Exclaim!

Fantastic Voyage

Richard Fleischer

Fantastic Voyage
Time has not been kind to Fantastic Voyage, the state-of-the-art FX spectacle from 1966. Though one can appreciate the enormous effort that went into its production, one has to admit that it all seems pretty cornball now. A defecting scientist with the secrets to miniaturisation has been gravely injured and so a submarine must be shrunk to microscopic size in order to remove the blood clot in his brain. Unfortunately, the crew of said submarine are populated by the square-jawed likes of Stephen Boyd, and while Donald Pleasance has a good time as the atheistic villain, the rest of the cast (including Raquel Welch in her first major role) are either too bland or engage in lame jokes that only underline the film’s stiffness. All this I could forgive if the film had some strong design elements once inside the body but everything looks remarkably like Mylar or air bubbles, lacking the ability to inspire awe. As Pauline Kael noted, it shows that "the human body is no more mysterious than a trip through Disneyland.” There are, of course, people for whom the-body-as-Disneyland sounds like a fine old time at the movies, and for such folks I can’t recommend this movie fast enough. For the rest, a mediocre time is all but guaranteed. Nifty credit sequence though. Extras include an excellent, thorough commentary by film writer Jeff Bond, an isolated score track with another outstanding commentary by Bond, Jon Burlingame and Nick Redman, a good featurette on the special effects, an interactive look at the props, a storyboard-to-screen comparison of the whirlpool sequence, still galleries and some trailers and TV spots. (Fox)
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