The Inner Adventure: a diabolical scenario where everything is weighed, measured, timed to perfection (review)

The Inner Adventure: a diabolical scenario where everything is weighed, measured, timed to perfection (review)

At the end of 1987, the editorial staff found this sci-fi film by Joe Dante perfect. Almost too much, even.

Tonight, 6ter offers you an unforgettable science fiction film: The inner adventurea.k.a Innerspaceof Joe Dante (Gremlins, Explorers…), produced by Steven Spielberg. At the end of 1987, this scientific experiment went wrong, during which the character of Dennis Quaid ends up inadvertently in the body of Martin Short, had won over Jean-Pierre Guérand. Here is what he wrote in Première.

“Leaving the inaccessible asteroids where Gremlins and Mogwaïs live, Hollywood this time plunges into the mysteries of the human body. On a diabolical scenario where everything is weighed, measured, timed to perfection, the twists and turns follow each other happily in a staging supremely effective, the two main characters, Dennis Quaid (an obvious hero) and Martin Short (the kind of timid person we will soon no longer be able to do without), only meet five minutes before the end credits. The only reservation is quibbling: The inner adventure is a film whose wheels are too well oiled to leave room for excesses. It is implacably ordered madness.


Led at a hundred miles an hour by the crème de la crème of American technicians, with ad hoc music by Jerry Goldsmith, The inner adventure is a first-class entertainment whose open ending suggests future sequels. The dream factory has just delivered one of those flawless products that Hollywood has the secret to. You would have to be very stupid to deny your pleasure.”

Also welcoming the performance of Meg Ryanable to “intelligently renew the ungrateful character of the hero's fiancée“, he appreciated all the “ironic and joyful winks” of the film and its villains, “odious at will, subtle shifts of JR, Terminator Or Crocodile Dundee.”

My cult scene from Gremlins, by Joe Dante

When it was released, it was a success (25 million dollars collected in the United States, 1.7 million admissions in France), without breaking records, so much so that, against all expectations, Innerspace ultimately had no follow-up. Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid fell for each other on set, married in 1991, and welcomed their son Jack a year later – he is now famous for his role in the comedy series The Boys, broadcast on Amazon. Building on the excellent critical reception of The inner adventure, the director decided to turn to more adult cinema by shooting the drama Les Banlieusards, with Bruce Dern and Carrie Fisher, but it was a flop. He returned shortly afterwards with Gremlins 2a sequel as popular as the first opus from 1984.

In 2015, he explained to Cinemaretro still be very proud of The inner adventure : “I always loved it. I had a lot of fun creating this film, and I think you can feel that when you see it.” He also explains in the audio commentary (in blu-ray version) that it was he who transformed this Spielberg project into a comedy: when the producer approached him to shoot it, he was thinking of a homage to Fantastic trip, by Richard Fleischer (1966), but Dante saw the opportunity to add a lot of humor, while retaining its adventure side. Its special effects have also aged well, according to its creator, who added during the same interview: “Today, we would build the inside of the body digitally, whereas at the time, ILM manufactured all these things to The inner adventure. All the work to create the miniature effects allowed the team to win an Oscar. I don't think we could do much better these days.”

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