Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea/Fantastic Voyage

January 28, 2012 9 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

In Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea we follow the crew of a brand new atomic submarine as they put the craft through the paces. Admiral Nelson (Walter Pidgeon) is the leader of the crew, but there are many other colorful personalities to be found also. The submarine’s crew isn’t just having a field day in the waters though, as they are on a mission to help save the world’s population. As the travel through the waves they come in contact with all sorts of danger, such as massive sea creatures and even some inner turmoil, not to mention enemy forces with submarines of their own. Will the crew succeed in their most important mission? In Fantastic Voyage we watch as a submarine is shrank down and inserted into a man’s bloodstream, in an effort to save his life. The crew is small, but consists of some of the finest medical and scientific staff to be found so if anyone can save him, it’s these folks. But soon after their voyage begins, the crew learns that someone on board doesn’t want the mission to succeed. So now the crew battles against the body’s natural defenses and against a saboteur within their ranks, with the fate of a man’s life hanging in the balance.

Whether you like one of the films or both of them, this is a terrific chance to pick them up in gorgeous new anamorphic transfers and newly minted surround sound mixes. I happen to be a fan of both movies so this is a double whammy for me, but even fans of just one have good reason to scoop up this double feature. These films are required viewing for all science-fiction buffs and what better chance to see them than in this double feature, right? These two go well together and I can see them as a double feature, so it’s not like Fox just slapped two movies together for no reason. Voyage is a fantastic flick that has some stunning (even today) special effects, as well as some beautiful underwater photography. It does seem dated to some extent, but I think it holds up very well after all these years. The same is true with Fantastic Voyage and I think the visuals still pack a punch, though the special effects seem on the primitive side at times. So you basically get a pair of science-fiction classics for the price of one and with transfers like these, your money will be well spent. I highly recommend this double feature to fans of science-fiction flicks and these also make nice movies for the family, which is an added bonus.

The director of Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea was Irwin Allen, who also wrote the story and helped pen the screenplay along with Charles Bennett. Allen was no stranger to the realm of science-fiction and that shows in this film, as the immersive visuals and storyline really come through well. I think the special effects and visuals will be most remembered from this picture, but Allen still serves his purpose well and delivers a solid movie in all respects. Allen also directed such television series as Lost In Space, Land Of The Giants, and The Time Tunnel and films like The Lost World (1960) and The Swarm. The cast is also excellent and includes Walter Pidgeon (Two Minute Warning), Barbara Eden (Tv’s I Dream Of Jeannie), and Joan Fontaine (Rebecca). Fantastic Voyage was directed by Richard Fleischer, who helmed a wide variety of movies during his career. His experience shows in this film and while the special effects steal the show, the solid work of Fleischer still comes through. If you want to see more of Fleischer’s movies I recommend Tora! Tora! Tora!, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, and Soylent Green among others. The cast is terrific and includes Raquel Welch (One Million Years B.C.), Stephen Boyd (Those Dirty Dogs), and Donald Pleasance (Halloween).

Video: How does it look?

Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. While the image looks a little dated at times, this is still the finest looking version of the movie you can purchase on home video. The print is quite clear of debris and I found very little in terms of compression errors, though some edge enhancement does emerge. The colors seem bright and rich, but never bleed and flesh tones look natural also. The contrast shows no problems either, as shadow appear complex and detail level is very high at all times. This is a fantastic looking transfer and I commend Fox for their work with this catalog title.

Fantastic Voyage is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. I was pleased with transfer also and again found a very clean source print, as well as few compression hiccups. The image does seem a little dated, but not as much as I expected so I won’t complain much. The colors look bold and vivid, with no discolorment evident and flesh tones display normal, warm hues. The contrast is strong also, with no detail loss I could detect and very solid shadow layering. This transfer is wonderful and I am sure fans will be very pleased.

Audio: How does it sound?

Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea uses a 4.0 surround track and while it doesn’t have that much power, it is more than adequate for this material. I found no problems with this mix, though the surrounds don’t see as much action as I expected. The sound effects come across very well and never become forced, while the music sounds immersive and quite active. The dialogue always sounds crisp and clean and I noticed no volume or separation issues at all. This release also contains an English 2.0 surround track and a French mono version, as well as English and Spanish subtitles. Fantastic Voyage features a 2.0 surround track which again gets the job done, but leaves the surrounds used very little. But I will say I never really felt that an opportunity was missed, I just sort of realized it when the movie was finished. So the surrounds don’t see much use, but when they are used the sound is clean and never forced. The music and special effects emerge very well and have a nice sound to them, no distortion or wear is to be found. The dialogue sounds great also and I never had to fiddle with the remote in the least. You’ll also find English and French mono tracks as well as English and Spanish subtitles.

Supplements: What are the extras?

You’ll find theatrical trailers for both films as well as some bonus trailers for other Fox double feature titles.

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