DVDizzy.com | DVD and Blu-ray Reviews | New and Upcoming DVD & Blu-ray Schedule | Upcoming Cover Art | Search This Site

Blast from the Past Blu-ray Review

Blast from the Past (1999) movie poster Blast from the Past

Theatrical Release: February 12, 1999 / Running Time: 112 Minutes / Rating: PG-13

Director: Hugh Wilson / Writers: Bill Kelly (story & screenplay), Hugh Wilson (screenplay)

Cast: Brendan Fraser (Adam Webber), Alicia Silverstone (Eve Rustikoff), Christopher Walken (Calvin Webber), Sissy Spacek (Helen Webber), Dave Foley (Troy), Joey Slotnick (Soda Jerk/Archbishop Melcher), Rex Linn (Dave), Deborah Kellner (Miss Sweet), Nathan Fillion (Cliff), Jenifer Lewis (Dr. Nina Aron), Cynthia Mace (Betty), Don Yesso (Jerry), Carmen Morι (Sophie)

Buy Blast from the Past from Amazon.com: Blu-ray • DVD • Instant Video

1999 was a big year for Brendan Fraser. Thirty through that December, the American-Canadian actor had already shown he could act in dramas (With Honors, School Ties) and
comedies for families (George of the Jungle) and teens and up (Encino Man, Airheads). Then, in the summer of '99, Fraser proved he could play a traditional leading man in popcorn fare, with his work in the blockbuster The Mummy inviting some generous comparisons to Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones.

The effects-laden action-adventure was Fraser's biggest hit to date by far, yet apart from that franchise's two sequels and, nine years later, Journey to the Center of the Earth, it had little effect on his career. Fraser continued to specialize in comedy, the genre in which his other two 1999 releases would be classified. Opening in August, the poorly-attended and critically-reviled Dudley Do-Right was a transparent attempt and failure to replicate George of the Jungle's success. Fraser had better luck six months earlier with Blast from the Past, an original comedy from Dudley's writer-director Hugh Wilson, more favorably known for Police Academy and The First Wives Club, and novice scribe Bill Kelly, who has since written Disney's charming princess-in-New York musical comedy Enchanted and, bizarrely, almost nothing else.

In "Blast from the Past", Adam Webber (Brendan Fraser) ventures to the Earth's surface after spending the first 35 years of his live in a fallout shelter.

Blast opens in 1962 at a house party hosted by Calvin (Christopher Walken) and Helen Webber (Sissy Spacek). The evening of cocktails, phonograph music, and friendly socialization ends abruptly when some news on the Cuban Missile Crisis and some loud noises outside send Calvin, a wealthy retired scientist, and pregnant housewife Helen racing to their fallout shelter. Calvin has planned for atomic bomb dropping during this Cold War; the air-tight shelter is built to resemble a second home and is stocked with enough food and supplies to get the couple and their forthcoming child through the 35 years of dangerous radiation.

The child, Adam, is soon born in the shelter and spends his first thirty-five years there, getting home-schooled by Dad and cared for his Mom. Then in the then-present day (which is actually 1997 by the movie's calculations), the family plans to venture outside their shelter for the first time since locking in. Shocked by what he discovers, Dad decides the family should spend another couple of years underground, appointing Adam (now Fraser) to go the surface and acquire the needed provisions.

Equipped with a box full of priceless old baseball cards and good old-fashioned values, Adam soon meets Eve (Alicia Silverstone), who prevents him from getting ripped off and gives him a ride to the Holiday Inn. Acclimating himself to modern living is a challenge for Adam, and one that the unlucky in love Eve reluctantly helps him meet along with her gay friend Troy (Dave Foley). With his gentlemanly manners and swing dancing skills, Adam proves to be fairly well suited for late '90s living and, though she tries to fight it, winning Eve's heart.

Eve (Alicia Silverstone) has a supportive shoulder to lean upon in her gay friend/roommate (Dave Foley).

Blast from the Past has a sitcom sensibility to it, but in a good way. The premise reminds one of fantastical small screen comedies from "Mork and Mindy" to Disney Channel's "Phil of the Future." Kelly, who alone is credited with the story, has a creative idea that is grounded in history.
Fun flows from it. Cut off from the world his entire life until now, Adam is a product of a different generation. He is easily excited by new sights, from the sky and the ocean to color television and a "Negro" mail carrier. He's super polite, utterly naοve and not at all prepared for end-of-the-millennium Los Angeles.

There is so much to enjoy about the generation gap concept that you hardly mind that it's used on a routine and conventional romantic comedy. This is not an excellent film, but it is a highly agreeable one. There are a couple of missteps, most glaringly a brief melodramatic moment in which Adam is referred to social services and has to make a getaway. It's also never a good sign when a romantic comedy resorts to slow motion to heighten some drama. Still, the movie is enough fun for you to not care about a few false notes, the excessive time to set the scene (Adam doesn't make it out of the shelter until 40 minutes in), or the iffy running subplot involving the malt shop turned dive bar built atop the shelter that comes to house a cult based on the family's appearances.

Adam's father (Christopher Walken) and mother (Sissy Spacek) hope their son has what it takes to survive the new world above and secure them two years' worth of sustainable resources.

Blast from the Past was a mild disappointment at the box office, opening in fifth place over Valentine's Day/President's Weekend
and finishing with a domestic gross of just $26.5 million on a $35 million budget (the equivalent of $42.4 million on a $50 M budget in 2015). But the movie seemed to find its audience in basic cable, where it has been frequently aired. I fondly recall catching it several nights in the early Noughties, including at least a couple of memorable airings as part of TBS' since-retired "Dinner and a Movie." Blast and 10 Things I Hate About You were the perfect movies back then to casually enjoy, even with edits, commercial interruptions, and probably some schoolwork either before, after, or during a "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" broadcast. I might not enjoy them as much if they were made today, but their late '90s sensibilities grant them eternally diverting status for me.

Very much a '90s movie, Blast is now pretty dated, albeit not in a way that noticeably hurts it. The sight of a bulky mobile phone and the dance club scene (capitalizing on the Gap-exploited swing craze) would not fly today. Nor, for that matter, would Fraser or Silverstone playing leading man or lady in a romantic comedy. Fraser weathered a number of flops over the years, but his longevity seems to have run out; his last live-action movies to gross as much as Blast did were his summer '08 pair of Journey and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. The less convincing Silverstone's short grip on stardom was essentially lost on this film, one of her last to receive wide theatrical release. At least she'll always have Clueless.

Watching the movie in 2015 may prompt you to conceive a sequel about a kid locked away in a shelter in anticipation of Y2K. That sequel could almost be made and with generation gap jokes galore. It won't be, of course. A remake is more feasible and even that seems both premature and a longshot at this point. For now, you can simply enjoy Blast from the Past on Blu-ray, starting Tuesday. While New Line Home Video released to VHS an unrated edit of the film softened for family viewing in 2001, as on DVD, Blast is exclusively presented in its original PG-13 theatrical cut.

Blast from the Past Blu-ray Disc cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray Disc Details

2.40:1 Widescreen
5.1 DTS-HD MA (English), Dolby Surround 2.0 (Castilian, Latin American Spanish, Portuguese)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, French, Castilian, Latin American Spanish, Portuguese
Not Closed Captioned; Extra Not Subtitled
Suggested Retail Price: $14.98
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (BD-50)
Blue Keepcase
Still available on DVD ($5.97 SRP; July 27, 1999; repackaged November 9, 2010) and on Amazon Instant Video


Blast from the Past may shows it age in a few ways, but the Blu-ray's transfer does a decent job of hiding it. The 2.40:1 presentation is sharp, clean, and reasonably vibrant. It's far from the most dazzling catalog restoration out there, but the movie looks good and nearly new. The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio soundtrack is a little more commendable. You'll notice robust design in the action prologue you'll soon forget. Dialogue sounds a bit odd at a couple of times, but overall the song-heavy mix satisfies with its clear and potent elements.

Blast from the Past's theatrical trailer utilizes the atomic logo of the film's one-sheet. The Blu-ray's basic menu screen adapts the cover art of its every home video release.


Sadly but unsurprisingly, the text screen-based bonus features of Blast from the Past's DVD have not been updated and converted to Blu-ray. The only extra we get here is the movie's original theatrical trailer (2:34),
which remains in standard definition.

Missed but not forgotten from the DVD are wildly outdated cast and crew biographies and filmographies and a fun Love Meter game with sound bites from the film. There were also a number of DVD-ROM features that you probably will not be able to access with any ease these days. (I was able to play a little bit of Blast from the Past trivia and read some production notes and the full script, even if some of PCFriendly's redirects haven't worked in ages.)

Another foreseeable downgrade from DVD, the menu loops a score excerpt over a basic static adaptation of the barely retooled cover art. Like other Warner discs, the Blu-ray resumes unfinished playback, but does not let you set bookmarks.

No inserts accompany the teal-labeled disc inside the eco-friendly keepcase.

Meet Adam (Brendan Fraser) and Eve (Alicia Silverstone). She was a woman of the world. He had never been around the block. She'd never met anyone like him. He's never met anyone...Period.


While I can't claim that Blast from the Past is a brilliant, daring, or outstanding film, I can unequivocally recommend this witty romantic comedy as a great deal of fun. This feel-good '90s diversion flirts with guilty pleasure status at a few misjudged, melodramatic points, but it continues to endear to a much greater degree than most of its kind.

Warner's Blu-ray is sadly as vanilla as it can be. The movie benefits from improvements in picture and sound, but suffers from the loss of some extras, no matter how minor (e.g. the Christopher Walken clip anticipating the start of the movie) and outdated they may be. Even as a fan of this movie, this release strikes me as less a must-have upgrade and more of a it's about time you buy this movie for a first time, so long as the price is reasonable (and it is).

Buy Blast from the Past from Amazon.com: Blu-ray / DVD / Instant Video

Buy from Amazon.com

Related Reviews:
Brendan Fraser: Journey to the Center of the Earth • Extraordinary Measures • Inkheart • Stand Off
Alicia Silverstone: Clueless • Vamps • Butter | Sissy Spacek: The Straight Story • Tuck Everlasting • 3 Women • The Help
Christopher Walken: Catch Me If You Can • $5 a Day • Stand Up Guys • Jersey Boys • Balls of Fury
Dave Foley: NewsRadio: The Complete Series • A Bug's Life | Written by Bill Kelly: Enchanted • Premonition
1990s Comedies: Galaxy Quest • Empire Records • 10 Things I Hate About You • Kingpin • Varsity Blues • Glory Daze

DVDizzy.com | DVD and Blu-ray Reviews | New and Upcoming DVD & Blu-ray Schedule | Upcoming Cover Art | Search This Site

DVDizzy.com Top Stories:

Reviewed August 2, 2015.

Text copyright 2015 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 1999 New Line Cinema, Midnight Sun Pictures, and 2015 Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.
Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.