STUDIO: Sony Pictures
MSRP: $28.95
RATED: Not Rated

RUNNING TIME: 82 minutes
• Feature available in Original B&W and Color (Chromachoice to toggle between B&W and Color)
• Remembering 20 Million Miles to Earth
Commentary with Ray Harryhausen, Dennis Muren, Phil Tippett & Arnold Kunert
• Digital Sneak Peek of 20 Million Miles More Comic Book
• Tim Burton sits down with Ray Harryhausen
• Interview with Joan Taylor
• The Colorization Process
• Original Ad Artwork
• David Schecter on Film Music’s Unsung Hero
• Video Photo Galleries


Growing green alien stomps Rome.


William Hopper, Joan Taylor, Frank Puglia, John Zaremba, Thomas Browne Henry and the Ymir

It’s not cruel when Grampy takes a circular saw to this turtle’s genitalia. It’s all in the name of Science. Now, go fetch me Mongo the Moon-Faced Boy. I have need of a spleen.


Ray Harryhausen outshines everyone in this film with his stop-motion creations. Most people of my generation remember his work from Clash of the Titans and very little else. It’s so disheartening to see how so much of what he did has been pushed out of the public eye. But, now he’s riding the comeback wave started by his students and now Sony has offered up a 50th Anniversary release of 20 Million Miles to Earth on Blu-Ray Media and standard DVD.


20 Million Miles to Earth is from a time when monsters attacked and the military was almost powerless to stop it. The Cold War was a scary time and took monsters like The Ymir to keep our attention on the silver screen and rather than the ticking Doomsday Clock that was the Arms Race. The plot’s simple. America sent the first manned space mission to Venus, but something went wrong upon the shuttle’s return. The vessel crashes off the coast of Sicily and group of local fishermen discover it. Colonel Robert Calder (William Hopper) is the sole survivor of the return flight, as he tries to piece together what went wrong. Meanwhile, a specimen out of the ship has washed ashore where a small child is found playing with it.

The specimen hatches and unleashes a tiny reptilian creature from Venus. The creature escapes from the Village, but is eventually captured in a tiny cage. However, the creature is starting to grow and eventually breaks free of its confines. The Ymir then sets its eyes on Rome, resulting in a standoff between the military and the thing that traveled twenty million miles to Earth. Sure, all of these films seem the same…but, that’s the beauty of it. You didn’t care.

Everyone on the count of three, let’s fuck Godzooky.

Columbia and the other studios spent the 1950s entertaining American youth with tales of creatures that couldn’t be stopped. The Blob, The Body Snatchers and other unstoppable elements were threatening to undermine America, but Harryhausen flipped the enemy on its head by injecting the Kong level of sympathy. The Ymir isn’t a vengeful creature. It’s a wild animal that doesn’t understand its new environment, so it’s trying to find a way back home. But, that doesn’t mean a damn thing when the people of Rome sic an elephant after you.


Blu-Ray Media has allowed this film to shine in ways that I never thought possible. The fan community has lost their minds over the decision to allow Legend Films to introduce a Chromachoice option for this film. Legend and Sony both state that the decision was made due to the fact that color stock wasn’t an option at the time of the film’s original creation. Harryhausen was brought in to oversee the final colorized print and if it’s good enough for Harryhausen, I’m cool with it. For the people that will lose their minds over such a choice, the original Black and White film is included in glorious 1080p.

I could’ve sworn that I saw this lady in Skin of the Fifties.

The A/V Quality is really strong for an older title. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track produces a clear and crisp sound that’s on par with Sony’s recent releases to the Blu-Ray format. All audio channels are filled during the Ymir’s rampage in Rome, but the first half of the film keeps the soundstage to the front channels. Then, there’s the issue of the wildly different transfers. The Chromachoice print gives flesh tone this weird copper pink tint that makes all the humans look bizarre.

There’s your comparison pic, people.

Sure, the Ymir still looks great in both transfers, but it becomes distracting during scenes with massive mobs of people. The features are plentiful on this set, as we get a look more at the legacy of the film rather than what went into the production. Every time a classic Harryhausen film gets released, I count myself lucky that we still have the man around to talk about his creations and share personal memories of the production. But, there are also his students such as Dennis Muren and Phil Tippett that talk about how things such as The Ymir later would influence their work on Star Wars and beyond. I could’ve done without the interview with Joan Taylor, since it goes nowhere fast.

When Mongo the Moon-Faced Boy offered no new findings, they decided to anally probe Godzooky.

Tim Burton sits down for a decent length to talk with Harryhausen, but I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve seen this before. Throw in a couple of photo galleries and some ad artwork, and then you’ve got the big thrust of the set. I would be amiss to forget the sections about the comic book sequel or the actual featurette that does a superficial remembrance of the original film. But, there wasn’t enough material in those sections to actually move me to give a damn. I like in-depth coverage of the cult classics, people.

Sony should take a cue from the Warner Brothers Cult Classics sets and bring some experts in to record a commentary or two that gives the fans some more info on these productions. But, then again…you’d have to clear disc space to have such a valued resource. Blu-Ray Media has brought this film into a new level of clarity and I can only hope that Sony has a plan to bring the rest of the films to this level. Just imagine seeing Jason and the Argonauts in 1080p on your Home Theater! It’s enough to get my geek heart pounding. Make it happen, Sony. We’re counting on you.

I’ll call you soon, I mean it. I’ve just got to get to work.

9.1 out of 10