Saturday, August 25, 2007

20 Million Miles to Earth

I had the distinct pleasure of watching Ray Harryhausen’s 20 Million Miles to Earth. This wonderful monster movie was recently re-released on DVD for it’s 50th anniversary in color. This was one of Harry’s films that I hadn’t seen yet and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a delectable 1950s, atomic horror treat.

A secret mission to Venus by the American Military spells trouble for Europe when a returning US Spaceship crashes off the coast Sicily. A reptilian alien, brought back by the crew, hatches from a gelatinous egg and grows unnaturally huge in earth’s atmosphere. Because of bungling and mistreatment the enraged creature rampages through Rome in a climatic battle causing death and destruction.

20 Million Miles to Earth has everything a classic science fiction fan could want; stiff acting, repressed sexual tension, “funny” foreigners, cold war allegories and amazing effects. Setting the film in Italy is pure genius; in fact it’s downright sexy! There’s just something so right about a cosmic beast battling troops in the remains of the forum and the coliseum. It’s a well-paced movie for a ‘50s film, and still exciting with tons of B-movie clichés twisted just enough to keep it interesting. It’s well done and a nice break from the overproduced sci-fi stuff we see today.

The DVD comes in a two-disk set with lots of goodies including, a retrospective documentary, a colorization process short and an interview with Harryhausen. The colorization of the film is quite good, although it's not as great as Ray Harryhausen raves it is. The monster and the coliseum are some of the best-colored parts of the film but there are some weak spots. For the purists, the DVD also includes the original black and white version.

20 Million Miles to Earth proves that without Ray Harryhausen, fantasy films would have been a whole lot less fun. This film was an international blockbuster in its day, and it’s easy to see why.

Note: Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, It Came from Beneath the Sea, and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms are all set to get the same colorization treatment.

Here is the theatrical trailer:



rob! said...

i havent seen 20 Million in a long time, i think i need to Netflix it!

i love Ray Harryhausen's movies, just love 'em. its like what Tom Hanks said once on the Oscars: "for my money, Jason and the Argonauts is tje greatest movie ever made."

Pandabonium said...

Wow. How could I have missed that? I have never seen this movie.

Great stuff. Good to see this films getting some attention and preservation.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Hopefully not a "modern" remake, though...unlike "The Day the Earth Stood Still", which I hear will star Keanu Reeves.

Some movies should NEVER be remade.

ladybug said...

This sounds like a good one! I really liked his last ones, I think they were about Perseus? And I think he did several Sinbad the Sailor tales too.

Dean Wormer said...

This sounds like a good one! I really liked his last ones, I think they were about Perseus? And I think he did several Sinbad the Sailor tales too.

My favorite is "Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger" where the giant cyclops menaces Jane Seymour.

Hopefully not a "modern" remake, though...unlike "The Day the Earth Stood Still", which I hear will star Keanu Reeves.

"Your choice is simple. Join us and live in peace, or pursue your present course and face obliteration. We shall be waiting for your answer. The decision rests with you. Oh, dudes... be excellent to each other."

Arkonbey said...

I'm glad they included the B/W version. I've never liked colorization. It never, ever looks right and what is wrong with a B/W film anyhoo?

Dean- I like you. You make me laugh. (Also, good on you for pulling out that quote)

Swinebread said...

rob! Ray’s movies are simply put… Fun. I want and need much more of fun in my life. Plus, the history of film cannot be understood without looking at his films.

That was great of Hanks to do that. It’s on one of my DVDs as part of a documentary, and its very true.

panda – wow, yeah you need to see it. I think it’s right up you ally. There was a lot of back and forth influence between Harryhausen films and Godzilla in the early days. So that’s a neat added bonus. There is a Japanese character in a bit role that a think alludes to that connection.

moody – no modern remake. Thanks for ruining my day with that bit of info about Keanu. J

LB – Last two movies were Clash of the Titans, and Sinbad: The Eye of the Tiger. Both of which I have on DVD.

Dean – after watching all three of his Sinbad films, I think that his first Sinbad is the best that’s The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. Which is where the the cyclops comes from. The Cyclops is not in Eye of the Tiger, that was a giant Troglodyte.

Dude! Your quote just made my day, undoing all the bad vibes from moodys comment.

arkonbey – the nice thing about the company that colorizes is that they restore the original negative. They clean up dust and scratches so there is that.

As to why they colorized it, well Ray wanted it colorized.

Pandabonium said...

Moody - aaarrrrrgggg!!! So what part will Keanu play - Helen's jerk boyfriend who turns Klatu in? This is horrible. ack! grrr rant scream #&*@....

Arkonbey said...

Ray wanted it colorized? Well. Open foot, insert mouth...