Journey to the Centre of the Earth vs The Day the Earth Stood Still

July 1st, 2003 DVD Reviews, Film, Filmink

Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Features: Original Trailer, restoration comparison

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Features: Original trailer, restoration comparison, director commentary, Movietone newsreel.

Plumbing the depths of Hollywood studio vaults is both good and bad for making DVDs. It’s great because we can finally enjoy the movies that influenced us all (whether at the movies all that time ago or as the Friday night movie on TV) without resorting to a shoddy, 20 year old video shop copy.

It’s bad because in Hollywood’s golden era, the 21st century was the time of the Jetsons and nobody would have thought to collect up all the supplementary material for the future DVD release. Sadly, both Day and Journey reflect this with a marked absence of the sort of extras we’d like to see.

20th Century Fox unwittingly created a timeless social theme with The Day the Earth Stood Still (one that still stands up today) when they thought they were just doing a cash in on the UFO craze.

Klaatu is Earth’s Jiminy Cricket, warning us to change our violent ways before they ruin us. In post war/early cold war America, it seemed that nuclear weapons would spell all our doom before long. Funnily we’re still here 50 years later with as many (and many new) weapons and just as many madmen. For that reason, Day is more than relevant even now if you can look past the 1950s all-American fringes.

And with Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Fox contributed to the adventure movie that CGI is doing such justice to today, as well as inspiring some of the most influential filmmakers in the world.

Ripping off classic literature was hot in Hollywood even then, as Scottish adventurer James Mason and his band of pioneers descend into an Icelandic volcano on Jules Venre’s amazing quest.

Of course the giant lizards and erupting volcanoes look dodgy by today’s standards, but the point is the wonder of possibility they whipped up in us.

The Journey disc has the original trailer but both DVDs have short sequences showing the difference between the original and remastered film, giving you an indication what a big job film restoration must be.

The Day the Earth Stood Still disc fares much better. The original director (Robert Wise) is still with us, and gives a lively glimpse into how to make a sci fi classic in the 1950s with his commentary.

There’s a collection of newsreels from the era which make for very funny viewing (they’re purely emotive anti-commie propaganda), but they have little to do with the film except to comment on the attitudes of the day Klaatu seems to have warned us about.

The original cinematic trailer is a collectors item itself, from the old titles to the haunting UFO music.

Both are a must for collectors even thought the contents are a little disappointing.

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