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20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH (1957) ** ½

 

The first manned spaceship to Venus crash lands in Italy carrying a Venusian space egg.  Predictably, it cracks open and gives life to a reptilian monster (the Ymir, courtesy of special effects master Ray Harryhausen) that rapidly grows to enormous size and runs amok.  A smarmy astronaut (William Hopper) manages to capture the monster, but it inevitably breaks loose and goes on a rampage through the streets of Rome and wrecks havoc at the Coliseum.  

 

The Ymir stands as one of Harryhausen’s greatest creations (the sequence where the Ymir battles an elephant that squashes some zookeepers is a standout), but the movie he inhabits is rather pedestrian and by the numbers.  The movie is novel in that the monster doesn’t attack the USA for a change but other than that, it’s pretty standard issue.  It’s not bad by any means; it just pales in comparison to Harryhausen’s earlier similar flicks like The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms and It Came from Beneath the Sea.  If director Nathan Juran brought the same amount of fun as he did for Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, this could’ve been a classic, but as it stands, 20 Million Miles to Earth is just a mildly amusing monster movie. 

 

Juran and Harryhausen later collaborated on The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and First Men in the Moon.  Hopper also starred in The Deadly Mantis for Juran the same year. 

 

The love interest gets the best line of the movie when she says, “I’ve been cooking over a hot monster all day!”

 

AKA:  The Beast from Space.  AKA:  The Giant Ymir. 

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