FANTASTIC VOYAGE (1966)




FANTASTIC VOYAGE poster artwork



SPOILER INFORMATION


STEPHEN BOYD...Grant
RAQUEL WELCH...Cora Peterson
EDMOND O'BRIEN...General Carter
DONALD PLEASENCE...Dr. Michaels
ARTHUR O'CONNELL...Colonel Donald Reid
WILLIAM REDFIELD...Captain Bill Owens
ARTHUR KENNEDY...Dr. Duval
JEAN DEL VAL...Jan Benes

Directed by RICHARD FLEISCHER
Written by HARRY KLEINER
Produced by SAUL DAVID


REVIEW BY BOSLEY CROWTHER



Talk about "underground" movies, wait until you see the first of the "inside" movies! Fantastic Voyage is its tag, and it opened yesterday at Loew's State and the Festival Theater.

What is it? Well, it is the latest in sheer science-fiction fantasy about a group of adventurous people who take a way-out trip---a CMDF trip, you might call it, meaning a Combined Miniature Deterrent Forces Trip---inside Dr. Benes (which might be a better tag).

That's right. This team of scientists, including a woman technician, played by Raquel Welch, a newcomer who is the most pneumatic-looking thing in a skin-diving suit that has yet appeared on the screen, are shrunken to microscopic proportions by a new scientific means. Then they are injected into the bloodstream of an injured Czechoslovak scientist to do an inside job of removing a threatening blood clot from his highly knowledgeable brain.

Snugly contained in a tiny capsule that bears a comforting resemblance to that wonderfully neat diving saucer of Capt. Jacques-Yves Cousteau, these voyagers through the arterial system find themselves in a kind of Mammoth Cave, filled with transparent liquid in which float squashy colored balloons.

"That's plasma," somebody mentions, and now we presumably know what the blood in the human body looks like, from the point of view of a germ.

Inevitably trouble develops. It just couldn't be a nice safe trip from that point of injection above the clavicle to the injured area of the brain. A violent fistular disturbance in the region of the throat diverts the tiny capsule into the jugular vein. With the pilot, William Redfield, wrestling the controls, and CMDF officers, Arthur O'Connell and Edmond O'Brien, giving directions in the operating room, the capsule is delicately guided through the perilous caverns of the heart, which has been stopped (by the operating room) for one precious minute to let the vehicle pass.

But that's not all. There is dangerous trouble in the area of the lungs. The air pressure tanks have been leaking. Stephen Boyd has to leave the capsule and, with an air hose, refill the empty tank from the abundance of vapors roaring through this mighty cave of winds.

In the arteries of the nose, the frightened travelers are forced to get out of their capsule to remove heavy mucous substance from the nuclear intake valves. In the ear chamber, cotton-candy crystals form on the skin-suit of Miss Welch and the fellows have to strip her to save her.

"Antibodies," somebody says.

The climax comes when the good guys---Mr. Boyd, Arthur Kennedy and Miss Welch---are out of the capsule, clearing the blood clot with a handy laser ray, and the evil saboteur, Donald Pleasence, tries to run them down. Just then a white corpuscle, a great cotton avalanche, looms to engulf the operation. What a predicament!

Yessir, for straight science-fiction, this is quite a film---the most colorful and imaginative since Destination Moon. Harry Kleiner's screenplay and Richard Fleischer's direction combine to make it amusing and exciting, and the interior decorations have a bubbly, fantastic quality you won't see this side of Disneyland.

Are they reasonably authentic? A couple of lads who I suspect were from the Bronx High School of Science were arguing that point behind me yesterday. I wouldn't know. All I can tell you is it is quite a trip.

Fortunately, all of the voyaging is done in the northern hemisphere.



Review © 1966 THE NEW YORK TIMES. All Rights Reserved.

Poster artwork courtesy of Casey Hopkins

Poster artwork © 1966 TWENTIETH CENTURY-FOX FILM CORPORATION

Title and logo designed by Karen Rappaport




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