Feb 21, 2008

20 Million Miles To Earth

Plot summary
A number of Sicilian fisherman are hauling in their empty nets when a huge rocketship crashes into the ocean. Two of the alarmed men overcome their fear and row out to the half-submerged wreck. They rescue two people, one of them Col. Calder, before the rocket begins to sink. Judging from the angle, it appeared to be embedded in the sea floor. Why did it suddenly start to sink? Anyway, the ship had traveled to Venus and back. The mission was top secret and the public is not informed of the achievement until later.

Of interest for other fans of classic science fiction: the rocket looked like one of the space arks from "When Worlds Collide."

Anxious fisherman and Commissioner Unte tend to the survivors, the latter urgently requests for a doctor. Meanwhile, Pepe spots a cylinder that washed ashore. The little brat hides it in a cave and subsequently opens the container. Inside is what appears to be a huge booger. A vague shape suggests that some sort of animal is encased in the gelatin. Pepe promptly takes the booger to Dr. Leonardo. The old biologist has been paying the urchin for unusual sea life caught in the nets. Yeah, anything brought back on a rocketship is going to be unique. Leonardo immediately pays two hundred lira for the oddity; the kid never mentions the rocket, nor the cylinder.

I have to point something out here. The entire blame for a number of deaths, human, canine, and the Ymir, can be placed squarely on Pepe's head. If, rather than being a greedy child, he had immediately turned the container over to the Commissioner, none of what follows would have happened.

Marisa was summoned to help with the crash survivors and soon runs afoul of Calder's temper. The other man, Dr. Sharman, is near death. The Colonel still insists on shaking him awake, an action that Marisa tries to discourage. The discourteous officer calls her a nurse and pesters the dying man until he expires.

Back at Leonardo's, the Ymir eventually wakes up and claws its way out of the gelatin. The creature frightens Marisa, while Dr. Leonardo is amazed. He locks it in a cage and is surprised the next morning. The creature more than doubles in size overnight! There is only one thing to do with such a fantastic find. The old man and his granddaughter pack their belongings and head for Rome.

General McIntosh arrives at the sleepy village and immediately begins offering big rewards for anyone who finds the lost cylinder. The specimen from Venus is considered the most important part of the expedition. Pepe, hearing the word "lira," immediately shows the Americans where he left the empty container and tells them to whom he sold the contents. Before the search begins for Dr. Leonardo, McIntosh gives the brat his money.

How is that for a moral? Do the wrong thing - get paid twice.

After several hours of bouncing around in a towed cage, the Ymir is both larger and upset. It scares Marisa again, then breaks out of the cage and flees into the woods. The creature is wonderfully animated. It stalks across the screen and never seems to sit still. If the head is not turning, then the tail is lashing. I have always had a special fondness, out of Harryhausen's many wonders, for the Ymir. It is just so cool looking. And gentle, the "beast" would not hurt a lamb (unless the walking mutton poked it first).

The military types soon locate Dr. Leonardo. Calder finds the time to insult Marisa once more before the group begins searching for the Ymir. They almost capture it in a barn, but it escapes. One man is seriously injured in the chaos and Unte immediately decides that the alien is dangerous and must be destroyed. The rocketship commander has other, less lethal, ideas in mind. One is how to capture the Ymir, the other is that dating a woman who is willing to take his crap might be fun. Marisa and Bob (Calder's first name) start making eyes at each other.

Pursued by trigger-happy Italians on the ground and menaced by low flying American helicopters, it is surprising that the Venusian stops to eat the sulfur dropped as bait. A net is dropped over the Ymir and electric generators are attached. The current knocks the creature unconscious. It is taken to Rome, where the phenomenal growth continues.

The primary reason that the United States government wanted the creature captured was to find out how it survived in Venus' toxic atmosphere. A number of men on the expedition died after exposure to Venus, despite advanced respirators. The Ymir's internal workings are studied, revealing no major organs! The reason it was resistant to gunfire is that its circulatory and respiratory systems are not centralized. The Ymir is a web of connected vessels, with dense filters in the tubes that carry air.

An unfortunate accident at the research facility cuts the electric power. The Ymir, now sixteen feet tall, wakes up and knocks down a wall to get free. The Venusian is not happy. (How would you like to be sedated with electric current?) Even on a rampage, it probably would not have harmed anyone or anything unless provoked. First an elephant, that screams like a pterodactyl, attacks, then the military chases it through Rome. Grenades, rifles, and tanks are used. Cornered atop the Coliseum, the suffering visitor from another world is finally killed.

I genuinely felt sorry for the Ymir (it is never called such in the film, but this is its name). Watching "20 Million Miles to Earth" as a child, it was monumentally sad when the creature fell from atop the ancient Roman structure and laid still amidst the broken stone.

Read this review from Badmovies.com

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20 Million Miles to earth said...

I think it is the movie of 1957. I saw this movie 10 years ago. The movie was average.It is one time movie.

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