Earth vs. the Flying Saucers - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers Reviews

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Super Reviewer
May 17, 2013
Fantastic title for a film this, quintessential 50's sci-fi schlock with a typical tacky title that tells you everything you need to know, but it sounds so damn cool! The funny thing is this film really should be called 'Earth vs the USA' because there isn't really anyone else involved. How dare those pesky aliens even think about attacking the US of A! Stars n Stripes away lads!

So plot...UFO's attack the Earth, USA attacks back, USA wins, the end. What would we do without the USA? I ask ya. Much like 'It Came from Beneath the Sea' this film is made up of a lot of dialog involving what is happening and then how to deal with it, plus a small romance stuffed in the middle.

There are snippets of UFO/alien action dotted throughout but the main event doesn't kick off until the end typically. When we do see the aliens they are gloriously basic looking bordering on childish. For the day I'm sure they looked quite impressive but naturally these days they attract more giggles as they waddle around in their cardboard looking space suits. The small segment where the hero tries on a captured alien helmet is so daft and cheap looking its fantastic, he literately has a plastic bucket on his head.

The actual flying saucers are of course the highlight of the film. Even though they are incredibly basic in design they have influenced so many sci-fi films ever since (famously 'Mars Attacks' which is pretty much a homage) and probably people's minds in how alien craft should look. Animated by Harryhausen they don't look much of a challenge for the skilled craftsman but its the destruction of major buildings when the saucers crash that present the work and show his talents. How iconic is the downfall of the Washington Monument! that little sequence is still perfect to this day, and lets not forget about that classic flying saucer humming noise they make.

What I did find amusing was the fact these aliens were suppose to be attacking the entire planet. Yet once our plucky hero and his glamorous assistant worked out how to defeat them and went about doing so with many faceless expendable military men, that was it! They brought down all the saucers and that was it, no one thinks to check for the alien crews inside in case they are gonna attack. Plus no one mentions anything about the rest of the saucers attacking other countries, did all they manage to defeat the saucers the same as the heroic Americans?? there is no mention of sharing their alien beating discovery with other countries I don't think (unless I missed it).

I would also hope they use the new alien technology for their own gains, no mention of this but surely they would for the sequel.

So yes the whole film is pretty much exactly the same as all the previous films, it just substitutes monsters for aliens. We have the standard sensible hero, his attractive female sidekick, plenty of elderly/brainy scientists and military types all together with an 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' formulaic story. As that saying suggests it does work and it is good fun, the flying saucer sequences being the best of course. Not the best film, still not beating '20,000 Fathoms' but definitely better than 'It Came from Beneath the Sea'.
Super Reviewer
April 21, 2010
Taken for what it is, a product of atomic paranoia, this is a hooty flick.
Super Reviewer
January 1, 2012
I've been taking these films in in waves. I don't think that I could watch all of them in a row. As I stated in previous reviews, the most memorable thing about films with Ray Harryhausen special effects are Ray Harryhausen specal effects. Unfortunately, Earth VS. the Flying Suacers doesn't fall into that category. It's not a good film either. To me it's just another echo of the incredibly well-made The Day the Earth Stood Still, as well as being just another 50's flying saucers B movie. Other than that, it doesn't really have that much going for it. I find Joan Taylor ridiculously annoying and Hugh Marlowe just boring. The special effects don't really stand out to me. They might have for their time, but they're just the standard fair for the era and not much else. To say the least, this is just a boring film in all respects.
Super Reviewer
½ September 5, 2010
Although it follows the formulaic fifties plot for a sci-fi movie, this movie is pretty spectacular when it comes to its special effects. Overall, pretty good, but it could be better.
Super Reviewer
October 15, 2009
A cheesy dish topped with a dash of brillance, compliments of Ray Harryhausen. Harryhausen's flying saucer effects -- especially those destroying monuments in DC -- are alone worth the price of admission. They make plot holes, stiff performances, weird script inconsistencies and an ending that just kind of falls off the table a little easier to take. But then who watches movies like this for depth of meaning? The Day the Earth Stood Still this ain't. This film reminded me a great deal of Independence Day, in general story line, as well as some specific plot points. It would be interesting to watch them on a double bill to see how much has changed (and how much HASN'T) in 40+ years.
Super Reviewer
½ September 25, 2009
cool effects and alot of fun, especially the attack on washington!
Super Reviewer
½ February 19, 2008
Earth vs. Flying Saucers is Harryhausen's least favourite films as as SFX supervisor and it is not hard to see why. No mighty dinosaurs, titans or skeletons but revolving saucers and aliens and goofy costumes. The movie is a poignant and stale as you could expect from the name, flying saucers attack the earth, earth fights back. The personal stories are lackluster and stale, so is the cast. No mad scientists, vigilante soldiers or bombshells in sight. Here and there, a few glimpses of delightful insanity arise (the brainscanning of the aliens, the alien voices etc.) but it is not enough to make this ride enjoyable. HX
Super Reviewer
½ October 6, 2008
Definitive B-grade 50's sci-fi with a hokey plot and mediocre acting. What distinguishes this movie is the excellent groundbreaking special effects employed throughout...providing some realistic action battles... enjoyable for that reason alone.
Super Reviewer
June 25, 2008
Harryhausen rocks!
½ October 19, 2013
As much as Ray Harryhausen's effects make this entertaining, the sound design is pretty good too. You really get what you get with these movies and I enjoy them a lot.
October 27, 2012
saw this as a kid anmd was just amazed now with all the darn remakes too bad somebody doesn't remake this one!
September 10, 2009
Good special effects for the time, and a better production than most films of this type. Good cast. It's a little slow moving in parts, but I love these old 1950's sci-fi movies.
April 29, 2009
Fun effects in this. Cool cinematography! Mid 50's Sci-Fi film warning of science having consequences.
September 28, 2007
"Earth vs. The Flying Saucers" is definitely the weirdest B-movie, with primitive yet real-looking special effects (SFX) including the flying saucers. If there are more '50s-era Ray Harryhausen movies like this one, then I'm in.
November 2, 2008
One of the first great science-fiction movies of our times. Yes the graphics were cheap and the movie was in black and white but in the 50's Ray Harryhausen was a Spielberg or a Lucas. I was looking forward to having the suacers crash into world monuments like the Eiffel Tower or Big Ben. My favorite part was when the saucers crashed into the Lincon Monument that was cool how each individual piece of the was animated. Very cool movie sort of like War of the Worlds or Independance Day.
½ June 20, 2008
An old, probably indefinsible, favorite. A nice answer to The Day the Earth Stood Still -- the aliens are bad.
½ April 8, 2008
Good B-movie with wildly varying SFX. The Ray Harryhausen stuff is top-notch, while the rest is middling at best.
September 27, 2007
Awful acting, directing that goes between briliance and crap at the drop of a hat, and a script bogged down with logical explanations should make this film awful. But the technical strides this film made (mostly by Ray Harryhausen,) ended up creating an incredibly fun experience.
October 2, 2006
One of the better Sci-Fi movies of the late 50's with special effects that are not all that bad for the time period.
July 11, 2015
Pretty awesome as far as early science fiction goes. The story is not unique in any way, but the film brought an aesthetic that many sci-fi productions still copy today.
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