Wednesday, November 18, 2009

1956 - EARTH VS THE FLYING SAUCERS, Science Fiction before Kubrick, Lucas and Spielberg got their mitts on it.

A tight 83 minute science fiction film. Ray Harryhausen was persuaded to do the special effects although his interest was more in monsters than UFO's. His creativity made him stretch a low budget about as far as you could stretch it with impressive results. 

The film actually has a fairly decent story, about alien invaders coming to Earth and wanting to communicate with us. The United States military in it's own unsubtle way decides to shot first and talk later. The cast is what was usually called "B" actors but they get the job done and in a way having semi unknown actors actually helps the film's credibility.

But as usual Ray Harryhausen is the real show, he blends actual footage of World War II airplanes getting destroyed with his flying saucer attacks. Harryhausen also manages to animate what are essentially uninteresting spaceships in clever ways with lighting effects and other subtle touches.


Of course the real reason to watch this film is for the third act, the destruction of Washington D.C. an ongoing Republican party fantasy. Harryhausen really goes to town with flying saucers blasting and smashing into the various monuments and buildings. A lot of the shots still look pretty cool.

Earth Vs The Flying Saucers is in many ways more entertaining than 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and all the Star Wars films. It's not very long, it tells an interesting story and it makes sure to entertain the audience with an exciting battle at the end of the movie.

83 minutes.

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