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This Island Earth (1955) - Blu-ray Review

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This Island Earth (1955)

Otherwise known as When Meteors Attack!!! Laugh all you want to, but there are moments – especially in deep space – when flying saucers drifting through clouds as meteors rip right behind them will have you doing more than just wanting to believe.  This Island Earth (and its Mutants) is a vision on blu-ray! 

Universal Pictures, knowing their monsters were beginning to get a bit too long in the tooth, needed something new to shake up their customers with.  They looked to the stars and, guided by all the speculative science fiction bursting onto the scene in the 1950s, found themselves pairing up with aliens in order to continue to get people to see their flicks. 

"Lasers, explosions, and new forms of atomic energy percolate through this lavish production and the film absolutely works"


Indeed, it was time for a change for the studio and This Island Earth – produced by William Alland and directed by Joseph M. Newman and Jack Arnold – definitely delivered EXACTLY what the film studio needed: a hit film.  But, as viewed in a modern setting thanks to Shout! Factory’s 4K handling, this film is so much more than an aging money-maker.  It is a quintessential Atomic Age science fiction flick that, as society moved toward a push-button relationship with machines and energy, begged to ask all sorts of questions best left to those who fly the friendly skies . . . and wind up in space.

With a solid lead-up of to all sorts of stock characters and heroic moments (including a fly-by that even Maverick would disapprove of), This Island Earth practically skips its way straight into space.  The film and its outer space sequences are damned prophetic.  But first, we must deal with an unfortunate accident as Dr. Cal Meacham (Rex Reason) is saved from what would have been a deadly crash by a mysterious green light.  Something protected him from Death himself, yet even his assistant, Joe Wilson (Robert Nichols),  is stumped.

The two scientists are soon in a lab and find themselves constructing a crazy-looking machine known as an “interocitor” so that a mysterious alien, Exeter (Jeff Morrow), can come through on the tube and tell Meacham and Nichols that they are indeed gifted and can join him and his five-head for a special project concerning turning lead into uranium.  He smartly leaves off certain details in the mission.  With Meacham going on a jet that flies itself through heavy fog and Nichols wisely staying behind, This Island Earth begins its true purpose: to dazzle the senses with otherworldly bizarro situations.

It doesn’t happen quickly, though.  But the waiting for the outer space good stuff (and there’s plenty of it) is part of the otherworld charm of this saucer-spinning mutant Matinee madness.

Oh, there will be flying saucers and such but, first, we must show just how nutso the aliens are.  Because when Meacham lands, he is greeted by a familiar face - Dr. Ruth Adams (Faith Domergue) – and she doesn’t recognize him at all.  It’s as if she (and all the other scientists) are under a spell.  The spell is not easily broken, though.  It will take the alien’s truth about this special project and its true purpose in the war against the Zagons. This Island Earth (1955)

These white-haired and large-headed aliens are trying to stop their own annihilation and they are using humans to do it with.  Shocking!  While slow in getting the humans off the planet, This Island Earth is a dazzling production of futureshock concerns and thoughts about the consequences of Atomic Energy.  But, in this film, it is the humans who are the slaves and they, being forced to save the Metalunans whether they like it or not. 

Menacing zooms and tracking shots of the aliens who are recruiting the humans tell us all we need to know.  These mutant mofos are deadly.  There is a fair amount of foreshadowing about what is going to happen when the aliens take the humans off the planet and ship them straight to their planet, but none of that matters once the action takes place.  Lasers, explosions, and new forms of atomic energy percolate through this lavish production and the film absolutely works.

With radio teletype transmissions constantly running in the background, Mutant slaves, and exceptional outer space sequences shot by Jack Arnold, This Island Earth FINALLY arrives on blu-ray . . . just don’t put your hands on the magnetized rails.  You will regret it. 

The beginning of the end is near!

5/5 beers

This Island Earth (1955)

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- July 9, 2019
Screen Formats: 1.85:1; 1.37:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 3.0; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

This Island Earth was always a beautiful looking film, but Scream Factory has provided the film’s fans a reason to celebrate the film’s arrival on blu-ray.  The film’s original inter-positive print was used for the 4K scrub and the results, being offered in two different aspect ratios (1.85:1 and 1.37:1) looks achingly pristine.  The textures brought out by this transfer are incredible.  The fibers in the costumes; every rip and every tear; the beads of sweat; all are clear as day in this transfer.  No specks of debris or dirt were noticeable throughout and skin tones are perfect.  No damages of time or age noticeable in the print.  The clear Original Perspecta Stereophonic Soundtrack might not have the range modern day ears are accustomed to but it still treats listeners with a solid audio experience to go along with a crisp and damn near perfect transfer.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There is a NEW Audio Commentary With Author And Academy Award Winning Visual Effects Artist Robert Skotak.

Special Features:

A landmark release in science fiction deserves a whole lot of love.  And that’s EXACTLY what this release holds for its purchaser.

  • NEW 4K Scan Of The Inter-Positive – Two Aspect Ratios: 1.85:1 And 1.37:1
  • NEW The Original Perspecta Stereophonic Sound Restored By 3-D Film Archive
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Author And Academy Award Winning Visual Effects Artist Robert Skotak
  • NEW Audio Interview With Film Historian David Schecter On The Music Of This Island Earth
  • NEW Alien Ideas – An Interview With Filmmaker Luigi Cozzi (Starcrash)
  • NEW Facts About Perspecta Stereophonic Sound By Bob Furmanek
  • This Island Earth – Two And A Half Years In The Making: The Extended Documentary – A Look At The Making Of This Island Earth
  • WAR OF THE PLANETS: 1958 Castle Films Release For The Home Market Including Both The 50-Foot Silent Headline Edition And The 200-Foot Sound Complete Edition
  • Trailers From Hell – This Island Earth With Commentary By Filmmaker Joe Dante
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Stills

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 5/5 stars
  Extras 5/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

5/5 stars

This Island Earth (1955)

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
86 mins
Director
: Joseph M. Newman
Writer:
Franklin Coen
Cast:
Jeff Morrow, Faith Domergue, Rex Reason
Genre
: Horror | Sci-fi
Tagline:
The supreme excitement of our time!.
Memorable Movie Quote: "It's only Neutron. We call him that because he's so positive."
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
October 23, 1987
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
June 15, 1955
Synopsis: Prepare to blast off from planet Earth with one of the most popular classic sci-fi films of all time! When atomic scientist Dr. Meacham (Rex Reason, The Creature Walks Among Us) is chosen to take part in a top-secret research experiment in a remote lab, he quickly discovers that he is really involved in an evil scheme by alien Metalunans to take over Earth. After he and the gorgeous Dr. Adams (Faith Domergue, It Came From Beneath The Sea) make their escape shortly before the lab explodes, they are whisked away in a flying saucer to Metaluna, where they are blamed for the destruction. Will interstellar negotiation save the day or will the scientists be forced to take part in a treacherous battle to the death?

This Island Earth (1955)

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