MILES TO EARTH (50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION) (1957)
20 Million Miles To Earth (50th Anniversary Edition) (1957)
Hopper, Joan Taylor, Frank Puglia, John Zaremba, Thomas Browne Henry
Directors: Nathan Juran
Format: Black & White, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Original recording
remastered, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Region: 1 (US and Canada only)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Number of discs: 2
Studio: Sony Pictures
DVD Release Date: July 31, 2007
Run Time: 165 minutes
here at Sci-Fi Movie Page consider ourselves to be cineaste purists of the
sort that prefer subtitles to a dubbed English audio track, B&W to color,
and so on.
Despite this we soon found ourselves watching this 1957 feature in its newly
colorized version instead of its original Black & White. After toggling
between the two modes using the Angle button on our remote, we settled on
the color version. After all, the colors simply seemed so vibrant and, well,
colorful compared to the drab Black & White version.
Considering the film's Sicilian coastal setting it just seems wrong watching
the film in monochrome, and it seems right to see special effects legend Ray
Harryhausen's space creature in his full-on green scaly glory.
Despite what the title might imply 20 Million Miles to Earth is
actually set right here on Earth. Or at least in Italy, as a doomed mission
from Venus crash lands off the coast of Sicily. The only two survivors are a
pilot (played by William Hopper) and an alien egg that soon hatches to
reveal a tiny green half-reptile, half-human creature. The creature soon
grows to an enormous size and in true King Kong-style
goes on rampage in Rome, almost demolishing the Coliseum in the process.
What differentiates the creature (never mentioned by name but called the Ymir) from other similar alien menaces is the fact that the creature
your typical bloodthirsty Alien creature: it only fights back when scared.
Ah, the 'Fifties
its movie monsters were indeed kindler and gentler than our own era's,
witness the nasty-spirited recent Aliens vs. Predator
2: Requiem for example.
The stop-motion character
single-handedly animated by Harryhausen
may be dated today, especially when compared to today's CGI marvels, but it
still has a character and personality all of its own. Maybe it helps that
all the humans in the movie are flat and one-dimensional dullards in
comparison. (We particularly liked the natural way in which the Ymir flicks
its tail all the time.)
DISC: This movie has only been recently colorized, and with original
creator Ray Harryhausen's blessing. (Harryhausen admits on the DVD's special
features that the film was filmed in Black & White to save on costs and
because it made his special effects work easier.) Done using the latest
digital processes, colorization has certainly come a long way since Ted
Turner started colorizing them for TCM.
That said, things do seem
a bit "off" occasionally, like when a character's tan is browner than the
shirt he is wearing. The point is however that if you didn't know the film
was colorized, you wouldn't have guessed it. Or not as quick as in the old
days at least.
Both the color and Black &
White versions are stored on the same disc. The second disc is taken up by
some cool special features in which directors and admirers of Harryhausen
such as John Landis and Tim Burton are interviewed.
WORTH IT? 'Fifties
sci-fi aficionados and fans of this movie would want to check out 20 Million
Miles to Earth in its new colorized version. We certainly like it and think
it brings things in the film to new life again.
NOTE: Our favorite
line from the movie is: "Venus? The planet Venus?" Ha-ha!