Blu-ray Review: THIS ISLAND EARTH

THIS ISLAND EARTH is based on the 1952 novel of the same name by Raymond F. Jones. The movie was directed by Joseph M. Newman and Jack Arnold from a screenplay by Franklin Coen and Edward G. O’Callaghan and stars Rex Reason, Faith Domergue, Jeff Morrow, Robert Nichols, Russell Johnson, Lance Fuller and Douglas Spencer.

When atomic scientist Dr. Meacham (Rex Reason, The Creature Walks Among Us) is chosen to take part in a top-secret research experiment in a remote lab, he quickly discovers that he is really involved in an evil scheme by alien Metalunans to take over Earth. After he and the gorgeous Dr. Adams (Faith Domergue, It Came From Beneath The Sea) make their escape shortly before the lab explodes, they are whisked away in a flying saucer to Metaluna, where they are blamed for the destruction. Will interstellar negotiation save the day or will the scientists be forced to take part in a treacherous battle to the death?

This 1955 sci-fi adventure follows Dr. Cal Meacham who gets a special invitation to take part in this top-secret experiment by the mysterious alien host, Exeter (Jeff Morrow). First off, Cal has to pass a highly advanced test and then he flies off to the remote location where the best and brightest scientists from all around the world have assembled to take part in this nuclear experiment. The question is, why? This is also where Cal meets Ruth and it doesn’t take long for them to discover that their alien hosts have a sinister agenda at play.

What happens is, Cal and Ruth try to run away but they end up getting sucked up in the Metalunian spacecraft where they’re taken to the alien’s home planet of Metaluna that’s in the middle of a war. Exeter has taken the two humans back to his planet hoping they can help them find a way to stop their enemy from attacking but it’s too late so Cal and Ruth have to fight their way off the planet that’s doomed for destruction. Seeing the error in his ways, Exeter ends up helping the humans get off the planet and safely back to Earth.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some classic promo art. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. This Island Earth has been given a new 4K scan of the inter-positive. Scream Factory has given the viewer two aspec ratios to watch the sci-fi classic in – 1.85:1 and 1:37:1. There’s also the original Perspecta Stereophonic Sound that has been restored by 3-D Film Archive. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, This Island Earth ended up being a really fun time capsule that takes the viewer on a journey back to 50’s sci-fi. This is also one of those old cheesefests that has had the honor of being featured on MST3K. I had to throw that in there in case you didn’t know. The movie has actually been called the Star Wars of its time because of its adventurous plot. Back in the day this had a big impact on its audiences just like other sci-fi classics like War of the Worlds and the Day the Earth Stood Still. The story for this one was kiind of cheesy but the movie is all about the exciting adventure and I thought the cast did a good job with their characters. The special effects are a little dated but I bet it all looked grand back in the day with the mixture of practical effects and the colorful matte paintings. Scream Factory has given this 1955 Universal International sci-fi classic a pristine release with two aspec ratios and a nice sound restoration plus there’s an impressive list of extras. Needless to say, this could easily have been a Collector’s Edition release because of everything it offers and then some. This Island Earth lands on Blu-ray on July 9th.

Distributor: Scream Factory

Run Time: 86 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1) / 1080p High-Definition Fullframe (1.37:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features: The extras include some new audio commentary, new audio interview, a new interview, new sound restoration spotlight, a vintage making of documentary, vintage release promo, a Trailers from Hell with commentary, theatrical trailer and three image galleries.

  • NEW Audio Commentary with author and Academy Award winning visual effects artist Robert Skotak
  • NEW Audio Interview with film historian David Schecter on the music of THIS ISLAND EARTH
  • NEW Alien Ideas – an interview with filmmaker Luigi Cozzi (Starcrash) (21:11)
  • NEW Facts about Perspecta Stereophonic Sound by Bob Furmanek (09:39)
  • THIS ISLAND EARTH – Two and A Half Years in the Making: The Extended Documentary – a look at the making of THIS ISLAND EARTH (47:55)
  • WAR OF THE PLANETS: 1958 Castle Films release for the home market including both the 50-foot silent Headline edition and the 200-foot sound Complete edition. (11:05)
  • Trailers from Hell – This Island Earth with commentary by filmmaker Joe Dante (02:45)
  • Theatrical Trailer (02:20)
  • Poster and Lobby Cards Gallery (06:53)
  • Publicity Stills Gallery (04:24)
  • Behind-the-Scenes Image Gallery (02:31)
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