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The Beast from 20,000 fathoms: There's only one way to stop it - we must do something improbable with radioactivity!,
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This review is from: The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms [DVD]  (DVD)
This is an important film in the history of the medium. Honest! The first film in which the great Ray Harryhausen had full control over special effects, the first proper `creature feature', the first to use man's messing with the nuclear bomb as the cause of the problems. As well as these notable firsts, it is also a great romp, with classic effects from the Master.
Paul Hubschmid (here credited as Paul Christian) and Kenneth Tobey are in the arctic (a setting that would serve Tobey well in his most memorable film `The Thing') testing out a nuclear bomb. The blast melts some ice and releases a mezozoic dinosaur which is soon on the rampage. Hubschmid has seen the creature, but as usual no one believes him and he is soon on a psychiatric ward. The creature starts to make its presence felt, suddenly people believe him and the hunt is on. The creature is heading towards New York, where its old mating grounds were (hilariously overlooking the continental drift that would have occurred in the last 100 million years, after going to so much trouble to give scientifically plausible explanations for the existence of the beast!) and for reasons best known to itself it goes on the rampage, destroying everything in sight. It is up to nuclear physicist Hubschmid to come up with a plan to kill the beast, in a thrilling conclusion.
With all the standard creature feature fare of the time - a scientist in the middle of it all who just happens to have all the answers, a dotty old professor who dispenses wisdom before dying dramatically, the most implausible of dialogue, screaming hordes of citizens running down the street, military types unwilling (at first) to listen, and most importantly a well realised monster of epic proportions this is a classic of the genre. A must see for anyone who enjoys a decent bit of exciting hokum.
This release is a decent affair. The film is presented in the original black and white with a good clean transfer. It is a pity it hasn't been recolourised, as with Harryhausen's other three B&W features (Ray Harryhausen Collection : 20 Million Miles to Earth / Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers / It Came From Beneath The Sea  [DVD]). Some interesting extras in the form of a making of feature and a short documentary about Harryhausen and author Ray Bradbury round out the set. All in all excellent, 5 stars.