|Page 11 of 30:||               |
|Index||294 reviews in total|
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.
FORBIDDEN PLANET is certainly a dated film today, with its plaintive
romantic sub-plot complete with a meek, submissive woman (straight out
of the 1950s, that one), spectacular-but-unrealistic special effects
and macho plotting. The pacing is fairly off, especially by modern
standards, and it seems to take an awfully long time for something to
And yet, and yet, something about this movie charms. It has a real dated appeal to it, and it appears to me to be something of a trendsetter, helping to inspire plenty more visit-an-alien-planet plot lines even to this day. The idea behind the creation of the monster is a brilliant one, and it's brought to life via some innovative special effects that really work. There's much fun to be had along the way from seeing an uncannily straight-laced Leslie Nielsen and of course Robbie the Robot in his first screen appearance.
But really, I keep coming back to that screen monster, which is so much more than the typical monster-of-the-week type thing that most sci-fi movies are keen to trot out. The idea behind it is just astounding, one of the best back stories I can think of. The scenes of the astronauts exploring millennia-old construction works beneath the planet's surface is also awe-inspiring in its own way. Even if half of so of this film is padding, the other half makes it well worth checking out.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
For it's time, it was something special...a science fiction movie with
a lavish MGM budget. The technical stuff is great and the composition
of the landscape scenes are very good. I heard that preview audiences
laughed at the final scenes where the "monster" was shown. They didn't
change anything, evidently after the previews. It's a disappointment to
see the evil monster as cartoon animation...even for audiences of the
time. It's important to understand its place in the evolution of
science fiction films as the next step was the far superior 2001: A
I really think this movie is overrated. It has an interesting set design, the "music" gets on your nerves after a while, the plot plods along. The men lust after the woman, the woman lusts after the men...it's kind of a low budget story with a high budget for technical effects and sets. Think Queen of Outer Space or World Without End with a bigger budget. Yes, there's the whole ID part of the story and that makes it more "heady" but this film is really dull in many places.
It isn't in the same league as Invasion of the Body Snatchers or The Day the Earth Stood Still for 50s science fiction.
The movie is worth seeing but I look forward to the remake.
In the 50's sci-fi was still in its early life, and most of what had
been done was based on the idea of aliens visiting earth, rather than
humans visiting other planets, which means that you don't really expect
a sci-fi movie from this era featuring space travel and set on another
planet to stack up particularly well in the modern era. But "Forbidden
Planet" pulls it off superbly. It does not seem old or dated even
almost 60 years after it was made. It has an interesting story, a great
cast, good use of humour, and features only limited use of what has by
now become sci-fi staple (futuristic weapons and monsters) and no space
battles - proving that such things aren't really necessary. It's also
clear after watching this that while Gene Roddenberry may have created
"Star Trek" he borrowed rather heavily from "Forbidden Planet" as he
did so, and a number of "Star Trek" episodes seem to have their origins
in various aspects of the plot of this movie.
The story features Walter Pidgeon as Dr. Morbius, the only survivor of the crew of an earth ship that landed on Altaire IV many years before. Leslie Nielsen (who would later be considered for the role of Captain Kirk in "Star Trek" before losing out to William Shatner) played J.J. Adams - the commander of a ship sent from earth to investigate what's happened. The story is mysterious from the beginning. Morbius explains that some "deadly force" killed everyone else (he doesn't explain what the force was, and as the movie comes to its climax it becomes clear that he didn't know.) He and his wife (who later died) were the only ones "immune" to whatever had killed the others, and they had a daughter (played by the very beautiful Anne Francis.) She and Morbius are now alone on the world. Morbius has discovered that the world was once inhabited by a very advanced race of beings called the Krell, and he devotes his life to learning about them. Morbius is a mysterious character who would much rather be left alone than rescued. The great thing about this is that while he is mysterious (and therefore suspicious) he's not a stereotypical "bad guy." One of the things I loved about this was that there were, in fact, no real bad guys. Morbius turns out to be responsible for what's happening, but it's out of his control. It's a great story.
The sets are very well constructed. They're very futuristic even by today's standards. In fact, they put to shame the very mundane-looking bridge on the first "Star Trek" pilot "The Cage." The creature who's finally introduced near the end is a very imaginative creature and quite scary. I feared that Anne Francis was being used merely as window dressing, and while she does spend a lot of time in short skirts and bare feet, being taught how to hug and kiss by the crew of the rescue ship, in the end she's rather central to the story, as her father becomes increasingly jealous of her growing relationship with the newcomers. Perhaps the greatest addition to the film was "Robby the Robot." He seems to be something of a forerunner to the robot later found on "Lost in Space." He's got a great personality, he's friendly and helpful and even has a sense of humour.
It's perhaps a bit slow off the start, but frankly, this is better than any sci-fi that has been put out in recent decades.
"Forbidden Planet" is often acclaimed as the best science fiction film
of the 1950s and with good reason. While I wouldn't say its my absolute
favorite from the era (that'd be "The Incredible Shrinking Man" because
of its emotional resonance), its still a great film all these years
later. There's plenty of "gee-whiz" style thrills involving Robby the
Robot and the invisible monster along with a surprising dedication to
legitimate science. The film shows a large degree of intelligence and
attempts to approach its fantastic story realistically. Sure, the set
design is kitschy and there are plenty of more dated aspects to the
production, but this was a massive leap forward from the space-opera
antics of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers.
On a technical scale, the film is quite accomplished. The direction by Fred M. Wilcox isn't anything to write home about, but he knows how to keep the material moving at a good pace and really ups the tension towards the end. The acting all around is adequate. Leslie Nielson, best known to my generation for his comedic roles in "The Naked Gun" series, often surprises people that he was originally a dramatic actor. Hes a bit wooden but does a decent job overall. Anne Francis is quite good as the naive and lovely space maiden, and Walter Pidgeon lends a great amount of class to the proceedings. His performance is terrific. Again, "Forbidden Planet" manages to be a classic and a really good film because of the intelligent screenplay. (9/10)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Leslie Nielsen is the commander of a space ship with a crew of 18 men
in the year 2200. His mission: Land on the planet of Altair and rescue
any survivors of a 20-year-old crashed earlier expedition. The crew
lands and finds only two survivors, Walter Pidgeon and his daughter,
Pidgeon is concerned for their safety and does everything he can to persuade them to leave, while he and his daughter remain behind in their satisfying and comfortable seclusion. He describes the horrible deaths of the earlier mission, the crew torn limb from limb by an unidentifiable source.
At their insistence, Pidgeon takes Nielsen and the others on a tour of the planet, which was dominated by the super-intelligent Krell civilization until they died out a few million years ago, leaving behind a treasure trove of technology and a self-maintaining energy plant of infinite power.
The nubile Anne Francis thinks that Nielson is "beautiful" -- O, brave new world! -- and they get it on behind Pidgeon's back. But creepy things begin to happen. The space ship's equipment is mysteriously destroyed, and later the crew chief is torn limb from lib. And then the space ship's defensive ring of destructor beams is breached by a monstrous, invisible presence, barely outlined in the force field.
Cutting a long story short, the monster is a product of Pidgeon's "id." So what is the id? Basically, aside from its being a clumsy translation of Freud's "das Es," it's the seat of our unconscious animal impulses. The brain has three components, so to speak, each built upon the other. The lowest and oldest part is the brain stem, which controls things like breathing and heartbeat. The next developmental component is the midbrain, which does a lot of things with memory, lust, and rage. The newest part of the brain is the cortex, all that gray matter you see if you lift off the top of the skull, and that's where "thinking" and "planning" take place. The problem is that all three parts of the brain are always working. That's why we don't stop breathing when we fall asleep. And that's why we can damp down, but never entirely rid ourselves, of the impulse to mate and to kill. We're constantly at war with these dangerous, uncivilized impulses, playing Whack a Mole with them. Freud didn't pin his "id" to the midbrain or any other structure. (Nobody ever has.) But that's what's at work here alright. Walter Pidgeon may be a highly civilized and upright human being but his unconscious is generating this murderous monster, without his knowing about it, by harnessing the power of the Krell's huge power plant.
If that's Freud's contribution to the plot, Shakespeare's contribution is taken roughly from his last play, "The Tempest." The play is full of conniving humans, sprites, and monsters, and somebody's virginal daughter, but there's nothing quite like the hideous half-formed creature that the Disney special effects people gave us in "Forbidden Planet." It's really spooky.
The special effects here represented the cutting edge of technology in its day. It's all quite studio bound, of course. None of the shrubbery looks alive. It all looks like dried weeds. And the interior of Pidgeon's house, as someone described it, looks like it could be the living room of Frank Sinatra's apartment in a Las Vegas hotel. But the overall impact of the production design and effects is overwhelming.
And the plot is intelligent too, not a cobbled-together rehash of "monster movies" or anything else. If some of the scientific explanations sound like schizophrenic word salad, well, it's understandable. How can you describe with any accuracy the dynamics of a technology that does not yet exist? If we could describe it precisely, we could build it, and it would exist. That's what one information theorist, Brillouin, called "the principle of fundamental surprise." I had a little trouble with the 100-percent electronic score. It's supposed to range from the ominous and dramatic to the romantic and euphonious, but I found it pretty much scary all the time. I found the weapons a little disappointing too. Three types are shown. The crew carry sidearms called "simple blasters." Then, while defending the ship against the monster, they fire rifle-shaped weapons at it. And then there are the "batteries" of presumably high-powered electronic cannons. But they all shoot out the same intermittent stream of blue lights! And all at a leisurely speed too, as if in no particular hurry to reach their targets. By 2200, I want to see great BIG batteries of cannons shooting out BIG powerful balls of speedy red something-or-others -- and blowing the landscape to pieces, melting the solid rock. These are minor irritations, though.
Not all that much acting is required. Walter Pidgeon probably comes off best because he has the most complex role. Anne Francis looks pale and scrumptious as Shakespeare's Miranda. She's so innocent and naive, at least until Leslie Nielsen initiates her into the less theoretical aspects of biology, that her attractiveness acquires an almost hebephile tint. She causes a lot of snickering among the 18 men of the crew. There is a lot of snickering in this movie. And all the men have the same haircut and they comb their hair like Lennie Brisco on "Law and Order." And -- come to think of it -- I don't know why the tiger, who has always been Anne Francis' pet, turns suddenly and inexplicably into a snarling predator who attacks her. I suppose Pidgeon's id is somehow responsible but don't know how or why.
Anyway, this is a science fiction icon with a good plot, decent acting, and fine effects. The question it raises about our unconscious desire for savagery is very relevant. It will probably be relevant in 2200, too, if we make it that far. The Krell thought they had the problem licked -- and look what happened to them.
Forbidden Planet is a groundbreaking film that became the blueprint for a million sci-fi movies. A team of astronauts go to investigate a planet, strange things are afoot. What I liked about Forbidden Planet though, it didn't settle into exactly what sort of film it was until a good way through it. About halfway through, I was wondering what was going on, the whole film seemed to just be pure sci-fi, the astronauts being led around a strange planet being told about the previous inhabitants taking up a large bulk, until quite a high brow mystery/horror concept is thrown into the mix, (very effectively, I might add). The film is very ambitious for the mid fifties, in terms of it's special effects and high brow subject matter (though thankfully, explains it all to those who might not understand), for this reason, it is a triumph, and definitely worth a watch 50 years later.
|Page 11 of 30:||               |
|Plot summary||Plot synopsis||Ratings|
|Awards||External reviews||Parents Guide|
|Plot keywords||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|