HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Blast From the Past
HTS Overall Score:77
What ever happened to Brendan Fraser? During the 90’s and a bit of 2000 he was a big name. He made all three “Mummy” movies, he was in this one, “Dudley-Do Right”, “Bedazzled” (an under rated gem) and then suddenly “poof”! He vanished from sight. I guess the last “Mummy” movie really tanked his career, as everything he’s been in has been straight to video or as voice work. I’m actually rather saddened by this, because I found him a rather charming actor. He was good looking (and I mean GOOOOOOD looking), a good dancer, a reasonable action star and certainly has shown some acting chops in his recent works. However, Hollywood is a fickle mistress and he’s been relegated to the dregs with some other great actors. “Blast From the Past” has to be one of my favorite Fraser movies, and actually one of my favorite Rom Com’s of all time. It’s goofy, it’s cheesy, but it’s sweet and has a lot of heart. Especially when you add in the fantastic Christophe Walken and Sissy Spacek.
It’s 1961 and the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Tensions are high, and while most people are nervous about the issue, none more nervous (or shall we say slightly looney) than Calvin Webber (Christopher Walken). Convinced that America and the communists are going to go to full out war after Kennedy makes his famous press release, he shoos his pregnant wife and himself down into the fallout shelter he’s built. Low and behold, an American fighter jet accidentally loses control and slams down into the Webber’s yard just as they get into the fallout shelter. Believing that a nuclear device has detonated, Calvin locks the doors with a 35 year timer and prays that when the timed lock unlatches, the radiation will have dissipated and they can come back to the surface.
Fast forward through the years and Mrs. Webber has given birth to a boy they call Adam (Brendan Fraser), and do their best to raise him right (in that old fashioned 60’s sort of way). 35 years finally pass and the doors unlock for this post nuclear family. Terrified at what’s out there, they poke their heads out and are unfortunately now located in a slummy part of the California valley. Doing the whole groundhog thing, they duck back under and prepare to isolate themselves again. The only problem is that they need food and supplies since 35 years takes a toll on the rations. Adam volunteers to go up and get food and supplies and promises to be back within 2 weeks.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=50425[/img]It doesn’t take a whole lot of intelligence to realize that Adam is going to be a fish out of water. He may look the age of someone who grew up through the 70’s, 80’s and into the 90’s, but he’s still mentally in the 1960’s due to their isolation. Stumbling through a pawn shop in order to sell some old 1960’s baseball cards that are worth a fortune, a young girl name Eve (Alicia Silverstone) keeps the naïve fellow from getting scammed by the sneaky pawn shop owner. This snowballs into her basically becoming his “guardian” while Adam gets enough supplies to last another few decades underground. Soon enough sparks start to shoot as Adam instantly falls for Eve, while Eve turns him down as quick as possible. She’s pretty much the polar opposite of Adam. While he is perfect gentleman thanks to his upbringing, she’s the girl who falls for the hunky guys with no depth to them and knows that she’s damaged goods. Not wanting to hurt Adam, she pushes him away, but sometimes love just comes through on its own.
While the Rom Com genre is rife with funny movies, “Blast From the Past” takes on a different take as it shows the polar opposites that the past and future bring, and at the same time shows that “the good old days” aren’t exactly all they’re cracked up to be. Right off the bat we see that Adam is kind, sweet and innocent, while Eve is the jaded youth of today. She’s slept around, dated the morons and can’t seem to accept real devotion and kindness. At the same time, while Adam is all of those things, there is a sense of childishness to his actions, exemplifying the point that “the olden days” were more a childish remembrance rather than a reality. Adam has to grow up and actually be an adult which is where the two are able to meet in the middle. Sometimes the goofy humor will have some lines that make you wince, but overall it’s laugh out loud funny and BLAST to watch.
Acting wise, the movie is nearly spot on. Christopher Walken and Sissy Spacek are spot on perfect for the elderly Webber Couple. Sissy is great at playing the older mother, and as for the eccentric scientist? No one plays eccentric better than Christopher Walken. He just oozes awkward nerd. Brendan Fraser is great as the loveable Adam. He can look goofy, he can look stupid, and he can look goooooooooooooooooood when dressed up (boy that guy is tall). He charms everyone in the movie as well as the audience and the only downside he had was playing across from Alicia Silverstone. I agree that Silverstone was a beautiful girl (back before she went bat nuts crazy later in life), but boy that girl cannot act for the life of me. She’s really the only weak character in the movie. Even her gay roommate, Troy (Dave Foley) emotes better than her, and he’s not even in it THAT much, and Joey Slotnick as the crazed Soda counter monkey who’s done a bit too many drugs outclasses her (and by the way, he’s one of the funniest small bits in the entire film).
Rated PG-13 for brief language, sex and drug references
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=50433[/img]Coming from New Line Cinema (who’s now defunct unfortunately), WB uses the same master that was created for the 2004 DVD and spruces it up a bit with a nice 1080p encode. Luckily for us the use of an older master isn’t a horrible thing as the source seems to have held up well and shows limited DNR and VERY mild edge enhancement as its worst flaw. Colors are warm and bright, and detail is mostly fantastic. There’s a bit of softness to the image, but it’s not a whole lot, although on some quick pans I noticed a little bit of blurring. Still, black levels remain great and the crisp California landscape makes for some great outdoor shots, especially when Adam goes to the beach to go rollerblading (I miss my roller blades). The disc itself seems relatively free of any problems with a solid bitrate in the mid 20’s and no sign of blocking or banding anywhere in sight. The above mentioned aliasing and DNR (minor as they may be) appear to be baked into the master rather than an encoding issue.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=50441[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA English track slapped on the disc is absolutely FANTASTIC. The opening credits of the movie starts with an atomic bomb dropping in the background and the resulting explosion is pant flapping in its ferocity, utilizing not only the mains and the sub, but the full surround system as well. Dialog is locked up front like you’d expect and the mains show some nice imaging. I was really surprised that a Rom Com showed such intensity and immersiveness, but “Blast From the Past” does a great job at keeping all channels active at all times where possible. The swing dance off with Adam and the 2 girls is perfect for filling up those channels and there’s more than enough low end to really cause the listener to jump. Slamming metal doors, exploding planes, and even a few car crashed add some excellent thump to the experience.
• Theatrical Trailer
“Blast From the Past” is not a perfect movie. I will fully admit that, but it is still one of my favorite Rom Com’s of all time. Brendan Fraser’s charm and the lighthearted, goofy air to the movie is kept well balanced with all of the little serious winks and nods to the characters and their hang-ups. I giggled hysterically throughout the entire 2 hour run time and while I do wince at a couple of lines, I have to say that it holds up just as well as it did in 1999. Well, that and I felt like it WAS a blast from the past to hear all the songs I used to listen to back in college playing for the whole score. The video is great, the audio is amazing and while there are no real extras besides a trailer, the price is JUST right. Even on release day it's under $10, which is hard to pass up. Highly recommended.
Starring: Brendan Fraser, Alicia Silverstone, Christopher Walken
Directed by: Hugh Wilson
Written by: Bill Kelly
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese DD 2.0
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 112 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: August 4th 2015
Buy Blast From the Past On Blu-ray at Amazon
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