to latest news reports director James Cameron is going to remake the 1966
sci-fi movie Fantastic Voyage . . .
We here at Sci-Fi Movie Page are usually quite opposed
to any remakes. After all, why bother? Remakes usually suck – I mean have
you sat through the recent Halloween and Omen remakes for
Sure, there are remakes that actually wind up being
better than the movies that “inspired” them: the 1978 remake of
Invasion of the Body Snatchers and John
Carpenter’s 1982 The Thing spring to mind.
(And we’re also kinda partial to the 1980s remake of
The Blob, but not particularly
looking forward at all to Rob Zombie’s planned remake.)
We’re however not at all opposed to a remake of the 1966
science fiction flick Fantastic Voyage
because – let’s be honest here - it wasn’t all that good to begin with.
When we first saw the movie we weren’t all that impressed with it and gave
it two-and-a-half stars out of four, which was probably hopelessly too
generous. A short while back we picked up a cheap copy of the DVD for less
than two U.S. dollars (the cover was missing for some reason) and decided
to give it another shot.
The DVD’s widescreen transfer may have been, er,
fantastic but we are ashamed to admit to falling asleep watching
Fantastic Voyage for the second time . Even clocking in at a 100
minutes the movie is simply too slow and dull. Leonard Maltin describes
the movie as “tremendously entertaining,” but we have a suspicion that he
was probably thinking of the similarly-themed
Innerspace . . .
(Yup, the only problem with a Fantastic Voyage
remake is that the movie has already been “remade” as the 1987 sci-fi
comedy action flick Innerspace, directed by Joe Dante and starring
a young Dennis Quaid along with Meg Ryan and Martin Short.)
"'A woman has no place on a mission like this,' someone grumbles
when it is decided to take Raquel Welch along."
The 1966 movie starred Stephen Boyd as the hero along
with Raquel Welch, Edmond O'Brien, Donald Pleasence, Arthur Kennedy,
William Redfield and Arthur O'Connell.
The screenplay was by Harry Kleiner and based on a story
by Otto Klement and Jay Lewis Bixby. (It is a popular misconception that
the movie is based on an Isaac Asimov book, probably something to do with
the fact that the book was released six months before the movie’s release!
The author however only wrote the novelization, which was based the
screenplay – not the other way round. Hey, legendary science fiction
authors have to make a living too, you know . . .)
It was directed by Richard Fleischer whose genre efforts
include 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954),
Conan the Destroyer,
Red Sonja (the 1985 original, not the
planned remake) and Amityville 3-D.
In the original movie a high-tech submarine and its
human crew are miniaturized to microscopic size and injected into the
bloodstream of a scientist. Their mission is to save the scientist’s life
by surgically removing a blood clot in his brain . . .
Voyage has dated a lot since its original release back in 1966. First
there is the film’s dated Cold War setting – obviously the first thing to
be jettisoned in any remake.
In the original film the United States and the Soviets
have discovered a way to miniaturize both living and inanimate objects –
something which will be quite handy when you want to invade another
country for instance. Just sneak an entire miniaturized invading army
through their borders in, let’s say, some tourist’s makeup kit or
something and de-miniaturize them on the other side!
Only problem is that the miniaturization process only
lasts an hour – an issue if your tourist has to take any lengthy
In the beginning of the movie we see how a scientist who
has discovered a way to keep objects miniaturized indefinitely barely
escapes an assassination attempt. Only problem is that he is now in a deep
coma and the miniature sub crew only has an hour to perform the
life-saving surgery. (It’d be nasty if the submarine were to grow to
normal size inside the hapless patient’s bloodstream – an entirely
different kind of movie altogether!)
Dated Cold War setting aside, the movie has dated in
many other ways and we’re not just talking about the fashions of the era.
First off there’s the movie’s chauvinist attitude. “A woman has no place
on a mission like this,” someone grumbles when it is decided to take
Raquel Welch’s character along. We also know who a Commie sympathizer
might be when the character in question holds atheist opinions. (Mind you,
Hollywood’s attitude towards atheists still hasn’t changed much: they
usually still are the villains nowadays!)
Cameron will probably utilize the same special effects processes that he
used to create those eye-popping visuals for Avatar"