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Science Fiction - Earth vs. The Flying Saucers - Ray Harryhausen

Earth vs. The Flying Saucers
A Ray Harryhausen Film
Hugh Marlowe, Joan Taylor, Dudes in Robot Suits
Directed by Fred F. Sears
Black and white / Colorized
2 DVDs
Columbia Pictures 1956
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2008
83 minutes + great extras DVD

Once again, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment does an excellent job of rereleasing a Ray Harryhausen film, in this case Earth vs. The Flying Saucers. Science fiction fans like myself were quite impressed with the 20 Million Miles to Earth 50th Anniversary DVD release and now they can enjoy another remastered SF classic with the Earth vs. The Flying Saucers DVD. Once more, purists can watch the original black and white version, modern fans can watch the colorized version, and people with OCD can constantly toggle between both. SF, movie buffs, and special effects fans will also enjoy the commentary track by stop motion and miniature king Ray Harryhausen.

Earth vs. The Flying Saucers is the story of rocket scientist Russell Marvin (any relation to Marvin the Martian or Martin the H2G2 robot?) and his assistant / wife Carol (Hugh Marlowe and Joan Taylor) who are launching rockets that seem to disappear rather quickly. They soon learn they are being shot down by aliens. They are then taken for a ride because the aliens want to meet the leaders of the earth and want Marvin to play go between. The delay given Marvin to gather the leaders also gives him time to come up with a weapon. Will 56 days be enough time? Will he succeed in defeating the aliens?

This is a classic science fiction movie that tells a very good story with very limited means. Movie fans will enjoy the Earth vs. The Flying Saucer DVD because in an age where CGI rules it is fun to see a movie where story is as important as special effects.

The SFX themselves are quite interesting to figure out and very imaginative. It is also nice to see a female character whose job is not just to scream in horror all the time.

Continuity takes a short holiday in this excellent though low budget science fiction DVD. This is particularly evident in the barbecue scene where the Marvins and Carol's father look up at a sky at dusk and immediately after a night sky or other exterior shots where day, dusk, and night

Science fiction fans will go slightly nuts watching the Earth vs. The Flying Saucers DVD and toggling between the movie soundtrack and the commentary soundtrack with Harryhausen and three other special effects wizards. The commentary track is rather convivial, somewhat better than the usual stuff, and Harryhausen does reveal a few tricks and some backstory to this sf classic.

The second DVD in this science fiction set features a thirty minute interview of Ray Harryhausen by director Tim Burton who is a great fan of this movie. There is also an interview with Joan Taylor, a modern look at stop motion, and a whole bunch of other informative stuff. Particularly interesting is the 20 some minutes Remembering Earth vs. The Flying Saucers where Harryhausen discusses his techniques and the experience: fascinating.

Again, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment really did this movie proud.

Bizarre factoid. The Portuguese were the only ones to translate what the translating device says in Alien.

Our other Ray Harryhausen film review:

 20 Million Miles to Earth

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