Fantastic Voyage (1966)
In this science fiction drama, CIA agent Grant, and a group of scientists are shrunk down to microscopic size, then injected into the bloodstream of unconscious, former Iron Curtain scientist, Jan Benes, who was smuggled out to teach the west how to shrink soldiers for an indefinite period. Having only one hour to do so, this skilled group's mission is to remove a blood clot from Benes' brain, which will kill him, if they fail. Trouble lurks in this effort, however, as there is a traitor in the midst.
Richard Fleischer, who also directed "20,000 Leagues Under
the Sea", keeps the action moving right along. Scientist, Raquel
Welch, seems to have been born to wear a wet suit. The FX, particularly
those inside the human body, are terrific! Donald Pleasence, as a traitor
aboard the mini-sub, gives an overly obvious performance.
The cast includes: Stephen
O'Connell, Edmond O'Brien, William Redfield, and Arthur Kennedy.
Directed by Richard Fleischer.
A scientist is shot, and develops an inoperable
brain clot. A government security man and a medical team are shrunk
down and injected into the scientist's blood stream.
The mini-team cruises through the blood stream. Along the way,
the surgical laser gets damaged, they run low on oxygen, and they
race through the scientist's temporarily stopped heart.
Running out of time, and about to return to their normal size,
the mini-team zaps the scientist's brain clot with the lazerbeam,
then exit via his tear ducts.
With FANTASTIC VOYAGE, Director, Richard Fleischer, working from
a Screenplay by Harry Kleiner, (Adaptation by David Duncan, based
on a Story by Otto Klement and Jay Lewis Bixby), created a gripping,
Sci-Fi tale that has held up surprisingly well over the years.
Enroute to a secret U.S. location, a scientist, under the watchful
eye of government security man, Stephen Boyd ("The Caper
of the Golden Bulls") is shot. Soon, inside the secret facility,
a military guy, Edmond O'Brien ("The Wild Bunch") explains
to G-Man Boyd what the C. M. D. F., printed on the wall, stands
for: "Combined Miniature Deterrent Forces." "We
can reduce anything down to any size we want: people, ships, tanks,
planes. We can shrink an army, with all its equipment, put it
into a bottle cap."
The scientist, who was shot, is in a coma, with a blood clot in
his brain, which can not be operated on by conventional means.
Therefore, O'Brien intends to shrink down a surgical team, and
a special submarine, and inject them into the ill scientist's
bloodstream. O'Brien asks for Boyd's help. Boyd doesn't understand
how he can help. As he puts it, "Me, I can't even put a bandaid
on my finger." Boy, this guy is useless.
Boyd's job is to provide security during the upcoming mission,
since a traitor may be aboard the shrunk sub. It's unfortunate
that Donald Pleasence ("Escape From New York") as the
head of the medical mission, is so twitchy and panicky in his
performance. It's too easy to figure out who the traitor is on
the mission, thereby undercutting some of the film's suspense.
The submarine is a gleaming white affair, with a small plexiglass
dome on top. The white sub has an impressive, futuristic design.
Raquel Welch, ("The Three Musketeers"), as an assistant
to a laser scientist, looks great in a wet suit. Her performance
here added considerably to her "body" of work.
The scene, involving the submarine, with our heroes inside, being
shrunk down to super-miniature size, is very effective. Special
Photographic Effects guys, L.B. Abbott, Art Cruickshank, and Emil
Kosa, Jr., are the responsible parties. This is my favorite scene
in the film.
Director of Photography, Ernest Laszlo, aided by the imaginative
Art Direction, of Jack Martin Smith and Dale Hennesy, and creative
Set Decorations, of Walter M. Scott and Stuart A. Reise, delivers
consistently eye pleasing imagery, both in the miniaturization
lab as well as in the human body itself. The Music, by Leonard
Rosenman, is appropriately dramatic.
FANTASTIC VOYAGE should be highly watchable for most Sci-Fi fans.
All these years later, a journey into inner space is still an
interesting trip to take. Bring your wet suit!
If you liked FANTASTIC VOYAGE you may
enjoy INNERSPACE and 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE