Special effects genius Ray Harryhausen (Jason and the Argonauts, Clash of the Titans)brings you one of his earliest groundbreaking films, now available for the first time in vibrant color! When an American spaceship crash-lands off the coast of Sicily, a rescue team discovers that the crew has brought back a gelatinous mass that soon hatches and evolves into a strange bi-ped creature which increases in size rapidly. Soon 20-feet tall, the creature rampages through Rome before being destroyed as it seeks refuge in the Colosseum.
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