20 Million Miles To Earth

"Very Good"

20 Million Miles To Earth Review


Bursting from clouds of sulfuric acid on the planet Venus and crashing into the sea by a small Sicilian town, the first U.S. rocket returns carrying deadly cargo -- a Venusian monster that grows in size exponentially overnight. It's the kind of monster movie that ran a muck in 1950s cineplexes and drive-ins, along side Them!, The Blob, Invaders from Mars, and War of the Worlds. And while the '50s sci-fi cheese is at an all time high, 20 Million Miles to Earth retains a bit of truth in foreign U.S. influence, the horrors crossing scientific boundaries and animal rights.

Luckily for Earth and its inhabitants, Col. Robert Calder has survived the spaceship crash and has recovered enough to stop the Venusian monster before it grows large enough to hurt any civilians as it heads toward Rome for some sightseeing and destruction. After failed capture attempts and similarly ill-fated gunshots and flamethrower bursts -- a '50s favorite -- the Venusian monster inevitably arrives in Rome to terrorize the locals and fight an escaped zoo elephant before meeting its predictable demise. As with much of the sci-fi horror from the '50s, the plot hinges on man's technological advancements and the fears of overstepping our natural realm. Although that's mildly entertaining (in retrospect), even better is the foreign politics of the U.S. as the monster wreaks havoc in Italy. From a little boy brandishing a "real Texas hat" whose dream is to become an American cowboy to the conflict between the American colonel and the local Italian officials, it's a looking-glass back to a time when America thought it had all the answers. Looking back on that mentality and then looking at where America stands now in world politics, it's funny to see how things haven't changed in the minds of Americans; we still brought the creature back from Venus in the first place.

Aside from over-interpreting the monster movie's politics, there's no denying that the true star of 20 Million Miles to Earth is clearly animator Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion monster. While many of the '50s effects amount to nothing more than a pile of clay and miniatures, Harryhausen's Venusian monster is dynamic, showcasing a range of basic emotions -- pain, fear, indecision and anger. In our digital effects age, the claymation and rear-projection of the 1950s may seem archaic, but Harryhausen's monster has more life than many a computer-generated creation. In addition to its expert animation, there is tangibility to the effects that many of today's creature features lack. Whether it's the subtle breathing of the monster as it lies on an operating table or its physically clumsy motions when fighting the elephant during the famous climax, the clay-animated effects still feel real on the screen; partially because they are -- a physical model filmed in a way that matches the rest of the film's stock and feel. It's a humanity that is lost in today's digital effects and harkens back to a time when cinema's special effects were larger than life, instead of the latest, flashing computer-generated images.



20 Million Miles To Earth

Facts and Figures

Run time: 82 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 1st June 1957

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Production compaines: Morningside Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Fresh: 8 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 6.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Nathan H. Juran

Producer: Charles H. Schneer

Starring: as Colonel Robert Calder, Joan Taylor as Marisa Leonardo, Frank Puglia as Dr. Leonardo, John Zaremba as Dr. Judson

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.