to the bottom of the Sea" and "Fantastic Voyage" on DVD
Twin Sci-Fi Thrills
Part of 20th Century
Fox's "Double Feature" series, this disk brings to DVD a couple of minor
science fiction classics from the 1960's.
Irwin Allen's "Voyage
to the Bottom of the Sea" receives the most benefit from the DVD treatment;
its picture is bright and sharp and its audio has been remixed to Dolby
4.0 surround. Richard Fleishcer's "Fantastic Voyage," on the hand, looks
very soft and the audio isn't nearly as good.
It's almost as if
Fox spent its energies making the Allen film look great, but ignored Fleischer's,
which is undoubtedly not true ("Fantastic Voyage," according to the box,
has received a newly created "English Surround" track).
Anyway, it isn't unreasonable
to buy this disc for the Allen "Voyage," and consider Fleischer's a bonus.
Too bad; in the grand
scheme of things, Fantastic Voyage is probably the more important of the
"Voyage to the
Bottom of the Sea" recounts the tale of an Earth where the temperature
has soared thanks to the sudden fiery ignition of the van Allen belts
of the atmosphere. Fortunately, super scientist Admiral Nelson (Walter
Pidgeon) and his new supersub the Seaview are on patrol and have the wherwithal
to save the world. Nelson figures out that a missle aimed at just the
right point will explode the van Allen belt into space, restoring the
Earth's temperature to its pre-artifiicial greenhouse effect days.
world's powers that be don't believe him, and he's forced to take his
sub on a renegade mission to save humanity.
Nelson is a driven man who won't listen to anyone but himself, which makes
it a good thing that he's right all the time! Also along for the ride
are Barbara Eden, Joan Fontaine, Peter Lorre, Robert Sterling, Michael
Ansara, and Frankie Avalon.
There are plenty
of plot holes, but the Seaview looks great (so do most of the special
effects, though this doesn't appear to be a very big buget movie) and
the story's engaging enough to have spawned a TV series (which, of course,
The widescreen (2.35:1)
picture looks great and the Dolby Digital surround is pretty good.
concerns miniaturization technology and the cold war. Stephen Boyd is,
well, some kind of agent, who has just brought scientist Jan Benes to
the US where he's about to spill his guts to the scientific authorities.
He knows the secret to making the miniaturization process feasible.
fortunately, since otherwise we'd have no story), the other side has gotten
to him, and Benes is now in a coma, on an operating table, with a brain
clot that can't be operated on with conventional surgery.
What they propose
to do is shrink a submarine and crew, and send it through Benes' bloodstream
to the site of the injury and operate on it from inside, with a laser
A nifty idea, and
one that gives the producers plenty of opportunity to portray the wonders
of the human body as seen from the inside perspective.
Along for this fantastic
voyage, besides "Messala" himself, are Arthur Kennedy as the surgeon tapped
for the job, Raquel Welch as the requisite girl, Donald Pleasence as,
well, you'll you have to watch and see, and William Redfield as the Captain
and designer of the good sub Proteus. Edmond O'Brien and Arthur O'Connell
run the show from outside.
The story's neat,
but once again there are plot holes large enough to drive the unshrunk
Proteus through (for instance, how come the wreckage of the sub doesn't
destroy the patient when it returns to its normal size?).
Still, it's a nifty
yarn and for the most part director Richard Fleischer (Disney's 20,000
Leagues Under the Sea) pulled it off very well.
The widescreen (2.35:1)
picture quality is definitely not up to DVD standards, and this is a shame.
Audio quality is merely okay.
Neither movie, each
of which occupies one side of the single DVD disc, has a lot of extras.
You basically get the usual subtitle choices and a trailer for both movies
with each movie.
Still, you have to
love Fox for giving us a "Saturday Afternnoon Matinee" of movie entertainment
on a single disc. We hope to see lots more. .
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think