20 Million Miles To Earth: 50th anniversary edition (1957)

Sony

Cast: A big green monster, William Hopper, Joan Taylor..

Rating: NR

Run time: 165 mins (2 discs).

Genre: Science Fiction

Verdict: Beautiful (see rating system)

No wonder special effects legend Ray Harryhausen raves about the colorization of this 50-year-old classic - it has never looked so good.

As well as the new color version, purists can also watch the original black and white - and there's a second disc loaded with great extras on the making of the movie, interviews with the 87-year-old Harryhausen and star Joan Taylor and more.

William Hopper plays the sole survivor of a space mission to Venus that returns to Earth with the unhatched egg of a part-humanoid/part-lizard creature they found on their voyage. The spaceship crashes into the Mediterranean Sea and a boy from a fishing village finds the egg washed up on a beach and sells it. Within hours, the strange creature hatches - and starts to grow!

American scientists and Italian police and army are soon hot on the trail of the creature, which starts wreaking havoc.

The "monster" in this movie is actually quite endearing and you can't help feeling sorry for a creature taken from its natural environment and dropped among us supposedly civilized Earthlings. Indeed, the similarities to the King Kong storyline are startling. And note the :"birth" scene of the creature: Harryhausen fan Steven Spielberg must have drawn upon it for the T-Rex baby bursting out of its shell in the first Jurassic Park movie.

Even with special effects that look a tad creaky in this computer generated age, Harryhausen's work is amazing and the movie remains very entertaining - particularly in its gleaming new color format.

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