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Innerspace (Blu-ray Review)

InnerspaceWhen the e-mail for Innerspace came across my e-mail, I got pretty excited.  This is a film I hadn’t revisited since the 80s (Maybe early 90s).  Its one I remember liking quite a bit.  I believe ABC used to run this as their Sunday Night Movie for a couple years straight.  I remember really enjoying it, liking all the characters quite a bit, and finding fun in this unique adventure.  Then there was the journey through the human body ride/thing at Disney’s Epcot Center that used to make me feel like I was Dennis Quaid in Innerspace.  So, the question is, how would this film hold up now, after really truly having never seen this movie since childhood and my memories on exact details being kinda foggy.

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Film 

The voice Jack hears is that of hotshot Navy pilot Tuck Pendleton, subject of a secret miniaturization project gone awry and accidentally injected into Jack. And before frazzled Jack can say, “I’ve got you under my skin”, his unlikely partner propels him into the craziest escapade of his life.

Revisiting Innerspace did bring in a sense of nostalgia.  And not just for the movie, but in that whole Amblin Entertainment/Spielberg look and vibe that we got a lot of in the 1980s.  A film didn’t have to be directed by Steven Spielberg to have it, the many films he oversaw or produced back then carried it too.

This was another collaboration between director Joe Dante and Steven Spielberg.  And what I like in their cinematic marriage here is that he’s able to deliver on Spielbergs nicks and knacks, yet through and through makes a Joe Dante film.  Dante has a goofy sensibility and sense of humor very unique and fun to his films and here in Innerspace it comes through just as it would in any other.

Someone who totally gels with Dante in this film is Martin Short.  Short is able to deliver enough on the dramatic goods, but also kill it when the film needs him to be strange and slapsticky.  In this film he comes off as kind of a Muppet version of Dustin Hoffman.  Dennis Quaid is fine here being the emotional center and really just getting to sit in a chair the whole film.  Meg Ryan is good in a role that impressively enough is more than just a stock love interest (Though there’s plenty of that too).  And it wouldn’t be a Joe Dante film is I didn’t mention that the legend, Dick Miller, shows up in this film for a short spot.

When I was younger, I was more wow’d by the adventure and the effects of the film.  The latter, still holds up quite nicely in my opinion.  But, now, I see that this film is first and foremost a comedy.  And I think its still pretty enjoyable on that front.  Martin Short and Quaid have some good chemistry even if they aren’t sharing the screen ever.  Short, however, is able to kill it with his comedy and Dante is able to tell this story with so much charm that its hard to not like this silly sci-fi comedy/adventure.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1o80p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  Innerspace looks very impressive on Blu-ray.  I feel like this title could have been some quick, care-free job, but either the print looked amazing and transferred astonishingly well or care was pout into this release.  Nonetheless, detail and sharpness is pretty impressive for this movie and I was not expecting it.

Depth:  Depth is pretty solid.  The scenes inside the body with the pod look very nice.  Movement is cinematic, with background imagery detail as good as focus will allow.

Black Levels: Blacks are pretty nice and accurate.  No real crushing or detail lost to report.

Color Reproduction:  Reds stick out pretty good.  Mostly the colors are tamed and have a very natural look to them.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and consistent.  Close ups reveal plenty of facial detail, like wrinkles, make up, blemishes and the like.

Noise/Artifacts:  There is a nice layer of grain and very very minimal specs throughout.  The print used for the transfer is in good condition.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 2.0 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Castilian) 2.0 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Latin) 2.0 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics:  Innerspace’s 5.1 track doesn’t achieve greatness, but it is well above average and does more than just get the job done.  Everything sounds pretty fine and distinct in this mix with a terrific balance and looseness in the mix with the sound effects, vocals and score/music at all times in the film.

Low Frequency Extension: The sub does get some solid usage, but its nothing incredibly booming per se.  It does add to some of the action and music in the film.

Surround Sound Presentation:  There are some fun moments here in the rear speakers, but the main task at hand is ambiance.  The front channels accurately display the movement and volume placement of action on screen.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is clean, clear and at an ideal volume in the mix.

Extras 

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Joe Dante, Producer Michael Finnell, Costars Kevin McCarthy and Robert Picardo, and Visual Effects Supervisor Dennis Muren

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:30)

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Summary 

It was great to revisit Joe Dante’s Innerspace.  There’s really not too much like it and I was surprised at how this film still held up and was a lot fun.  This Blu-ray isn’t loaded with features or anything, but it does include a commentary that has a full roster of people involved with different aspects of the film.  Couple that up with a really good presentation of the film, and you have yourself a nice at a great price point.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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