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Title: Innerspace

Movie: :3stars:
Video: :3.5stars:
Audio: :3stars:
Extras: :2stars:

HTS Overall Score:65

I feel like I’m the odd man out in the universe. “Innerspace” came out in 1987 with fantastic reviews, and has become a near cult classic in today’s more “modern” days. It had Dennis Quaid riding at his peak, Meg Ryan with all her poofy hair and Martin Short when he was America’s comic darling. What’s not to love? Back in the early 90s when I caught it on television I really enjoyed the whack sci-fi adventure, but as I got older I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I used to (or as much as everyone else seemed to be. Viewing it a decade since my last viewing hasn’t really changed my opinion, as I feel the blending of sci-fi, James Bond action, and Martin Short style humor just really doesn’t mesh well and creates an uneven product.

Tuck Pendleton (Dennis Quaid) is on the outs with his girlfriend, Lydia (Meg Ryan), just as he’s on the verge of going undercover for a top secret mission. His goal, be the guinea pig for a group of scientists who are using the Lt. as a test subject for miniaturization and insertion into a live animal. Literally the size of a speck, he’s supposed to be the next breakthrough in medical science, allowing for all sorts of applications to be brought to the front of science. His mission is a success. At least partially, as he’s injected into subject. The only problem is, the subject is injected purely by chance, and is in the form of hypochondriac assistant Safeway Manager, Jack Putter (Martin Short). It seems that miniaturization is a hot commodity and an evil business named Scrimshaw (Kevin McCarthy) has sent his henchmen after the technology. One of the scientists barely escapes with the syringe that houses the already shrunk Lt. Pendleton and manages to inject the serum, and Tuck, into the unlucky Jack Putter.

Putter and Pendleton are now united in mind, as Tuck’s machine can communicate through Jack’s senses. With Scrimshaw after them they have to figure out how to get Tuck out before he runs out of oxygen, as well as staying away from the businessman and his goons, and of course staying alive. Not wanting to reveal his project any further, Tuck advises Jack to not tell anyone, even Lydia, as they beg and cajole her into helping them get the tech that will allow them to unshrink the pilot and his craft. Throw into the mix a Hispanic cowboy (played to perfection by the amazing Robert Picardo), a sleazy Safeway assistant cashier, and Martin Short’s familiar brand of physical comedy and you have one bumpy ride.

I shan’t say that “Innerspace” is unlikeable, as that’s clearly not the case. I wouldn’t rate it 3/5 stars if I didn’t like it, but rather I feel that it’s a bit uneven with its tone and pacing. When it’s good, it’s really good, but there are large portions of the movie that just don’t feel right. The movie starts out feeling all sci-fi and mystery, but once Martin Short enters the picture with his over active hypochondriac imagination, the movie twists into a drastically different direction. If they had kept it a pure comedy I could have taken it a lot better as the comedy is fantastic. Quaid is good as the straightman, and Meg Ryan is just plain adorable, earning her role as one of America’s sweethearts of the 80s and 90s. Martin Short and Robert Picardo steal the show though, as Martin hams it up as the overly physical slapstick comedian that he is and Picardo playing the best character of the movie. Named simple, “The Cowboy”. I can’t say enough good things about Picardo, as the character actor really knows how to play it calm and collected one minute and then zany as all get out the next.

It's not hard to see why "Innerspace" won the award for best visual affects in a film that year. the effects are top notch and even hold up rather well today. The fight between the "Bond Villain", as I like to call him, and Lt. Pendleton is well done, and the motions of the mechanical craft don't look bad at all, and this is in 2015. the car chases are well choreographed and the shrinking tech looks phenomenal. I have to say that had they stuck to an all spy/sci-fi movie, or all comedy I might have enjoyed "Innerspace" a bit more, but it's still a classic for a reason, and the Martin Short's frenetic, gangly humor is just as funny today as it was almost 30 years ago.


Rated PG: Parental Guidance Recommended

Video :4stars:
Being that Paramount has just handed these transfers over to WB to encode, the end result isn’t wildly fantastic, but it is certainly a nice uptick from the old 2000 era DVD that I used to have. Colors are much more saturated and there is plenty of fine detail to go around. Some softness is present, and there were a few times that I felt the picture got a bit blurry, but other than that it looks rather nice. Black levels are very satisfactory and show some nice shadow detail. Not much crush is present and the disc itself seems to be free of artifacts from compression. Only once or twice did I really notice any print damage or speckles, and those were fleeting. For a catalog title it isn’t going to blow you away, as the use of an older master is quite apparent, but the results are mainly satisfying.

Audio :3stars:
The 5.1 DTS-HD Ma track is about on par with the video encode, with some pleasantries, but also one weird anomaly. Dialog is strong and clean, locked up front in the center track and well defined. Vocals are crisp and show no problems with balance, although the mix IS a tad front heavy. Surround get used when needed, and there’s more than enough ambient noise to keep them busy when called upon. Gunshots shift across the sound stage, and the screech of tires during the chase comes from all directions. LFE is tight and carries some when needed, but isn’t really a mainstay of the track. The ONE anomaly that really stood out is a crackling, scratching distortion that comes and goes throughout the track, particularly when people speak and go up to those higher octaves. I thought I had a speaker problem at first, because it emulates the sound of a blown tweeter, but it’s replicated at the same spots and on all three of my sound systems, each one identical. I would like to say that it’s fairly innocuous, but unfortunately it’s rather noticeable whenever the distortion rears its ugly head.

EDIT: After collaborating with several other people we have figured out that the odd distortion I was hearing is rather player dependent. All 3 of my players are Sony and show the distortion, yet a panasonic that I have, and my buddies Samsung don't have the issue. So while I still heard it, and it is most certainly an issue, not everyone will have that same issue.

Extras :2stars:

• Theatrical Trailer
• Commentary With Cast and Crew

Overall: :3stars:

“Innerspace” is very much a relic of its time. I remember enjoying it a lot when I was a kid, but subsequent viewings decades later have not been as kind to the old 87 film. Quaid is great doing his thing, but the mixture of James Bond meets slapstick humor, meets sci-fi thriller just doesn’t gel very well. The video is good, and the audio a tad disappointing so I would say this one is definitely for the fans of the movie. A definite upgrade form the DVD, but not something I’d recommend as a blind buy unless you REALLY love the 80s

Additional Information:

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan, Martin Short, Robert Picardo
Directed by: Joe Dante
Written by: Chip Proser, Jeffrey Boam
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Thai DD 2.0
Studio: Warner Brothers
Rated: PG
Runtime: 120 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: August 4th 2015

Buy Innerspace On Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Rental

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