Blast From the Past

MPA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPA) for brief language, sex and drug references.

Reviewed by: Debbie Blanton

Moral Rating: Average
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Teens Adults
Genre: Romance Comedy
Length: 112 min.
Year of Release: 1999
USA Release: February 12, 1999
Featuring Brendan Fraser, Alicia Silverstone, Christopher Walken, Sissy Spacek
Director Hugh Wilson
Producer Renny Harlin
Hugh Wilson
Distributor: New Line Cinema. Trademark logo.
New Line Cinema
, division of Warner Bros. Pictures

“Blast From the Past”… what an interesting concept for a movie! Take someone born in the early Sixties, isolate him for his entire life (well, at least the first 35 years) with only his parents as his influence and role models, and then put him back into present day society. Although this film was marred with several uses of God’s name in vain it did have a few redeeming qualities.

In the early 60’s, in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Calvin Webber (Christopher Walken), a paranoid but brilliant scientist, his wife Helen (Sissy Spacek), and their unborn child, experienced a blast that they thought was the “Big One” (which was actually a plane crashing into their yard) and went underground into an elaborate bomb shelter engineered by Calvin to wait out the “radioactive contamination.”

For 35 years, Adam was raised on Jackie Gleason re-runs, Perry Como records and dreams about life on the surface. He learned dancing, manners, and charm from his mother and his father taught him history, sports, and speaking other languages… basically everything they thought he needed to prepare their son for life after the bomb shelter. Eve (Alicia Silverstone) grew up in a rapidly changing Los Angeles and emerged as a woman suspicious of intentions, savagely smart about survival and pretty uncertain about the possibilities of love. Her life has been a series of dead-end jobs, shallow boyfriends and dashed hopes.

When the automatic lock on the bomb shelter unlocks the Webbers are unsure whether they should stay in the shelter or brave the world above, but they have run low on all their supplies so they send Adam up to the surface to get some more supplies. Adam gets lost trying to find his way back to the shelter and thus starts the journey of the “star-crossed” Adam and Eve to see if they can find happiness with each other in the real world.

This movie includes several uses of profanity (at least 10) and half of these are uses of God’s name in vain, but there is no nudity. The movie also has a gay character, Eve’s roommate, but there is no real focus on this in the movie. There is also drinking in this movie as well as references to sex and drugs.

There are some redeeming qualities where the language is concerned: Adam’s parents evidently never used profanity as he was growing up because when his mother first says one out of frustration in front of him, after she finds out it still may not be safe to go up, she explains it away when he asks about it and doesn’t reveal that it’s a bad word. Adam has evidently learned about God from his parents because there are a couple of instances where he talks about God and he also gets very upset when God’s name is taken in vain and makes it very clear to the characters saying it that he doesn’t like it and not to do it… since when has THAT been done in a movie! There is also a scene where he prays over his meal out loud in public. The manners his parents taught him are clearly evident throughout the movie with such unfamiliar terms lost in today’s society such as “Ma'am”, “Sir”, “Please”, and “Thank You.” After his father initially goes up before him and goes into an XXX Adult movie house not knowing what it is, he warns his son to avoid these particular kinds of places because they are “poison”.

From a Christian perspective I can’t recommend the movie because of all the uses of God’s name in vain, even with Adam’s displays of distaste for them. Adam was a very refreshing character and this made the movie enjoyable and entertaining to watch. It’s just too bad they had to mix in some of the other offensive material.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. We were offended by the profanity and the Lord’s name taken in vain, however we thought it somewhat necessary to show the contrast between today and 35 years ago. We really felt that this film was full of social commentary. The description of the “survivors” as mutants really showed us how far we have come to just accept all the sin and perversion in today’s world. We also found the forming of a religion around the appearance of the Webbers coming up from the elevator as evidence that people today want so much to believe in something that they will believe in anything. Some reviewers have characterized the religious scenes as making fun of religion. We felt quite the opposite. Overall, the film was enjoyable and given Hollywood’s propensity for ruining films with sex and violence it was evident that they used a modicum of restraint in this movie.
Mark P. Champion, age 43
I really enjoyed “Blast From The Past.” It was entertaining though not nearly as funny as last year’s New Line Valentine’s Day effort, “The Wedding Singer.” Alicia Silverstone is a very attractive actress and I usually don’t like Brendan Fraser, but he wasn’t annoying at all. Though not pervasive, their were some dark tones I felt that made me a bit uneasy. It wasn’t really the loss of innocence thing it was just the end (it felt weird). The premise was very preposterous, but as a comedy, it worked pretty well and the chemistry between the stars was undeniable. I give it a 7½ out of 10 and I recommend it for anyone wanting a good time at the movies (and that is rare these days).
Zack, age 17
Blast From the Past is a BLAST!!! I love the main character that the movie presented. He was taught to fear God and to seek goodness in all peoples, alhtought sublimely. I recommend this movie for teenagers of 16 years or older because it is an upbeat parody of the life we knew/knows!
Mang Yang, age 27
Although “Blast from the past” was funny and fairly clean, it was still sort of offensive, especially in the jokes area. I would not let anyone under 10 into the theater with you.
Gabe, age 15
I agree that there were too many uses of the Lord’s name in vain that weren’t used as an opportunity for correction. However, if we are to grade on a curve, this movie encouraged me that maybe someone in Hollywood is getting it. I was particulary pleased that the main character, Adam, did not have sex when it was presented to him. That would have absolutely ruined a pretty entertaining movie. It would have changed from marginally acceptable, for adults, to unacceptable to any Christian. I hope this serves as a lesson to movie makers that they don’t have to offend us every 3 seconds to keep our attention. Wouldn’t it be nice if they all made 2 versions of every movie? One with the vulgar language and one without? I wonder what percentage would go for the clean version?
Gary, age 42
Great movie! Very creative and overall clean. Blast from the Past highlights how material possessions' value can only go so far. Eve and her friend have the opportunity to steal thousands of dollars from Adam but they don’t even consider it! She doesn’t even accept a baseball card (worth a few thousand) for giving Adam a ride to the hotel. I also loved the part about the book store being “poisonous.”
Michelle Wallin, age 24