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20 Million Miles to Earth: 50th Anniversary Edition

Of all the Rampaging Monster B-movies from the 1950s, 20 Million Miles to Earth, showcasing the work of stop-motion animation innovator Ray Harryhausen, remains among the most fondly remembered. And rightfully so. The results of Harryhausen's painstaking and detailed genius bringing clay sculptures to vivid life are right there in his Venusian Ymir, a bipedal animal taken from its home and brought to Earth. Because our atmosphere discombobulates its metabolism, the beast grows from the size of a doll to the street-stomping proportions necessary for a destructive rampage through Rome. This 2007 two-disc DVD edition celebrates three things. First, of course, is the film's 50th anniversary. In the abundant extras new for this edition, long-time fans such as Tim Burton, John Landis, and Rick Baker remind us how much Harryhausen features such as 20 Million Miles to Earth helped inspire their own later work as filmmakers. Secondly, Harryhausen himself — at age 87, still lively and well-spoken — is a big presence on these discs, from the feature commentary audio track to the featurettes that pay homage to him. Thirdly — meaning lastly, although this DVD's marketing and extras hope you'll believe otherwise — this edition presents a new colorized version of the original black-and-white film. Keep-case.

—Mark Bourne

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