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Blast from the Past
Blast from the Past is a romantic-comedy starring Brendan Frasier (The Mummy) and Alicia Silverstone (Clueless). The film was produced by Renny Harlin (The Long Kiss Goodnight, Cliffhanger) and Hugh Wilson (Dudley Do Right, WKRP in Cincinnati). Directed by Hugh Wilson (The First Wives Club, Guarding Tess), Blast from the Past blends the 60's and 90's while telling a sweet, charming, and entertaining story.
The story centers upon Adam (Brendan Frasier), who is raised underground in a high-tech shelter with his dad, Calvin (Christopher Walken) and mom, Helen (Sissy Spacek). In preparation for a possible nuclear attack, Adam's mad-scientist inventor dad created a big, elaborate nuclear fallout shelter for the family to live in under their household as if it were actually their normal home.
During the 1960's, a bomb is dropped around their house and Calvin mistakes it for being a nuclear attack. Within just a few moments he goes underground into the fallout shelter with Helen. Adam is born and raised in the shelter and spends 35 years growing up in a 60's style environment. He is "home-schooled" by Calvin and watches old TV show reruns and listens mostly to the records of Perry Como and Dean Martin. The family lives off of a seemingly endless supply of canned goods and bottled Dr. Pepper (which Calvin prefers warmed).
Then one day the fallout shelter gives a message indicating it's OK to go out. Calvin heads out alone and is shocked by the drastically different neighborhood and think it's a post-apocalyptic world following a nuclear attack. Their house has been replaced by a heavy-metal bar and the owner (Joey Slotnick) thinks Calvin in some kind of spiritual savior.
Deciding they need to get more supplies and continue to live in the fallout shelter (rather than join the world above), Calvin and Helen decide to send their son Adam out into the world to bring back more food and household necessities. Along the way, Adam meets Eve (Alicia Silverstone), who becomes his aid and gets a high-paying job out of helping Adam gather supplies. Adam and Eve start to connect to each other and a romance brews between them. Adam's journey becomes one full of surprises. Will Adam and his parents join the modern world? What will happen between Adam and Eve?
The cast is exceptional in Blast From the Past. The performances from Brendan Frasier and Alicia Silverstone are equally charming. The comedic sensibilities of Frasier and Silverstone seem well matched and they make a good pairing. Christopher Walken (Pulp Fiction, The Deer Hunter) and Sissy Spacek (The Help, Carrie) are exceptional as Adam's parents and both lend a decidedly comic element to the over-the-top storyline. Walken delivers an especially memorable performance as the goofy scientist. Dave Foley (The Kids in the Hall, A Bug's Life) also makes a strong impression as Eve's best friend Troy (who helps Adam and Eve along their journey).
The original music score was composed by Steve Dorff (Growing Pains, Murphy Brown). It's a charming and fun score that gives the film an upbeat sound. The film also features a lot of music selections from various artists: including some from pop/rock artists of the 90's as well as classic 60's musicians like Perry Como and Dean Martin. The film has a good combination of different styles of music and the blend fits the storyline perfectly.
The cinematography by José Luis Alcaine (Volver, Sound of the Sea) is colorful and vibrant. Blast from the Past has surprisingly beautiful cinematography which is quite creative. With scenes set in the 1960's the film uses a brighter and more upbeat range of color. During the nighttime scenes taking place in the modern-world 1990's, the film has a dark color palette. Alcaine is an excellent cinematographer who finds a great way to make this an upbeat and colorful romantic comedy while also utilizing the right style for each scene in the film.
The production design by Robert Ziembicki (Scream 2, Dead Man) is impressive and accurate with the contrasting period styles. The film has great sets. The design of the fallout shelter is well-designed and makes the film much more impressive from a production standpoint. Ziembicki helps make this film both an interesting period piece and modern production.
The costume designs by Mark Bridges (Silver Linings Playbook, There Will Be Blood) faced a challenge that was similar to what was required from the production design. Bridges needed to make attire that fit these characters perfectly in the 1960's aspect of the storyline and the trends of a modern 1990's world. The costume designs are excellent (and the dance-attire for the club scene stand out as notably impressive costumes). The overall effort is tremendous and works remarkably well.
Written by Bill Kelly (Enchanted, Premonition) and Hugh Wilson (from a original story by Bill Kelly), Blast from the Past takes an interesting concept and forms an engaging romantic-comedy from it. Though some of the fun of the filmmaking is the focus on the different styles in each decade, the biggest ingredient is the love story between Adam and Eve. It's a charming romance which is well-written and that element helps ground the sillier aspects of the concept. Hugh Wilson (Dudley Do Right) does a good job as director: giving the film an interesting style and bringing forth impressive performances from the cast. Overall, Blast from the Past is a delightful trip of nostalgia combined with a (at-the-time) modern approach.
Blast from the Past arrives on Blu-ray with an impressive 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoded presentation in a 2.40:1 widescreen aspect ratio. The high-definition debut of the film is technically superb and features strong encoding with a 28 mbps bit-rate. This is a great presentation with excellent color reproduction and clarity. It's a nicely filmic release.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio presentation is quite strong. This is an excellent sounding 24bit lossless audio mix and encode. The quality of the mix is surprisingly superb (with good use of the surrounds). During the action moments early on in the film, the bass is impressive. The film utilizes the surrounds well for the music and during a night-club scene it boisterously uses the surrounds to great effect. This is a quality presentation of a high-quality sound design.
The original theatrical trailer is included. That's all, folks!
Blast from the Past is a quality romantic-comedy which features excellent lead performances from Brendan Frasier and Alicia Silverstone. Christopher Walken and Sissy Spacek are also terrific in their supporting parts. The concept is creative fun and the film manages to be both charming and entertaining.
The Blu-ray release from Warner Bros. features a terrific presentation. Though the release lacks notable extras, fans of the film will certainly appreciate it's nice high-definition debut. This is a quality release that only disappoints in its lack of extras (a cast reunion would have been great).
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.