Square-jawed jet pilot cum nuclear physicist Cal Meacham’s (Rex Reason) life is going all fucky; his plane almost crashes but is saved by an eerie green light that lands his craft safely, then he receives parts for some shitting thing called an “interroceter” (truthfully it’s a flat-screen TV with a Skype feature…which in ’55 was amazeballs A.F., but now is merely a cumbersome cellphone…and with the way it overheats and explodes, it’s obviously a Samsung) that when put together puts him in contact with a high-headed, smug looking mutha called Exeter (Jeff Morrow) who sends ol’ Cal to a secret location to work on a mysterious project involving energy research.
Once there Cal discovers his old flame Dr. Ruth Adams (Faith Domergue) is also working on the project…a project they soon realize involves brainwashing and changing the personalities of those involved, but that’s not all; as it’s also sponsored by aliens from the planet Metaluna who need a new energy source to aid in their war with the people of the planet Zagon. Will our heroes be able to help Metaluna with it’s lil’ pickle, or will they get a meteor up their ass for their trouble?
Standing head and shoulders with the best of ’50’s era sci-fi cinema (titles such as Pal’s War of the Worlds and Wise’s The Day the Earth Stood Still), This Island Earth is an absolute masterpiece featuring an engaging narrative, strong acting, and flat-out amazing visual effects and creature design (the Metaluna Mutant is an unforgettable screen alien that remains impressive to this day).
It’s also an interesting time capsule of an age where science and religion were held in equal regard, and without the need to replace one with the other…a theme that often appeared in flicks of this era, but would doubtless come under fire in this age of division…take that for what it’s worth from my atheist ass.
Besides the glory of the main feature, Scream Factory have included an impressive array of bonus materials on this Blu-ray release as well. First up, you get an alternate presentation of the film in an 1:37:1 aspect ratio, followed by an interview with one of my all-time favorite directors, Luigi Cozzi (Starcrash, Contamination) discussing his thoughts on the film.
After that comes an extensive (and fascinating) “making-of” documentary, the Trailers From Hell examination of the film’s trailer, the 1958 8mm and 16mm home version of the film (re-titled War of the Planets…and for the record, this was a very welcome and unique bonus feature), a series of facts about the sound system utilized by the film, the film’s theatrical trailer, and a series of image galleries.
Last we get two audio commentaries courtesy of Author/Visual Effects artist Robert Skotak and film Historian David Schecter respectively. The former covers the production of the film in it’s entirety, while the later focuses on the film’s soundtrack (and only runs about a quarter of the film’s runtime). Both are jam-packed with info, and are great listens if you want to know more about this sci-fi gem!
This Island Earth is pitch-perfect 1950’s era sci-fi; it’s packed with solid acting, great effects, monsters, science, and most importantly entertainment value to spare! Get this one in your putrid peepers post-haste my creeps!