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20 Million Miles to Earth [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)

William Hopper , Joan Taylor , Nathan Juran    Blu-ray
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 19.99
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20 Million Miles to Earth [Blu-ray] (Bilingual) + Earth Vs the Flying Saucers [Blu-ray] [Import]
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Special-effects legend Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion talents and "Dynamation" (rear-projection) process are the highlights of the '50s-era creature feature 20 Million Miles to Earth. An American spaceship returns to Earth after a mission to Venus and crashes into the sea near Sicily. A sole survivor (William Hopper) is rescued, along with a specimen that quickly grows into a reptilian biped called the Ymir. The being eventually grows to 20 feet high and escapes its confines, whereupon it rampages through Rome before a showdown with the military. Despite lacking much of a personality, the Ymir is a marvelous showcase for Harryhausen's skills. Unfortunately, the rest of the film does not match his level of excellence; direction by Nathan Juran is perfunctory (his later collaborations with Harryhausen, including The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, are more lively), and performances and scripting are flat. Still, Harryhausen fans should enjoy this opportunity to see this phase of his career before he created his most enduring works. --Paul Gaita

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 20 Million Miles: Still Packs a Wallop Jan. 23 2003
Format:VHS Tape
There is a handful of horror/big bug movies from the 50s that the astute viewer can usually spot right away. A large and dangerous creature is either brought to earth from outer space or is roused from a long state of suspended animation to wreak havoc on a densely populated city. Army units are trucked in to battle the creature and soldiers carrying M1 rifles leap out to face a monster that is given face and form by the master of slow motion animatronics, Ray Harryhausen. In 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH, the obvious dating of the film does not detract from the audience's enjoyment of a creature that curiously enough brings in a number of cinematic subtexts. The first is the punishment that humanity invariably incurs when it dares to Learn Things Man Was Not Meant To Uncover. In this case, a seventeen crewman rocket ship returns from Venus to crash into the sea off Sicily. A tiny reptile/human hybrid survives the crash only to grow every day to outsized proportions. The havoc the reptile dumps on Rome is a not so subtle reminder of the dangers that Prometheus faced when he too tried to steal fire and thunder from the gods. A second subtext is the constant clashing between scientists who wish to study a dangerous creature and the military who wish to kill it for the same reason. Remember in THE THING when scientist Robert Cornthwaite dashed up to the marauding plantman to shout, 'You are wiser than we. They (pointing to the miliary types) wish to kill you.' In 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH, director Nathan Juran tries a clever reverse by having a US Army colonel played by William Hopper take on the politically myopic scientist role who begs the Italian mayor to spare the creature in the name of science. Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Film has not aged well at all..... Aug. 6 2003
By A Customer
Format:DVD
In the mid-1950's, Colombia Pictures did more then their fair share of creature features. But not a lot of them were any good. Case in point is this disapointment from 1955. Made alongside It Came From Beneath The Sea, it also suffers from a low budget, terrible script, and bad casting. The Ymir really looks like a "creature test" that Ray was doing in order to create the more realistic effects work of the Cyclops in "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad", as that movie was done in a much more creative/entertaining/and style way which is really lacking in this film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best of Harryhausen's early work May 25 2004
Format:DVD
Released in June 1957, "20 Million Miles to Earth" is an important film in the canon of visual effects genius Ray Harryhausen. It was the last of the black and white science-fiction films he worked on during the 50s. It was also the first film based on one of his own ideas. It set the stage for his color fantasy films triumphs that would follow.
Harryhausen had originally developed a story about the frost giant Ymir from Norse mythology. He then changed the creature to a cyclops-satyr mix from another planet who rampages on modern Earth, but still kept the name Ymir. (The Cyclops-satyr would later show up in "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.") When the film finally went before the cameras, the Ymir had become a humanoid-reptilian beast from Venus. Brought to Earth in a crashed rocket, the Ymir emerges as only a few inches high, but starts growing rapidly in the Earth's atmosphere. Originally peaceful, the Ymir is provoked into violence by frightened humans. The movie climaxes in Rome when the captive Ymir bursts loose and starts smashing famous monuments in the Eternal City.
The parallels to King Kong are obvious, and Harryhausen intended the Ymir to also be a sympathetic, misunderstood creature. He succeeded grandly: "20 Millions Miles to Earth" is Harryhausen's best early film. The direction from Nathan Juran and the human actors are perfunctory and clichéd, but the effects are still stunning today, and the Ymir is a superb actor. Designed along human lines, but with dinosaur features, the Ymir elicits strong emotions and exudes tremendous personality. The scene of it hatching from its 'pod' (made of gelatin) and exploring the strange world around it for the first time is one of the high points of Harryhausen's career, and a sequence of which he rightly feels great pride.
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4.0 out of 5 stars WHEN IN ROME Feb. 5 2004
Format:DVD
This 1957 sci-fi thriller is most notable because of the continuing genius of Ray Harryhausen and the remarkable creature he gives us. William Hopper (of Perry Mason fame) is the sole survivor of a Venus expedition which has brough back with it a gellified glob that contains this remarkable creature. The monster is accidentally sold to a visiting scientist by a little boy (Bart Braverman in his first role). Lovely daughter Joan Taylor (Earth vs. the Flying Saucers) happens to be a medical student. The monster hatches, a cute little thing remarkable in its dexterity and in Harryhausens amazing muscular definition. Of course it grows, is captured by the army and sedated in Rome. An electrical malfunction occurs and the now gigantic creature is let loose on Rome. It fights a huge elephant and then meets its end in the Colosseum. Hopper is awful in his role, more artificial than the monster. But it's a fun ride, and what makes this DVD so special is the addition of "The Harryhausen Chronicles" which gives us a blow by blow glance at some of Harryhausen's magnificent creations: the horrifying Medusa in "Clash of the Titans"; the metal colossus in "Jason and the Argonauts"; the crab and bee on "Mysterious Island" and countless others.
Harryhausen was a genius, working pretty much on his own. In today's CGI special effects, it's hard to think of only one person being able to create such marvelous fx.
RECOMMENDED.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An in-Sulfur-able creature
A boy (Bart Bradley) on the beach finds a canister form a wayward spaceship that crashed in the sea. Read more
Published on Dec 14 2007 by bernie
4.0 out of 5 stars 20 Million Miles to Earth
Do you like tack "B" Sci fi? If so ... this is for you. It's fun! A Venusian blob of glue becomes a type of Godzilla that grows and grows and grows. Read more
Published on June 9 2007 by Marcia
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Overlook This Little Miracle.
My review is aimed primarily at viewers who have not seen this film and who are serious Harryhausen fans ( I mean viewers who realize that Harryhausen is a genuine artist and not... Read more
Published on May 29 2004 by Darkladder
5.0 out of 5 stars Definately One of the Best!
Really only one word can describe this film: awesome! Everything about this movie is awesome! And this is no ordinary monster movie from the 50s. Read more
Published on March 28 2004 by Kent
4.0 out of 5 stars Harryhausen's Best B&W Film
After the success of "It Came from Beneath the Sea" and "Earth vs the Flying Saucers", Charles Schneer (producer) and Ray Harryhausen (effects) kept the ball... Read more
Published on Dec 23 2003 by John Gentile
4.0 out of 5 stars A good example of the 50's Science Fiction Films
This is a good genre film and cult movie. Don't expect something as fancy or artistic as Murnau's Nosferatu. This a B movie. However, it has some attractive of its own. Read more
Published on Oct. 24 2003 by Gisbert
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Monster Fun, 50s-Style
There's really not much to this one. Earth sends a spacecraft to Venus, it comes back with an alien life form that starts out at six inches high then grows into a 20-foot beast... Read more
Published on July 21 2003 by Ariel Escasa
3.0 out of 5 stars Dosent Age Well, but good for the kids or first time viewers
When first seeing this movie as child I was enthralled by the Ymir and his short and tormented sojourn here on earth. Read more
Published on June 15 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Not that bad. Actually very exciting and good!
This typical nice 50's scince fiction thriller is about this spacecraft crashing in Italy from Venus that uncovers only 1 human survivor, and a growing organism brought back from... Read more
Published on Feb. 13 2003
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