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Innerspace


Dennis Quaid, Martin Short and Meg Ryan star in this appealing sci-fi comedy, another minor 80s classic from director Joe Dante (Gremlins, Explorers).

Quaid plays Tuck Pendleton, a test pilot taking part in an experimental programme where he (and a specially designed submarine thing) will be shrunk down to microscopic size and injected into a living person. But when it all goes wrong thanks to some bad guys, he is accidentally injected into a meek hypochondriac named Jack Putter (Short).

Now Jack (with Tuck's help from the inside) must take on the bad guys if he is to save Tuck (and himself) before it's too late. And a whole bunch of other stuff happens.

Innerspace is a heck of a lot of fun and features very impressive (Oscar-winning) special effects in its portrayal of Tuck's adventures inside Jack's body. Short is a sufficiently gifted physical comedian to make Jack's plight a good source of humour and as usual Dante utilises memorable genre stalwarts for the supporting characters.

Dante has made a habit out of employing veterans of classic sci-fi like Dick Miller (The Terror, Gremlins) and Kevin McCarthy (Invasion of the Body Snatchers) and Innerspace also features cameos from the likes of Warner Bros. animation legend Chuck Jones and Dante perennial Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager, Explorers).

The film is one of the last of a series of nice 80s fantasy films produced (but not directed) by Steven Spielberg, a run which includes such gems as Gremlins (also directed by Dante); The Goonies, Young Sherlock Holmes and Back to the Future. Such mid-level sci-fi comedies are rare these days and Innerspace possesses a sense of fun and ingenuity sorely lacking in today's fantasy pics. It's an effective sample of what is arguably now a bygone cinematic era and feels very "80s". Which is a good thing.

In recommending Innerspace, one must acknowledge the influence of the 1966 sci-fi classic Fantastic Voyage, which clearly inspired the film. In the earlier pic, a group of scientists (including, er, Raquel Welch) are shrunk down in injected into the body of a dying man in an effort to save him.

 


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