Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Innerspace (1987)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

InnerSpace (1987)

Director Joe Dante's goofy sci-fi comedy InnerSpace (executive-produced by Steven Spielberg) was the winner of the Best Visual Effects Oscar, defeating Predator (1987). It was a throwback to films such as Fantastic Voyage (1966) and The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), with its own take on a miniaturizing experiment performed on humans injected into the blood stream. It was probably the inspiration for Disney's sci-fi family film Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989) just a few years later.

It was visually cartoonish and dazzling, with its zany tale of a secret medical-surgical experiment performed on often-drunk, hot-shot US Navy test pilot Lt. Tuck Pendleton (Dennis Quaid), who was becoming involved again with his blonde ex-girlfriend Lydia Maxwell (Meg Ryan), a newspaper reporter.

He volunteered for a secret miniaturization experiment, wherein he was placed in a submersible pod-craft or capsule within a Silicon Valley lab known as Vectorscope, then shrunk to molecular size, and transferred to a syringe to be injected into the body of a live rabbit.

Tuck's Immersible Pod to be Miniaturized

Jack on Monitor Communicating with Lab Technicians

Graphic Display Screens

Two Round, Dark Red Computer Chips

Tuck's Reaction to the Miniaturization Process

The Syringe With the Miniaturized Pod Inside

However, the experiment went awry and things became manic and complicated when a group of orange-suited henchmen broke into the lab, and stole one of the two crucially-important computer micro-chips. Their objective was to acquire the technology involved and profit from its sale. The sabotage of the experiment was led by:

  • Dr. Margaret Canker (Fiona Lewis), a rival technology research scientist
  • Victor Scrimshaw (Kevin McCarthy), Dr. Canker's white-suited associate
  • Mr. Igoe (Vernon Wells), a Terminator-like thug with one robotic hand (and many prosthetic attachments), and "The Cowboy" (Robert Picardo)

Dr. Margaret Canker (Fiona Lewis)

Mr. Igoe (Vernon Wells)

Victor Scrimshaw (Kevin McCarthy)

When the two rival scientists attempted to steal the miniaturized Lt. Tuck Pendleton and his tiny vessel in the syringe, the experiment's supervisor Dr. Ozzie Wexler (John Hora) ran off with it to the Santa Clara Fashion Square shopping mall. He was pursued there and shot by Canker's henchmen Mr. Igoe, but at the last moment before collapsing was able to inject the syringe contents into the butt of hypochondriacal Safeway grocery store clerk Jack Putter (Martin Short).

At first, Tuck was not aware that he had been induced into the bloodstream of a second individual rather than the rabbit. After navigating the pod to the optic nerve of his "host" Jack, he was able to observe and realized what had happened - (he exclaimed to himself: ("I'm in a man!... I'm in a strange man surrounded by strangers in a strange world").

Tuck's Pod Navigating to Jack's Optic Nerve

Tuck In Miniaturized Pod Looking Out Through Jack's Optic Nerve

Through Jack's inner ear, Tuck was able to talk to Jack - who at first thought he was possessed and 'hearing things' - he worried: "Somebody help me. I'm possessed!" A doctor at Westpark Medical diagnosed him as suffering from hysteria. Eventually, Tuck was able to instruct Jack about how they had to work together. There were two major issues: (1) there was only enough oxygen in Tuck's pod air supply until 9:00 am the next morning, and (2) enlarging the pod required the two computer chips, but one had been stolen by Dr. Canker and Scrimshaw. (The other chip was still in the pod.)

Things became very idiotic and crazed after Jack was instructed to meet up with Tuck's on-and-off again girlfriend Lydia in San Francisco, with the goal to steal back the stolen computer chip from Scrimshaw. Later on, they happened to kiss - their shared saliva transferred Tuck (in the pod) into Lydia's body! Meanwhile, in the rivals' lab, Scrimshaw shrank Mr. Igoe in a pod, and also injected him into Jack to accomplish a number of tasks: take control of the pod and seize the computer chip attached to the pod, eliminate Tuck, and then enlarge the pod still inside Jack's body (inevitably killing Jack, as Dr. Canker speculated: "Have you any idea what kind of mess that would make?"). Scrimshaw and Canker didn't know that Tuck was now inside Lydia, where Tuck realized that he had impregnated her and fathered a child when he saw the fetus of his own son (or daughter) - he exclaimed to himself: "Lydia, I'm a Dad!"

In the rivals' lab, Jack and Lydia (holding a gun) ordered the miniaturization of the two villains, Dr. Canker and Scrimshaw (and their assistants), but they were only inadequately shrunk to 50% or half-size. Jack and Lydia also reacquired the stolen microchip, and they kissed again to transfer Tuck from Lydia back into Jack's body.

And then in a unique F/X sequence exhibiting the use of forced-perspective, they raced in a car through the streets of San Francisco. The normal sized heroes, Lydia and Jack, were in the front seat, fighting with the half-sized miniaturized villains Dr. Canker and Scrimshaw who were in the back-seat - in real-time.

With Tuck's pod back in Jack's body, Mr. Igoe (who was also there) located Tuck in Jack's esophagus and attacked him. Tuck disabled Mr. Igoe's craft, forcing Igoe to eject himself from the pod. Tuck then threatened him: "Okay, pal. Here's how I spell relief!", and dropped him in his protective suit into Jack's stomach acids to kill him. The unshielded villain was disintegrated by the corrosive digestive enzymes into nothing more than a skeleton. A nauseated Tuck informed Jack after seeing Igoe's skeletal remains: "Jack. It worked. You just digested the bad guy." Jack burped in response.

Mr. Igoe in Jack's Esophageal Passage

Mr. Igoe Attacking Tuck's Pod Inside of Jack's Body
Mr. Igoe's Skeletal Remains Seen in Jack's Stomach Acid

With oxygen and time running out, Lydia and Jack were driven back to Vectorscope so they could enlarge Tuck’s pod. With no time left to use the proper procedure, Tuck instructed Jack to make himself sneeze, in order to eject the pod from his lungs. After being sneeze-ejected from Jack, Tuck and the pod were enlarged (using the second retrieved chip) and Tuck was reunited with Lydia - he also met Jack in person.

Both Dr. Canker and Scrimshaw remained half-sized, and caused havoc in the final sequence after Tuck's and Lydia's wedding - by hiding in a piece of luggage in the trunk. As they drove away for their honeymoon, Jack saw that their limousine driver was wearing boots - he was The Cowboy in disguise. Jack drove after their car to try and alert them (announcing "Jack Putter to the rescue!"), as the end credits played to the tune of "Twistin' the Night Away" by Sam Cooke.

Lt. Tuck Pendleton (Dennis Quaid)

Lydia Maxwell (Meg Ryan)

Lt. Tuck Pendleton (and Pod) Injected into Supermarket Clerk Jack

Jack Putter (Martin Short)

The Pod Inside Jack's Body

The Pod In Jack's Inner Ear Cavity

Jack's Accelerated Heartrate, Causing Repercussions For Tuck in His Bloodstream

Tuck in Pod Communicating with Jack

First Kiss: Exchange of Saliva Between Lydia and Jack - Transferring Pod Into Lydia's Body

Mr. Igoe in a Pod Was Miniaturized and Injected From a Syringe into Jack's Body

Tuck Observing The Fetus of His Own Child When Inside His Estranged Girlfriend Lydia

Second Kiss to Transfer Tuck (and Pod) Back into Jack

The Half-Shrunken Dr. Canker and Scrimshaw in the Back Seat - Fighting With Jack


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