this is the film where a team of crack scientists are miniaturised to perform a complex brain operation on a top politician, and have to battle both the unfamiliar alien territory, and the presence of an evil saboteur on board the microsub (later remade as 'Innerspace'). 'Fantastic Voyage' suffers badly from the fact that the hero is Stephen Boyd, an inherently dislikeable actor for being the closet gay villain in 'Ben Hur'. He is crashingly uninteresting, and thus, the heroics lose some of their sting. Moreover, the diaphanous Raquel Welch is required to do nothing more than look stunning (a job she obviously does well), so the lead actors do little but hover in front of SFX. Nevertheless, the reliable support of Donald Pleasance makes up for a lot, while Richard ('The Vikings') Fleischer contributes enormously stylish direction. Moreover, especially if you see it in its original widescreen, it's a spectacular film with attractive visual effects which are obviously dated, but equally retain much of their effectiveness. Huge fun.
A high-ranking diplomat is nearly assassinated and gravely ill. In order to save him, a submarine is shrunk to microscopic size and injected into his blood stream with a small crew.