After all the spy movie set-up, they don’t actually get inside the human body until forty minutes into the movie. Then it becomes more of a straightforward science fiction film, wherein the steadfast crew evade antibodies, take an unplanned detour through a fistula, and find their way back through the dangerous rapids of the heart. At one point they run out of oxygen, and need to harvest some from the lungs. This requires Grant’s frogman skills, and it requires Raquel to finally strip down to a more body-hugging jumpsuit. But all the while the "who’s the saboteur?" spy plot remains, a situation similar to Ice Station Zebra. (It’s really not very hard to guess.)
Fox’s new DVD of Fantastic Voyage boasts a really amazing transfer. This movie looks great, as if it were just made this year! Fox usually has good transfers, but this one really stands out. There are some nice extras, too. The behind-the-scenes featurette is more of an appreciation than a making-of, with modern-day special effects artists praising the film’s visual trickery and pointing out what works and what doesn’t. Film Score Monthly’s Jeff Bond contributes an informative commentary track full of interesting trivia. He tells us that according to the movie’s press materials, it was supposed to take place in 1997, but there would be no way to know that from what’s on screen, as the cars and plane at the beginning are all very mid-Sixties. Best of all is an isolated score track featuring Leonard Rosenman’s excellent music and commentary on it (during the silent parts) with Bond, John Burlingame and Nick Redman.
Fantastic Voyage certainly isn’t a traditional spy movie, but it serves as a reminder of how popular the genre was in the Sixties and how varied it could be. It will probably be of more interest to sci-fi fans than spy fans, but this new release (in Fox’s typically excellent packaging featuring original poster art) is good enough that it’s certainly worth a rent for any aficionado of Sixties cinema.