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"Fantastic Voyage" follows a surgical team of three scientists: Dr
Peter Duval, the top brain surgeon in the country (Arthur Kennedy);
Cora Peterson, his technical assistant (Raquel Welch); Dr Michaels,
chief of the medical mission (Donald Pleasance), plus the skipper of
the ship (William Redfield) and Grant (Stephen Boyd) the security agent
for security purposes...
The sealed vesselThe Proteusis reduced down by a secret branch called CMDF (Combined Miniature Deterrent Forces) and injected into one artery of a defecting Russian scientist who has suffered brain injury and he's in a coma from an assassination attempt... The crew must navigate to the scientist's brain (within exactly 60 minutes) where Dr Duval will attempt to dissolve the coagulum with a laser beam After that everything starts growing back to its original size
"Fantastic Voyage" is a film of authentic wonder: An ocean of life, the corpuscles, the heart, the lungs of the human body through which the crew move are exquisitely designed in great detail with artistic quality...
The plot creates unceasing moments of suspense as the ship and its crew are continually threatened by the scientist's natural defenses: white corpuscles, reticular fibers, antibodies and other factors Leonard Rosenman's futuristic score nicely complements the adventure on screen with the strange sound of the human blood rushing through arteries, veins, rhythmical muscular movements, and of course, the sabotage occurred on board
With two Oscar Awards for Best Visual Effects and Best Art Direction, 'Fatastic Voyage' is certainly the most unusual journey into the human body, where the 'medieval philosophers were right. Man is the center of the universe. We stand in the middle of infinity, between outer and inner space. And there's no limit to either.'
The premise of "Fantastic Voyage" seemed very unlikely in 1966, however in
2002 I'm not so sure.
The story concerns a top secret miniaturization program being developed by the Americans and concurrently by "the other side". A scientist from the other side has the secret of counteracting the situation where the miniaturization effects wear off after one hour. Unfortunately, the scientist receives a brain injury in an assassination attempt. This results in General Carter (Edmond O'Brien), the commanding officer of the project deciding to "send in" a team of experts miniaturized, to the injured man's brain to repair the damage.
The team consists of Drs. Duval (Arthur Kennedy) and Michaels (Donald Pleasance), Pilot Capt. Owens (William Redfield) and the romantic leads, Grant (Stephen Boyd) and the ever lovely Raquel Welch as Duval's assistant. Assisting O'Brien as a medical expert is Arthur O'Connell as Col. Reid. Of course, as in most film's of this type there is the inevitable fifth columnist aboard. The acting is good, particluarly the performances of veterans Kennedy, Pleasance, O'Brien and O'Connell.
The real star of the "Fantastic Voyage" are its amazing special effects. Filmed long before today's computerized digital effects, this film still makes believable, the illusion of a team of people being injected into a person's bloodstream. To fully appreciate the effects the viewer should see it in its widescreen format.
Watch for James Brolin in a small role as one of the lab technicians. And if you get bored, there's always (snort, pant, drool) Raquel in her form fitting diving suit.
This film was originally introduced to me at about 8 or 9 years of age on a Saturday afternoon and it quickly became a favorite of mine. This film tells the story of a brilliant scientist who is injured on his way to offer the U.S. military some much needed info for miniaturizing people and objects and allowing them to stay in the miniature state beyond the now 60 minute time limit the military is faced with. With a top-notch cast that includes; Stephen Boyd, Edmond O'Brien, Donald Pleasence and Raquel Welch as the medical Dr.'s and scientists that are miniaturized and injected into the scientists body in an effort to repair a wound that can't be fixed through the usual means. The effects in this film are truly amazing and make for a lot of fun as the sub/crew journey through the body and face problems along the way, especially as they are attacked as foreign bodies by the scientist's own natural defense system. If you haven't had the pleasure of seeing this little gem, by all means find it and rent it and if it's been a while, why not revisit this film, I'm amazed at how well it stands up, even after almost 40 years since it's release.
This movie holds up after nearly 35 years. The TV version is often chopped up for commercials and the print muddy, but if you can get a good video or see it on a premium movie channel, Fantastic Voyage will still produce a sense of wonder as you navigate "inside" an injured man's body with a team of intrepid explorers to find and repair microscopic damage. Some of the Cold War aspects of the film might jar, as well as a 35-year-old vision of "high tech", but the spec effects of the journey of the PROTEUS through the human vascular system was years ahead of its time.
To answer everyone's question about how did Issac Asimov resolve the Proteus issue at the end of the movie; in his novelization of the film (which is a very good sci-fi book on its own), the sub comes out with everyone else in the teardrop along with "a very surprised white blood cell." The scene with Donald Pleasance gave me chills when I saw it as a child and having recently seen it again, it still is creepy. I think this is due to Pleasance's performance more than anything else. I do have to say that seeing Stephen Boyd being driven around the LA Sports Center (subbing for the top secret research center; they had to have everything removed by 5:30 in the afternoon the week they filmed there because sporting events were going on at night) in a golf cart seemed a bit silly but I guess that showed how important he was. With these kinds of films, one has to ignore all certain types of questions about how come this did or didn't happen when the scientists did this and just relax and enjoy it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When my sister came home from seeing Fantastic Voyage at the State
Theatre in Spokane in 1966, she raved about how scary it was for the
crew of scientists, miniaturized by a secret government organization to
destroy a blood clot in the brain of a wounded official, to be attacked
by "ant-bodies," or that's what I thought she said. Since sisters are
hopelessly stupid--and even I knew there were no bodies of ants
swimming around in us--I figured the movie was too. A few years later I
found out how the body fights off infection--ANTIBODIES!
I saw FV on ABC a few years after it came out. Boy, was I wrong about the movie (not my sister)! FV is a wonderfully exciting sci-fi adventure with all the right ingredients: Stern, bold heroes, sweating generals, a heroine with D-cups and a jump suit (Quit giggling out there; that means you, mister!), a cringing, rat-like villain, state-of-the-art special effects (ohmygosh, we've come a long way) and the coolest little radar dishes flapping back and forth around the wounded man's head.
This really is one of the best examples of good science fiction I've ever seen--it's adventurous, suspenseful, weirdly believable, and those, those death defying D-cups!
Houston, we've got a problem!
This is not only a great science fiction film, it is also a great thriller as well. I especially loved the fact that this was supposedly done in "real time" and that the characters and that it was not only a mission to save the scientist life, but a race against time before the miniaturization wore off. Also, even though the effects are dated, they still were pretty good for the era they were produced in.
All I can remember, from what the Doctors Told me, These people, where miniaturised, in a Submarine, and injected into my cardioid artery. The first part of the voyage was incident free, until they met with a strong current, and set them off course. They had to go through my heart that the surgeons stopped, this was already slowed down as was my respiration to 6 breathes per minute,After they went through my heart, they revived it (Only just) and proceeded to one of my lungs. There they had to stop, as they ran out of air. You will never guess how they replenished their air supply, they tapped into my left lung and when i inhaled their air supply was filled up. Then they went into my ear and the surgeons had to be quiet!! and after that they finally went into my injured part of my brain. There they used a laser to repair my damage. after that 5 of the team swam towards my optic nerve and the surgeons scooped them out of my tear duct of my left eye. when I came to, the Doctors told me that these brave teams saved my life, and do you know what, I actually believed them. In this review I was reviewing this film , by pretending I was Banes, the shot man. This film is excellent if you want to find out about your body. I enjoy all the special effects, If I was in the team, I'd rather be upstairs, then inside Banes body. I would like to work with the Cornel and be on the computers. I also thought that the Proteuous was beautifully designed and looked correct. The effect of the blood corpuscles can be done with looking at a larva lamp, the blobs are similar.This film is available on DVD, but has to be ordered from Zavvi, formerly virgin record shops and costs £13. they can get it for you in 24 hours and can be delivered to your house for free, or to the shop. I for one, is going to try and get it. I thought that the man who played banes, had an easy part to play in this film. All He had to do, was just lie still and sleep all the way through the film. I recognised Donald Plesence and Racca welsh. So Ends this review I'm going to give this film 10/10.
Back in 1966, long, long before the world was turned upside down and inside out on Sept. 11, the world was a very different place. The movies were quite different and science fiction pictures depended more on good writing and less on special effects. Partly because the phrase "computer generated" was years away. In 1966, 20th Century Fox released a very clever, well-written and innovative movie called, "Fantastic Voyage". The on-screen foreword informed the viewers that they were going to be taken to a place that no one had been before, and see things that had been, until that point in time, never been seen by human beings. I'm sure that this film had its fair share of technical advisors putting in a lot more than their 2 cents worth to make sure that the film accurately depicted human anatomy. The plot... A scientist, Jan Benes, has defected from behind the Iron Curtain, has, with the help of Grant, one of our top CIA operatives. Benes has decided to give his expertise with Miniaturization to the US. The "other side" has no choice but to try to kill him before he can breathe a word of it. The assassination attempt is made, but Benes barely survives, falling into a coma. After the movie's credits finish rolling, Grant is brought to a secret, gov't location. There, he meets Gen. Carter, who is in charge of the CMDF - Combined Miniature Deterent Forces. They can shrink anything; cars, planes, tanks, people way down in size, thus enabling them to become unseen military weapons. The problem: both sides have this capability. Another problem is... there is a time limit. They can only stay miniaturized for 60 minutes. After that the object or person automatically starts to grow. Benes had the answer to this problem, but he will need special medical treatment to regain consciousness. That's where Grant and a special team of doctors, technicians and such will have to go into action. After Grant meets the rest of the team, the surgeons in charge, Dr. Duvall and Dr. Michaels go over their plan to remove the blood clot in Benes' brain. They will board a special Navy submarine, called The Proteus, be miniaturized and injected into Benes' body by hypodermic needle. Naturally, the crew runs into Murphy's Law and a job that was expected to take 10 to 15 minutes takes much, much longer. The ending in the movie differs quite a bit from the book written by Isaac Azimov (I know because I read it... twice), and there are a number sub-plot twists that made me shake my head, but seeing Ms. Welch in that wet suit made it more than worth while. I consider this movie to be one of my very favorite sci-fi/fantasy flicks from the '60s. If you haven't seen it yet, for whatever reason, I can suggest you spend the 100 minutes with some very fine actors, some of whom are no longer with us, such as Stephen Boyd (Grant), Edmund O'Brien (Gen. Carter) and Arthur O'Connell who was in charge of the medical team, and others like Arthur Kennedy (Dr. Duvall), Donald Pleasence (Dr. Michaels) and last but not least, the ever-beautiful, Raquel Welch as Cora Peterson, Dr. Duval's technical assistant. One last thought.... if this movie was remade with present-day technology, i.e. computer generated imaging and the like, there's no telling how it would dazzle the viewers' eye.
`Fantastic Voyage' was the first sci-fi movie to employ psychedelic special effects. It was released in 1966 when LSD, hippiedom, and the word "groovy" took America by storm. A medical team in a far-out looking submarine are miniaturized to microscopic size and injected into a scientist's body to fix his brain. They travel through blood plasma, which resembles the inside of a lava lamp. Then they get lost in a rainbow whirlpool and have to journey through the heart, lung, and ear to find their way to the brain. Raquel Welch strips off some of her clothes in one scene, while God and Darwin lock horns in other scenes. God triumphs over Darwin in the end, and we never see Raquel get naked. Rated: Gee
Alan Hale from `Gilligan's Island' was originally cast for `Fantastic Voyage', but was replaced by William Redfield. The actors that star in this film are all dead, except for Raquel Welch.
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