Dennis Quaid (Breaking Away) is a test pilot working on an experiment in which he would be miniaturized and injected into a laboratory animal. However, everything goes wrong when a group of saboteurs interfere with the experiment and he winds up inside the body of a grocery store clerk, played by Martin Short (Three Amigos).
Reaction & Thoughts:
After building up an impressive resume as a director, during the 1980s Steven Spielberg developed a lot of very successful projects in which he acted only as a producer. Innerspace is one of those films he would have directed himself had he not been striving for some respectability as a serious filmmaker at the time. Spielberg handed the reins of the film to director Joe Dante (a hot commodity after the enormous success of Gremlins, which by the way was also produced by Spielberg), and the result is a delightful and energetic movie, played to the hilt by a wonderful cast.
I have always been a big fan of director Dante. His films are consistently fun, and despite his almost reverential approach to genre films, the fact that all of his movies are filled with awesome references to old favorites always makes me very happy.
For example, in Dante’s 1981 cult horror classic The Howling, most of the main characters are named after famous horror movie directors. Piranha and Gremlins (with cameos by Steven Spielberg and Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet) follow his unique formula to the tee, always providing giggles along with chills for those viewers that are able to recognize slightly hidden tributes to other movies.
Innerspace doesn’t bare much scrutiny, with a lot of things that simply don’t make much sense, but the movie, written by Jeffrey Boam (The Lost Boys) and Chip Proser (Iceman), contains one amusing sequence after another, done at a breakneck pace, with dazzling (for ’80s), Oscar-winning visual effects provided by Industrial Light and Magic, George Lucas’s special effects company.
The actors are in top from. Martin Short is a force of nature (this is perhaps his best film role). Dennis Quaid is an appealing screen hero. Meg Ryan (When Harry Met Sally) is more than average as Quaid’s love interest. Quaid doesn’t get to interact much with Short and Ryan, but all three actors make a wonderful trio. Quaid and Ryan, of course, married a few years after the completion of the movie.
This was Ryan’s breakthrough role. She really shines in her first bona fide leading part. Ryan is both charming and funny, a really great performance in a movie where the visuals effects are the star of the movie.
The fabulous supporting cast includes Kevin McCarthy (Invasion of the Body Snatchers), Fiona Lewis (Strange Invaders), and Robert Picardo (Explorers). Funny cameos by Dick Miller (Dante’s lucky charm), Kenneth Tobey (The Thing from Another World), legendary animator Chuck Jones, writer Boam, and director Dante. The fantastic music score was composed by Jerry Goldsmith (Star Trek: The Motion Picture). The special makeup effects were designed and created by Rob Bottin (The Thing).
Conclusions & Final Thoughts:
Innerspace is much sillier than Dante’s previous movies — an obvious tribute to the 1966 sci-fi classic Fantastic Voyage — but it is so well done that I’m sure many will enjoy it, especially kids. This is certainly a “popcorn” movie that was clearly conceived, written, and filmed with the only intention of entertaining viewers and generating great revenues — from this perspective, the movie is a success in every sense of the word. I was glad to be able to revisit this film again, now from a completely different perspective. If you are looking for a movie that the whole family could enjoy, this is the perfect film for you. Color, 120 minutes, Rated PG.
P.S. This is my contribution to the Meg Ryan Birthday Blogathon, hosted by Pfeiffer Pfilms and Meg Movies.