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|Index||300 reviews in total|
one of films who has, for each age, a different message. a real good one for the profound theme who remains more important than the technical solutions for a credible script. a film about knowledge and the huge responsibility about it. about survive in strange world and about price. the result - not a great movie but a wise one. because its subject transforms it in more than a Sci Fi movie but in useful tool for reflection about mankind way. different pieces as bones of a great story about the truth behind yourself. nice special effects and good acting. and, more important, the feeling after its end. because it could be a warning. or, only, precise description of limits for each heavy ambition.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
. . . perhaps a more fitting epitaph on FORBIDDEN PLANET would be GONE WITH THE ID. The "Krell" race may have been able to construct an 8,000 cubic mile self-sustaining machine with 7,800 sub-basements, but they never were exposed to the crackpot theories of controversial earthling "psychiatrist" Sigmund Freud. The latter's theory that each human brain contained its own Mini-Hitler (which he labeled as the "Id") proved so destructive to the human race that it resulted almost immediately in the emergence of a life-sized Hitler, as anyone versed in String Theory and quantum physics would have predicted. Josef Stalin, Idi Amin, Dick Cheney--it's been all downhill for humanity ever since. FORBIDDEN PLANET represents an extended PSA (Public Service Announcement or warning) on MGM's part that something even more deadly to American values than the Confederacy is stalking Civilization. Unfolding in documentary fashion, FORBIDDEN PLANET proves that the mere existence of Freud's folly is capable of destroying a planet much larger and more advanced than Earth's. Viewers be warned.
"Forbidden Planet" has a lot of the elements of corny '50s sci-fi
movies. It shows off its special effects in masturbatory fashion,
features a robot, loads the dialogue up with esoteric science babble
and portrays its one female character in misogynistic fashion (oh wait,
that's all '50s movies).
But "Forbidden Planet" doesn't simply trying to cash in on fans of "Flash Gordon" and "The Day the Earth Stood Still." Buried beneath it all is an ideal mystery plot with an intelligent payoff.
The film follows a space crew investigating the sudden silence on Altair IV. Upon landing which they were warned not to dothey discover only Dr. Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) and his daughter Altaira (Anne Francis) have survived (and let's not forget Robby the Robot). The intrepid Commander Adams (Leslie Nielsen), Doc (Warren Stevens) and the playboy Lt. Farman (Jack Kelly) investigate and find that Morbius is hiding something from them.
"Forbidden Planet" is a special effects showcase, sometimes to a fault as scenes are designed almost exclusively around the movie magic, but compare it with the excessive CGI carnage of today's blockbusters and it's not something of which you can be all that critical. Besides, the weapon design, costume design and set design are all cohesive and tasteful, and in some cases marvelous.
The plot does take a long time to get somewhere. A lot of the plot gets lost in writer Cyril Hume's aforementioned display of gadgetry and in the romantic subplot between Altaira and just about everyone else, but it ends up being worth the wait. The mystery at the heart of the film doesn't have an contemporary counterparts, and most films targeted at a genre audience like this one don't sneak in powerful human themes. No doubt Hume honored Irving Block and Allen Adler's "Twilight Zone"-esque story in doing so. In terms of acting, Pidgeon, playing Morbius, the man who keeps that secret, sells us with his passionate performance, especially at the end.
Like all great sci fi, "Forbidden Planet" also plays with the notion of what's unseen. Perhaps Ridley Scott took some notes from director Fred M. Wilcox when he made "Alien," because the film hints at a frightening beast that it never shows and manages to wield a lot of suspense doing so. And you know it's legit, because clearly special effects and even makeup were not convincing enough in the mid-'50s to deliver a powerful creature reveal. Even though what comes you know won't measure up to your imagination, Wilcox has your imagination working, and that's the key.
Also, the film's electronic soundtrack (eons ahead of its time) has to get a lot of credit (especially for the suspense part). You expect the usual cheesy suspense strings in '50s films, but "Forbidden Planet" retains an aura of mystery to this day I think in large part to a score that doesn't telegraphic any of the plot's moves.
Although long stretches can be disengaging, and everything surrounding Altaira is pretty stupid, "Forbidden Planet" has its place in the canon of influential science-fiction movies. When you consider that the film's producers probably just wanted to make "an outer space picture," the end result is more than we could ask for.
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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
To me 'Forbidden Planet' may be the closest thing to a perfect Sci-fi
film ever made. It has it all good acting, an imaginative story,
impressive special effects, Ann Francis, AND the most iconic movie
robot of all time "Robby". In the case of 'Walter Pidgeon' it goes
beyond good acting to the realm of excellent acting. His presence and
talent bring the whole film to a higher level. Most movies about space
travel at that time involved space ships, brave astronauts, ray guns,
scary monsters and pretty girls. 'FB' has all that and much more.
Basically the story is about a spaceship crew that goes to the very
distant planet Altair IV to investigate what happened to the earth
colony sent there. When they arrive they are warned not to land. They
land anyway to find only two survivors left. One of the survivors is
Dr. Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) the second is his daughter Altaira (Ann
Francis). All the other colonists have been killed mysteriously by an
unseen force. Morbius has been absorbed in studying the technology left
behind by the previous inhabitants of the planet called 'The Krell'.
The Krell were a highly advanced race that no longer exist. They have
left behind some amazing machinery. Finding out what happened to the
earth colonists and the Krell is the main drift of the story.
When I first saw the movie as a boy what impressed me the most was Robby the Robot. To this day I consider him the best designed mechanical being ever to appear in movies. Even with all his outdated lights and noisy relays representing technology of the 50s, he's still the best. On my first viewing I was a bit disappointed that there were no scary monsters except for a mostly invisible one. I felt a bit cheated at that time. We only see the monster briefly as a ferocious-looking image in outline trying to break through a force field. When the monster is present we know it by the eerie otherworld-like music that accompanies it. Sometimes there are footprints from its weight or in one scene we see the bending of the space ship's entry steps as it walks on them. As I grew older I learned to appreciate just how effective all this was to making the film something extra special. Sometimes what we don't see can be much scarier than what we do. The background music was a stroke of genius. This was the first big film to feature music performed entirely by electronic instruments. This adds a lot to the atmosphere. The special effects are also ground-breaking for 1956 and still hold up well to this day. Especially of note are Robby and the scenes of the Krell underground giant complex with its many levels.. Only 'War of the Worlds' from 1953 rivals its effects for that time, in my opinion. The final revelation was very imaginative too explaining just what the creature was....a monster from the Id. It seems that the Krell had created machinery that was so advanced it could make whatever they imagined become reality. The problem was they didn't realize something critical before activating the giant machine. Even though they had evolved to become greatly advanced scientifically, and perhaps as a society, they still had subconscious primal traits remaining. They had probably thought these traits were long gone through evolution. It turns out they still had buried feelings, like those of hate and jealousy. Once these primal urges were materialized by the machine it must have destroyed their race entirely. The machine was making monsters from the id. The id was thought by Dr. Freud to be that part of the psyche in which innate instinctive impulses and primary processes are manifest. It's later learned that the colonists that arrived from earth did not yet have the intellectual capacity to make this amazing machine function. That is until something happened to Dr. Morbius during his study of the Krell. He had accidentally boosted his intellect using a Krell device so that he was now at about the lowest level that could activate the machine. He was now a genius by human IQ standards, yet by Krell standards he was of the lowest intelligence. Still he now unknowingly had the ability to activate the machine. The other colonists had wanted to leave the planet and Morbius did not, so his subconscious had created the monsters to stop them. He did not realize this was happening. Now the Id monster was back again to keep his beloved daughter from leaving too, by trying to destroy the spaceship. Altaira had fallen in love with the captain. Another benefit of his new intellect was the ability to build Robby. Robby is an amazing mechanical man who can perform all sorts of super human tasks. He has a polite way of talking and a likable way about him. Morbius says Robby is little more than a useful toy. Some toy.
I could probably write pages on this film and how impressive it is to me. I want to keep these comments as short as possible. As I said this was as perfect a science fiction film as I've ever seen. I really only have one issue with it. I wish it didn't have those silly comic relief scenes with Earl Holliman as the booze loving cook using Robby to make liquor for him.
I never get tired of this movie. To me it's like looking at a beautiful painting or listening to a favorite piece of music. Sure you've seen or heard it many times before. That doesn't matter - you still want to experience it again. No matter how old I get I'll always love this movie for all the reasons I mentioned here and more.
People may be obsessed over Nolan's latest flick "Interstellar" but while they praise the film for its director, they fail to realise that without this film, it wouldn't even exist. Neither would Star Wars, Star Trek, Alien, or any other popular, smart sci-fi movies. Forbidden Planet not only revolutionized the sci-fi genre with a smart story (loosely based on Shakespeare's The Tempest) with great (if dated) special effects, it saved the genre. Its a great film that deserves a much larger audience, most of whom refuse to see the film because of its age, a real shame, but I suppose the only ones missing out on this treat are those who refuse to view it. It is one of my favorite films of the fifties and of all time, and I recommend it to everyone.
This movie deserves a remake. I saw this movie, as a kid, maybe 2 or 3 times at TV re-running, and completely forget about it. I saw again now and is really a very good and innovative science fiction movie for 1956. Of course, is a little slow and naive for actual standards, but considering the story and the problems related with that story it is a great movie. I can imagine the great movie that could be done today if this story is really improve with actual psychology and sociology knowledge, (and actual special effects). But if the remake is done some time, I hope that they do really well and not only as a 'action movie- special effects empty movie'. This story has a lot of potential to make one or even three very good movies. Remember that this movie, in some way, was the motivation for Star Trek series
Best sci-fi I've seen for anyone who is introspective and/or curious
about the implications of instant learning; conceivably the next great
leap after the world wide web. Interesting to me how it was made long
before personal computers even
I think the above makes my point. I'm filling lines here to meet the 10 line minimum. What else is there to say, hmm... OK, I liked seeing Earl Holliman without Angie Dickinson.
I'm glad to see an apparent remake of this in in production now that better special effects are available.
I think it will be tough to improve much on Robbie, I think he was perfect although not as animated as I'm sure his reincarnation will be.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Forbidden Planet is pure science-fiction. It is not the cliché
cowboys-in-space or (despite the "monsters from the id" tag line)
gratuitous monster aliens. Star Wars? Alien? That's too easy, too
trite, the same old same old in a future setting. Despite comparisons
with Shakespeare's The Tempest, the story of Forbidden Planet stands on
its own. And its soundtrack has never been equaled.
A machine that materializes thought "without instrumentalities". Instrumentalities -- when I heard that word I realized this movie is speaking to adults, not adolescents.
Pure science fiction is about the future itself. Forbidden Planet and Blade Runner come to mind. Some Star Trek episodes achieve this. For my money, though, Forbidden Planet is the benchmark against which all other science fiction movies should be measured.
Yes, there is a little dating. Earl Holliman's comic relief character isn't necessary (neither was R2-D2's prissiness). And there was a lapse in the otherwise cool f/x, when the spaceship landed on Altair: The powder puffing though holes in the ground was pretty cheesy. But these are minor quibbles which don't detract from the overpowering story.
7.7 IMDb score Forbidden Planet gets is insulting, a comment on the audiences not the movie. 8.7, which the slicker but inferior Star Wars and the Matrix get, would be far more fitting.
Stanley Kubrick once said that he wanted to make the proverbial "good
science fiction film", in a mail to Arthur Clarke, implying that before
1968, and his 2001: A Space Odyssey, there weren't any good science
fiction films. He was wrong. I haven't watched many important science
fiction films from the 1950's but this one is a keeper. An excellent
science fiction film that deals with very interesting ideas. The one
problem of this film, I think, is the thin drama involved, which is a
minor problem really since the focus of the film is not on the plot but
on the ideas.
The special effects were made by Disney and were incredible for the time, using hand drawn animation integrated into the film in just the same way today we use CGI effects. In fact, this shows that our modern science fiction films are little more than animated films with actors inserted in the film.
I first saw Forbidden Planet (FP) as a child of ten, and was immediately struck by the vibrant colors,landscapes, and especially the rather haunting electronic soundtrack. I have managed to catch it several times over the years on television and was even able to tape it, once VCRs became widely available. None of these broadcasts satisfied however, due to commercial interruptions, and failure to properly fit the movie to a T.V. screen. With the advent of DVD, this was the first movie I purchased, and I must say I was bitterly disappointed. Not in the film itself of course, but in the fact that the DVD was extremely skimpy in terms of production information, and color/sound enhancement. There is no voice over commentary, There are no interviews with the surviving cast or crew (leslie Nielsen is still around, so is Ann Francis), not even a collection of promotional material to view (posters, etc). What one gets is a choice between letterbox/fullscreen, a movie trailer, and a choice of languages. This could have been compensated for, if time had been taken to revitalize the appearance of the film, and do justice to the electronic score via electronic enhancement. As it is one must make major adjustments to the television settings for color, brightness, Etc, in order to view it properly. I run the soundtrack through my stereo,(Bose speakers) but alas, it is still relatively weak and faded. A Special Edition release could address all these problems and provide fans like myself, with the color, sound, and inside information one expects within a DVD format. As regards a remake...I hope one will be made someday, (there many FP devotees out there) my only concern is that the beauty of the film is not diminished by graphic violence, and overt sexuality. In FP there are several violent and lethal confrontations, but blood and gore are not shown. Likewise the sexual undercurrent and interaction within the characters of the movie is there but subdued. To give a comparison: the one hint of nudity in FP (the skinnydipping scene) is modest, as compared to lets say Red Planet for example, where the female captain of the ship is unabashedly nude in a shower scene..barely ten minutes into the story. I for one would be outraged if Hollywood manages to demean this great film, with that type of approach. Still one wonders... Val Kilmer as Captain Adams... Perhaps Anthony Hopkins/Morbius, Kurt Russel as the Doc...It may be worth a try.
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