20 Million Miles To Earth/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< 20 Million Miles To Earth

20 Million Miles To Earth. Ray Harryhausen did the Special Effects on this bad boy. Surely that's all you need to know, right? No? Oh, OK then.

The movie starts in "A Fishing Village In Sicily", where the sky and the sea are a beautiful blue, the surrounding fields and forest a lush, deep green and the chalk cliffs as white as snow, which means that I've somehow managed to get hold of a color print of this film instead of the original black and white copy. The Italian fisherman are going about their fisherman ways and being very Italian about it, mainly by putting the letter A at the beginning and ending of each a-word, when all of a sudden out of the sky comes a a Silver Spaceship, crashing down to Earth.

These brave men, and not at all American Film Extras, rush to the aid of the stricken vessel and find two survivors who they rescue in a flurry of long-shots, smoke machines, super-imposed space ship thingys and backlots made up to look like a crashed cockpit. But are the two survivors the only thing they brought back...

I could carry on here and tell you about the rest of the plot and how it all stems from a trip to Venus, or I could tell you about the burgeoning relationship between heroic Colonel Bob Calder (William Hopper) and feisty-but-it-was-the-50's-so-she's-gonna-fall-in-love-with-him Marisa Leonardo (Joan Taylor), or how it's actually all the fault of the little boy Pepe who finds a strange container and flogs it so he can buy a sodding cowboy hat but I won't, as that's what Wikipedia's for.

What you really want to know is about The Ymir. From the first moment he crawls out of his green ooze until his final death throws within the Rome Colosseum, The Ymir is one of Ray Harryhausen more likable creatures. Sure, it ticks all the right monster boxes, stomps on things when it should, screeches like a banshee in a blender and scares the hell out of anyone it runs into but at the same time I couldn't help but feel sorry for the big lug. After all, it was just minding its own business being a Ymir and doing Ymir things (whatever they might be) when the next thing it knows it's 20 Million Miles Away From Venus (which is what they should've called the film) being chased by a hand full of Americans trying to subdue it with electrified nets and a whole host of pissed off Italians trying to barbecue its Ymir ass with flamethrowers.

This left me pitying it, which is something that Ray Harryhausen always seemed to be able to do with his creatures whenever he felt the need to and something that I've always thought that he never truly got enough credit for, being able to fill his creations with a soul, for want of a better word. But all philosophical musings aside, you're going to want to see a rumble, well we've got a doozy for you as The Ymir tangles with an Elephant after waking up in a zoo (man, we've all been there, amirite?) It's what Good Ol' JR would call a slobberknocker that ends with *SPOILER ALERT FOR A 59 YEAR OLD MOVIE!!!* The Ymir winning, after burying it's teeth into the Elephant's neck.

So after the dust has settled and The Ymir has been dispatched by the heroic Colonel Bob Calder, and his bazooka, and his fucking army (Fuck you Colonel Bob Calder, this is all your fault, you and that dick kid Pepe) we are left with just one question. Is it actually any good? Well story wise, it's no great shakes, standard monster goes loco after being dragged out of it's natural habitat type thing but beyond that? Ray Harryhausen did the Special Effects on this bad boy. Surely that's all you need to know, right?

STORY: 4 Out Of 10. SPECIAL EFFECTS: 8 Out Of 10.

Neil Gray is a writer from the UK. The story goes that he was invented in a laboratory experiment that went horribly wrong and has spent years devouring every movie form and film genre that was foolish enough to pass his way until he is now nothing more than a hideous monstrosity, more celluloid than man.
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