Anyone who thinks the spy spoof started with the Austin Powers franchise needs a serious check-up from the neck-up. 60's spy films/spoofs were a dime a dozen, and until now have been fairly difficult to track down in decent editions. Fox has come to the rescue with a few catalog titles (neatly presented) that are sure to please and satisfy your 60's kitsch itch. With titles like Modesty Blaise and In Like Flint (budget priced mind you) Fox has done well. If Fathom is any indication, this is a series of DVDS that should certainly be checked out in its entirety at any cost.
The deliciously daring Raquel Welch stars as Fathom, skydiver by day, secret agent by night. When Col. Campbell and Lt. Timothy Webb call upon Fathom, she has no idea what's really in store for her. It's a top secret mission and a search for the elusive "fire dragon". Our heroine is sent to Spain to get to the bottom of this mess using any means possible (including her womanly charms). Fathom meets up with a host of nut-jobs including Peter Merriweather (Anthony Franciosa of Tenebre) and the monocle wearing Sergi Serapkin (veteran cartoon voice actor Clive Revill). Fathom will stop at nothing to get where she wants to go including taking part in an unexpected bullfight, a high speed boat chase, and even through the use of explosive earrings! It's espionage at it's finest as friends become enemies, enemies become friends and back again. Not to mention the fact that Ms. Welch fills out each and every one of her cute little outfits oh so well! What crazy color combination will she wear next? You'll have to tune in to find out.
I found Fathom to be one hell of a good time (in case you hadn't guessed already). It's nothing to take too serious mind you, but way ahead of its time and full of entertainment value for your dollar. It's lighthearted and breezy (did I just say that?) wholesome fun that the whole family can enjoy, just like Cannibal Holocaust (err, maybe NOT like Cannibal Holocaust). The film itself is so cleverly written and executed with great off the wall characters and incredibly witty dialogue. The downright crazy action doesn't let up for a second and we're presented with cool gadgets by the bucketful. Add to this all of the great 60's color photography, the sets and clothes, and the incredible 60's soundtrack, you just can't lose.
Fox presents Fathom on DVD in its original scope aspect ratio, and the result is nothing short of a miracle. The incredible vintage 60's photography looks phenomenal. There is barely any evidence of print damage except for the occasional spec. Colors are sharp and vibrant (flesh tones are a bit on the reddish side), I'm sure this film hasn't looked this good since it premiered in '67. The scope photography is beautiful and every inch of the frame is used in one creative fashion after another. I'm a big fan of the 60's and 70's look in film. Color scope photography never looked better than it did in the 60's and Fathom is undeniable proof of this fact.
Audio options are abundant in English, French and Spanish tracks. In English, we have our choice of mono or 2-channel stereo. I found the mono track to be preferable with clear dialogue and nice separation between the great 60's score and effects. The stereo track seemed to be a bit artificial and manufactured, with the echo it certainly wasn't going to cut the mustard. Stick with the mono track.
Extras are limited to a few theatrical trailers. First up is a trailer for the feature itself, followed by trailers for other 60's Fox features (Our Man Flint, In like Flint and Modesty Blaise). Considering the quality of the feature itself and the price point one can't really complain, although at the very least Bios would have been a nice addition. Another added bonus is the DVD box in a nice bright yellow, and I noticed that the other features in the collection come in brightly colored DVD boxes of there own, nice touch indeed.
With an MSRP under 15 and most stores selling this title for less than 12, you just can't go wrong. I'm looking forward to checking out some of the other titles in the line-up and with a buy 2 get one free offer from Fox, it's relatively inexpensive to start your collection of 60's kitsch. It's cool.