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20 Million Miles to Earth/It Came From the Sea (1957,1955) - Blu-ray Review

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20 Million Miles From Earth - Blu-ray Review

3 stars

Ray Harryhausen and his stop-motion work is legendary. While his stuff is slow to trickle out on blu-ray, the high-def picture and the clarity it provides is always insightful into his creative processes. The latest to be released is a twofer featuring 20 Million Miles to Earth and It Came From Beneath the Sea. While both of these films are minor entries in the whole paranoid science fiction canon of the late 1950s, their nostalgia and starry-eyed optimism makes up for any lagging moments.

In 20 Million Miles to Earth, an American spaceship crash-lands off the coast of Sicily. The rescue team sent in for retrieval purposes 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.

And in the science fiction thriller It Came From Beneath the Sea, a giant, radioactive octopus makes the deadly mistake of attacking Navy Captain Pete Mathews' (Kenneth Tobey) submarine, prompting the bold commander to pursue the monstrous beast across the Pacific Ocean before it attacks anyone else. But as the military races to develop a special torpedo that will penetrate the mutated octopus's brain and destroy it, the six armed monstrosity suddenly discovers how to survive on land, wreaking havoc first on the Golden Gate Bridge and then in the Embarcadero, sending the terrified citizens of San Francisco running for their lives.

Released on blu-ray in their original black-and-white presentation, the two movies are visually crisp with punched up clarity. While the "Ymir" featured in 20 Million Miles to Earth is not your typical Harryhausen design, the fact that it is based off Nordic mythology and inspired by King Kong makes it worthy of attention. Directed by The Giant Mantis' Nathan Juran, the movie features your typical space age goofiness in light of a return trip to Venus but makes up for it with cool creature designs.

It Came From Beneath the Sea still marvels with enthusiasm and creativity. Mind you, this is all at a popcorn B-movie level. Atomic testing is on its mind and when an aggravated 6-tentacled octopus gets pissed off, people tend to wonder why. What could possibly be wrong with this beast to cause it to attack an atomic submarine? The marvelous minds that came up with the atomic sub provide the answer as they navigate the treacherous waters.

Watch Ray Harryhausen's iconic 6 armed Octopus in high definition!

it Came From Beneath the Sea - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - August 19, 2014
Subtitles
: 20 Million Miles to Earth: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Cantonese, Korean, Thai; It Came From Beneath the Sea: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Arabic, Hindi, Korean
Audio: 20 Million Miles to Earth: English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono; It Came From Beneath the Sea: English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc
Region Encoding: A

The 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer is crisp with black-and-white clarity but shows its age. There are some scratches and a couple of scenes of dirt and other debris in the lens but, for the most part, the print has never looked better. The black levels are deep and consistent and the detail is to the middle range of fine. The English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround Sound track is not booming; it is merely average and keeps things active, just not busy with more artifacts in the soundfield.

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