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Blast From The Past

Blast From The Past




- for thematic elements and brief strong language.
Director: Hugh Wilson
Starring: Brendan Fraser, Alicia Silverstone, Christopher Walken, Sissy Spacek, Dave Foley, Nathan Fillion
Running Time: 1 hour, 52 minutes
Theatrical Release Date: February 12, 1999
Blu-Ray Release Date: August 4, 2015 (Amazon.com)



Plot Summary

Adam Webber (Brendan Fraser) is a man who has lived his entire life in a fallout shelter built in 1962. Now 35 years old, he leaves his shelter and emerges into the corrupt society of the late 90's while only knowing early 60's values. He then sets out to find a wife where he meets up with Eve (Alicia Silverstone) and her gay friend Troy (Dave Foley) who try to help him in his journey.


Film Review

It's funny revisiting reviews you've written over a decade and a half ago. The review alone for this movie is a "blast from the past" for me. But upon having the opportunity to review Warner's new blu-ray debut for the 1999 romantic comedy Blast From The Past, I thought it'd be fun (and a great reason to rewrite a review that badly needed it).

Some of my feelings penned originally by my late-teenage self do still stand when revisiting this comedic venture. What's most interesting to note about the theme of the film is how it takes 1962 values and drops them in the more modern 1999 setting, showing you how much the idealism of the 60s has been tainted by the progression of our culture. It's all shown in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way, and meant to be funny, but it's hard to escape the realization of how drastic things changed--and declined--in 35-years time.

To help paint Adam Webber's fish-out-of-water story, and play off of it comedically, director Hugh Wilson doesn't hold back within his PG-13 limits, pushing the envelope a bit to show how different a sheltered young adult raised on 60s values fares in 1999. As such, there's plenty of language in the film--including blasphemy (which Adam objects to)--the presence of a prominent gay character, and stuff like adult bookstores and transvestite prostitutes. They're all things that illustrate how different the world has become, and how "mutated" it'd seem to someone transplanted from the early 60s, but it also makes you realize how depraved society has become overall in that span of time. You can't help but laugh at the Webber family's ideals in today's context, yet you value them in a way where you kind of long for things to be like that again.

I pointed out in the original review for this film how refreshing it was to have Adam's character hold his spiritual beliefs close to the chest--from reprimanding those who use blasphemy to making sure to say grace with Eve in a public diner setting before they started eating. The film plays it up a bit with how awkward it is for Eve and the humor that comes with it, but it still feels endearing when coming from Adam. Some sexual topics come up fairly frequently, the most obvious being when Eve gets mad at Adam, telling him he should be having "unprotective sex" with a "slut" named Sophie--which she says out of jealousy--and then later asks Adam if he's ever had sex before, to which he says no and then tells her the story of living in a bomb shelter for 35 years. Overall, there's some sensuality and stuff like Adam's father Cal coming in contact with a prostitute on the street who tells him she can be a boy or a girl, whatever he'd like, to which Cal flees in terror (again, played for laughs and also used to show the decline of society). And finally, when Cal does run off in that same scene, he ducks into an "Adult Bookstore," not knowing what it is, and he screams in horror from behind the closed door. There's a running gag throughout the film about Cal telling Adam not to go into "the Adult Bookstore" because of poisonous gas, and Adam using the store as a landmark for where his family's bomb shelter is. At one point, Eve and Troy find themselves inside the bookstore and many of the video covers (yes, they were still VHS tapes in 1999!) are blurred out to keep the movie within the PG-13 boundaries. There isn't anything too explicit shown, but in a family viewing setting, I can imagine this would just add to the awkwardness that comes with some of the sexual themes in the film. Other content includes his mom drinking heavily to cope with life underground (which is played for laughs), and other colorful language, including 2 uses of the "F" word -- one from Eve's boss and one mumbled by Eve while Adam and Troy are talking in the foreground.

The movie holds up pretty well in 2015, although some of the music may be dated (like a saxophone used in the film's score at times), but it was also kind of fun to hear some late 90s hits being used in the soundtrack. The premise is indeed a fun one, and it's still one of my favorite roles for each Christopher Walken and Brendan Fraser (although my favorite for Fraser is still the first Mummy entry, released that same year). The content still holds me back from outright recommending the film, but its new blu-ray transfer does breathe some new life into an older film that has a lot to say about society and love in general. If you're already a fan, you'll want to check that out.

- John DiBiase (reviewed: 3/14/99; re-written completely on 7/29/15)

 

Blu-Ray Special Features Review


It's hard to believe it's been 16 years since Blast From The Past hit theaters. Warner gives the film its blu-ray debut on August 4th, 2015 and they did a really, really nice job on the transfer. There is no sign of dust or dirt in the video transfer either, which means they re-scanned the film from the original negatives to make this HD transfer. If you've seen the original DVD, you know how muddy it looks compared to most HD transfers. The DVD itself is pretty old, so while some DVDs actually look pretty good these days, this was one that came out in the infancy of the technology. The blu-ray transfer is crisp and clean. While there is some noise from the actual film grain, the picture is otherwise colorful and pretty sharp. Some scenes hold the clarity all the way into the background, while some other wider shots look unusually out of focus. However, I think it's more the fault of the film itself and not the transfer.

When it comes to blu-ray extras, sadly, Warner put no effort into anything new or unique. All you'll get here is the original trailer, which is in standard definition and looks pretty terrible (definition-wise). But, at the same time, it's a great example of what the film looked like before being given an HD transfer. There were some lame games and interactive features on the original DVD, but no featurettes, interviews, commentary or deleted scenes. I kinda wish something had been added here. Still, if you love the movie and have high definition watching capabilities, I highly recommend getting the blu-ray. It's worth the upgrade.

- John DiBiase, (reviewed: 7/29/15)

 

Parental Guide: Content Summary


. Sex/Nudity: Numerous sexually-related remarks or references are made; Eve calls her old boss a "d*ckhead" and Adam asks "What?" and she explains, "A walking penis capable of intelligent speech," to which Adam stumbles back. She asks what his problem is and he responds "I just had this mental picture..."; Eve tells Adam that Troy is gay and Adam, thinking of the original definition of the word meaning "happy," says "Well good for you." Surprised, Troy responds, "Well we try!"; When Cal first exits the bomb shelter and walks out on the street, he sees a woman standing on the side of the street. She flirts with him and tells him that she's his for a certain price, and tells him she can be a boy or a girl--whatever he wants her to be. She even says she'll throw in some lawn furniture to sweeten the deal. He runs off and ducks into an Adult Bookstore, where we see the veiled door close behind him and then hear him scream. Later, he tells his wife what he saw and how people have mutated where they can be male or female and "use lawn furniture as a come-on!"; We see Adam watching TV in his hotel and staring mesmerized at a commercial for suntan lotion where women are shown in bikinis (something he's probably never seen before); Adam asks Eve to find him a wife in two weeks and she says "well I can probably get you laid in two weeks." When they're at a diner later, he asks her "What did you mean by saying you can get me laid?" while a couple guys overhear this and turn to look at them. She then says they can talk about it later; Sophie meets Adam in a club and Eve warns Adam that he won't like her because she's a "slut." Troy looks at her cleavage and says "When you go on an airplane, do you check these or are they carry-on?" which is a reference to if she has implants or not. She then remarks that they're carry-on; Eve leaves the club and goes home angry. When Troy gets home, he tells her that Adam went home with Sophie. When Adam arrives unexpectedly, Eve angrily tells him "You should be having unprotected sex with Sophie!!" to which he replies, "I know!" and then explains he wanted to be with her; When Eve tries to "read" Adam's palm, she rubs it lightly and as she erroneously guesses where he's from, she asks "Are we getting hot?" and Adam, who's enjoying Eve holding his hand, calmly replies "Yes..."; Adam and Eve kiss at one point and she asks him if he's ever had sex. He says no and she asks how that's possible. They then stop, he explains his story, and the scene ends there with nothing else happening; After Cal meets Eve, we see him trying to explain to Adam how conception works and he talks about the sperm swimming to the egg, to which Adam asks, "Why?" and Cal says "Cuz it has to!"; While looking for Adam, Eve and Troy go into the Adult Bookstore near Adam's place. Inside, we see a great deal of adult video covers, but they're all out of focus or blurred out.
. Vulgarity/Language: 2 "f" words, 6 "g*dd*mn," 5 "s" words, 3 d*cks (some used with "head"), 5 "b*tch," 2 cr*ps, 1 "a" word, 5 d*mns, 10 h*lls, 2 "S.O.B.", 4 uses of "G-d," 2 "Oh L-rd."
. Alcohol/Drugs: We see Cal mixing cocktails at his in-home bar in two different scenes; Adam's mother drinks a lot to cope with living in the bomb shelter; The guy running the club above their bomb shelter is a hippie and burned out from drugs; We see people drinking in a club
. Blood/Gore: We see a small cut on Eve's knee; A woman vomits in the street outside a bar
. Violence: A plane loses control and crashes onto the Webbers' house, causing a big explosion; We see Adam recklessly driving a car since he doesn't know how to drive; A man in a car points a gun at Cal on the street and fires, laughing, but it's just a water pistol; Eve's ex-boyfriend swings a punch at Adam, but Adam continuously ducks and punches him back. This happens about three times before the ex just walks away holding his nose; Adam accidentally backs a truck into someone's car

 

Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not exclusively on content. However, if the content really affects the reviewer's opinion and experience of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's overall rating.

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