From the moment the extraterrestrials buzz newlyweds Hugh Marlowe and Joan Taylor (the Barney and Betty Hill of their generation), Ray Harryhausen's "Dynamation" helps make EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS (an "unofficial" version of the H.G. Wells classic, WAR OF THE WORLDS) one of the better UFOs-out-to-get-us entries. These lumbering, warbly-voiced Gort wannabes aren't messing around: they "skeet shoot" satellites at their leisure, win dogfights with Earth aircraft, and use their brain-drain x-rays to get the info they need from the hapless humans in an impressive series of sequences that Ed Wood no doubt envied (sequences in which Real World newsreel footage is expertly interwoven with some great fx). The spinning saucer fx and the "sonic solution" were both impressive enough to influence Tim Burton when he made MARS ATTACKS!
I know all the Harryhausen fanboys are going to kill this review because I don't pay tribute to The Master…because I call this this movie a 2nd rate science fiction film. Don't get me wrong – the actual flying saucer effects are very well done indeed, and the moments in the final battle where saucers are crashing into various national and historical landmarks still pack a punch.But it was obvious that the story was wrapped around whatever sequences Harryhausen wanted to build, instead of having the special effects advance the story.Consequently there are dead spaces in the dialog and holes in the plot you could fly a saucer through. The best you can say for the "non stop motion" portions of the movie was that the performances were workmanlike – pro actors given indifferent direction. And that the hack attitude of Sam Katzman guaranteed that the story and dialog would reach a certain level of quality, but would never surpass it.(And by the way, the alien costume d…
Reports of flying saucers start coming in thick and fast until sure enough alien invaders begin to attack the Earth. Focal point of their attack is the U.S. Space Programe, can hero in waiting Russel Marvin conjure up a defence weapon to save the day?Obviously a template for many an alien invader film since its release, Earth Vs The Flying Saucers never quite reaches the heights that perhaps it should have. Bogged down by maudlin scripting and restricted by its budget, it often hints at what a great picture it could have been. The lead cast are poor and this hurts the film even more, Hugh Marlowe as Russell Marvin bores us with the scientific speak when really he should be fascinating us, whilst scream queen duties fall to poor Joan Greenwood who forgets that she is actually supposed to emit some sort of terror when the alien hordes attack! However, on the plus side the aliens themselves are certainly creepy enough to grab your notice, and Ray Harryhausen's flying saucers animati…
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