20 Million Miles to Earth (1957)

20 million miles to earth poster 1957 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great stop-motion animation on Ymir

Takes a while for the story to get going

Movie Info

Movie Name:  20 Million Miles to Earth

Studio:  Columbia Pictures

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  June 1957

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

20-million-miles-to-earth-creature-ymir-small

I want a baby Ymir now!!!

A secret mission to Venus turns tragic when the ship crashes in the Mediterranean upon its return to Earth.  Lost in the confusion is a pod containing a creature from Venus, and the pod is sold to an American zoologist named Dr. Leonard (Frank Puglia) and his granddaughter Marisa (Joan Taylor).  The creature is named Ymir and begins to grow at a remarkable rate.  As the only survivor of the crash Colonel Bob Calder (William Hopper) works with the government to contain Ymir, Ymir may soon be too strong to be stopped.

Directed by Nathan H. Juran, 20 Million Miles to Earth featured the stop motion animation of Ray Harryhausen.  The movie was shot under the name The Giant Ymir and also is sometimes called The Beast from Space.  Ray Harryhausen’s wishes for the movie to be shot in color were turned down but the 2007 release of the film was colorized with Harryhausen’s help.

20-million-miles-to-earth-human-sized-ymir-creature

You guys are mean!!!

20 Million Miles to Earth is pretty classic ’50s sci-fi.  It has a spaceship, a misunderstood alien, and romance.  While the movie might have a lot of standard fare pieces to it, the thing that makes this movie memorable is some great special effects.

It is a bit unfortunate that it takes 20 Million Miles to Earth a while to get going.  The ship crashes and then there is a bit of a lull as Ymir (he is never actually called this in the film) is hatched and begins to grow.  The romance of the film is pretty obvious and it feels almost more like “just get it done” rather than enjoyable.  The film really is all about the final showdown in Rome with Ymir…which also feels a bit like King Kong.

20-million-miles-to-earth-creature-ymir-battles-elephant-in-rome

Those peanuts were mine!!!

Harryhausen’s effects once again win this film over.  The character was originally going to be a cyclops, but Harryhausen changed the character.  Ymir is such a great design and the filmmakers really did a great job blending the stop-motion with the live-action.  This especially comes into play when Ymir is little and has to really interact with the characters.  Harryhausen also breathes a lot of heart into Ymir who is mostly a tragic character or animal (unlike King Kong, Ymir feels a bit more animalistic).  The battle between Ymir and the elephant in roam is also quite impressive since Harryhausen had to make a fantasy character and a creature based on living models look real.  You can also see Harryhausen himself as the guy feeding the elephant peanuts (and later in a crowd scene).

20 Million Miles to Earth is still a fun movie all these years later.  For fans of Ray Harryhausen, it is a must and some of his best work.  The movie has been released multiple times on DVD and is also available on Blu-Ray for a nice clean transfer if you were used to seeing it on late night or Saturday afternoon TV growing up.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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