This Island Earth (1955)

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This Island Earth (1955)

Post  BoG on Sat Mar 06, 2010 9:41 pm




This fifties sci-fi feature stands out a bit because it's an early one in color - and brilliant color it is. The plot concerns visiting aliens among us; these aliens, who look like us except with slightly larger craniums and foreheads, have instituted a sneaky plan to gather Earth's top scientific brains so that they can help the aliens in their losing war against other, more hostile aliens. One of these top brains is Dr. Cal Meacham (Rex Reason); he passes a test to construct a device and soon heads off to a secret location to join other Earth scientists, among them old flame Dr. Ruth (Faith Domergue) and Dr. Carlson (Russell Johnson of Gilligan's Island fame). The main alien - the one who contacts scientists - is named Exeter (Jeff Morrow). Eventually, two of these scientists travel to the home planet of the aliens, Metaluna, in a flying saucer. This is when it gets really colorful.
The first half of the story is intriguing; we wait to see what develops. The 2nd half seeks to impress us with visual splendor. There are problems on both fronts. I admit there is interest to the plot in the first half, but it just doesn't make too much sense. The aliens demonstrate in the early going how much more advanced they are than us; how could even our top brains be of any help to them? Then, there seems no reason for two of the main characters to head to Metaluna, except as an excuse by the filmmakers to show off their special FX - the best of the fifties. The war between the aliens is presented in condensed fashion - there's really no time to show an elaborate showcase of this war; that would require a 3-hour film. Also, as explained in the Wikipedia article on this film, there are some samples of faulty science in this one that are pretty bad - mostly in the field of cosmology. In all, I find Forbidden Planet to be much superior to this, on many fronts. BoG's Score: 6.5 out of 10