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THIS ISLAND EARTH, 1955
Movie Review

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THE ISLAND EARTH, 1955
Movie Review
Directed by Joseph M. Newman
Starring: Emily Browning, Arielle Kebbel, David Strathairn
Review by Ace Masters



SYNOPSIS:

Aliens come to Earth seeking scientists to help them in their war.

REVIEW:

Metaluna, a vibrant exciting world that you should always make sure is on your travel itinerary. That is, if you like sleeping in tubes, being escorted around – and mugged – by hulking big brained creatures and, of course, if you love the thrill and excitement of daily raids and bombings as you frantically search for a place to hide amongst the ruins of a once great civilization.

If you enjoy that kind of thing, than Metaluna is the place to be.

Of course our heroes, why they wouldn’t mind helping Metaluna in the war they find themselves caught up in against the Zahgons, would much rather be back on planet Earth. Or as this classic 1950’s sci-fi film refers to it: This Island Earth.

This Island Earth was made back in the day when b films simply meant lower budget, lower scale, but no less epic, original, entertaining or thought provoking, than there A-list cousins. In many case, the b films were better. Unlike today where b films, while still low budget, instead of being unique, independent or original, are more often than not just cheap knock-offs of their mainstream “big brother” films.

This Island Earth is the tale of the mysterious Exeter, who has gathered the world greatest scientists to his remote research location, after each of them have proven they can past a test: build an interocitor through which Exeter then contacted them.

Doctors Carl Meacham and Ruth Adams, former lovers, are two of the scientists and quickly become suspicious of the odd looking Exeter and his staff. When trying to leave, they prompt Exeter into action. He destroys his facility and abducts them both . . . in his flying saucer.

The good doctors had every reason to be suspicious as Exeter is an alien, now taking them back to his home world. Although his reasons are benign – his people, though clouded in shadows, came to Earth for help. His mission: find a way to save and defend his beleaguered Metaluna, which is at war with another world.

The special effects for This Island Earth are literal “out of this world,” beautiful, lavish, extravagant and over two years in the making. Keep in mind this was made over fifty years ago. In a modern world where many effects are now done by the touch of a mouse, the personal touch stands out even more. For the 50’s, even though low budget, the effects were top-notch and ground breaking.

Unlike Mystery Science Theater 3000 would like everyone to believe, This Island Earth is not a bad film. Indeed it is one of the classics of its era. If people ever sit down and truly watch it, they will find one of the single greatest of the science-fiction genre in history. It is only over-shadowed from the 50’s by Forbidden Planet and The Day the Earth Stood Still.

It ranks up there with the best of them all for what it is: a cautionary sci-fi tale. Like many of its brethren of the day, it is a cold war fable, teaching us the errors of war. The war between Metaluna and Zahgon devastated everything. Metaluna is a metaphor of what Earth could be if the cold war hadn’t ended. And today, with the war on terror, what it could be if we can’t find a way to live in peace with each other.

– Ace Masters

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