(This blog usually saves non-political posts for the weekend
. Screw consistency.
When I was a wee tyke, Mom took the family to Fantastic Voyage
, which I pronounced the greatest film ever made. I just saw it again. Not only is the thing still great, it's now the funniest
film of all time. I defy anyone to watch it without going into Rifftrax mode.
The "micronaut" crew is led by Stephen Boyd. If you're a younger person who has never experienced Boyd-ness, picture William Shatner -- then imagine what Shatner might be like if he were incapable of showing any emotion other than an inchoate simmering resentment.
The crew also includes Donald Pleasance (as the scientist whom everyone trusts even though he practically has the word "SPY" stamped on his forehead), Arthur Kennedy (as The Old Philosopher) and Raquel Welch. Raquel does absolutely nothing in this movie except fill out a tight wet suit. And she asks a lot of really basic questions about science and stuff because, gee, she's just a girl
This has got to be the best cast ever
. Could the producers have improved upon it? Maybe if they had found room for Paul Lynde. Or Frank Gorshin. Or Charles Nelson Reilly. Or DeForest Kelly. Or...
. I just read that the producers originally wanted Alan Hale to play the sub driver. Yes! Alan Hale was the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (Says so, right there in the Mahabharata
.) With Alan Hale on board, this film would have transcended Transcendence Itself.
The most hilarious moments occur when Arthur Kennedy waxes philosophical, which he does at every opportunity. Sweartagod, at one point he starts quoting from the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus
. Somewhere around the inner ear sequence, he becomes converted to what we now call Intelligent Design, while Donald Pleasance proves his Marxist villainy by sticking up for Darwin.
How could anyone on board not
immediately spot Pleasance (who had recently played the best Satan in cinema history) as the traitor? I mean, he had that voice, that accent, those creepy cadences... Pleasance always seemed like the kind of guy who could perform an icepick lobotomy on his own child. For fun
Many of the effects still look trippy, especially the Giant Undulating Lung Set (complete with smoke particles), which must have been a bitch to build and operate. I don't want to see a CGI remake of this movie. It looks fine the way it is.
But even as a tiny lad, I wondered: What's lighting up those sets?
Why is the human body so bright inside?
Popular culture was unfathomably great in the 1965-1970 period, especially for kids. I'd give anything to go back, just for a day.