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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What can I say? Forbidden Planet scared the bejesus out of me when I first saw it at age 7 at my aunt's house. I had nightmares about the id creature breaking down the door for weeks afterwards :) It was the first sci-fi worth mentioning that took itself seriously with no sly winks to the camera as if to say 'we know its a guy in a rubber suit, but just play with us here'. Its also the first movie to ever have used a fully electronically synthesized score. The sets are great, the visual effects still stand up brilliantly today (except that blasted robot, the only weak point in the film) and it proves that Leslie Neilsen was once capable of serious roles.
If you're a fan of sci-fi films you have to see Forbidden Planet. Like
all older films, the FX look dated but don't let that stop you from
enjoying this movie. Made in 1956, the visual production values in FP
were very high for their time. The huge painted backdrops of the planet
are spectacular. The interior of Morbius's house looks like a Frank
Lloyd Wright house. The sets of the alien culture are really
interesting especially when you see their power plant. I always thought
Robby the Robot was downright silly.
The plot itself is probably the most sophisticated in science fiction films with its idea of monsters from the Id. The music score is unique. It's completely electronic blips and bleeps and though it sounds dated today it deserves points for being experimental.
Director:Fred Wilcox, Script:CyrilHume, Staring:Walter Pigeon, Anne
Forbidden Planet is one of the highlights of the golden age of sci-fi from the period between 1950 and 1962. It is considered to be the first film to have an electronic music score. It was filmed in colour in cinemascope that was popular in the 1950's and is to the 1950's what Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey was to the 1960's and Lucas's star wars was to the 1970's. If you like the star wars movies, give this a try. I see many influence's. Roby, the robot is like the robot on Irwin Allen's lost in space or even c3po in Star Wars.It also deals with a "greater force" like Star Wars. Watch this and see how the special effects have changed in 50 years! This movie was very impressive for its time. Walter Pigeon is great as Dr. Morbius as well as his beautiful daughter Altaira played by Anne Francis. This also features an early performance by Leslie Nielsen. The first pc the "Altair" got its name from this film.
Wow. There have been a lot of reviews for this old movie. That says a
lot in itself.
I just saw this movie for the first time several days ago. I picked up a used DVD of it for $3. Glad I did as I really like it.
I expected something totally corny as the cover of the DVD has a robot carrying off a scantily-clad woman like some comic book drivel. So, imagine my surprise when there was actually a decent plot and some rather good acting. The weird audio score impressed me too. It added a novel atmosphere to the whole production. Effects were impressive for way back in the 50s too. The invisible monster had me tense which a lot of newer movies can't come close to doing.
The only thing that seemed a little bogus was Anne Francis being so naive concerning men. She sure was a looker though.
That robot is way cool. I've seen it in some other movies too. I really need one of those around the house eh.
Now some people might find this movie a little slow in places. But, it has such a good story compared to other movies of that era that it's only a minor flaw. Lovers of pure sci-fi will eat this one up.
This is a movie I'll be able to watch many times, which is saying a lot for me. Anyone who cares a whit for sci-fi ought to check this one out.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Is it me or is this movie really challenging man's current ability to wisely use the technology we have? It is not the future we need to be concerned about it's right now. In 1956, everyone was worried about a nuclear war reducing earth to an ash heap. Are we wise enough to have that power?
Not to be a Luddite, but this movie grows with age. We can now destroy the earth in a variety of ways - nuclear, biologically or good old fashion global warming. Will we, like the Krell, have the best intentions and still destroy ourselves? Is there some point where our technological prowess will outstrip our wisdom thus making a disaster inevitable?
Interesting thought. Makes the movie timeless, just like the Tempest.
And man is Anne Francis hot!
I can't describe to you how excellent this film really is. I'll try,
though. We'll break it up into two sections: Why it was a great film for
the time it was made, and why it would still be an excellent film if it
The special effects in this film, while we may see them as cartoon-like and cheesy, were greatly beyond anything thought of before this film. In fact, this movie is the one that CREATED the Academy Award for Special Effects. Before this film, there was no such award. Also, the concentration on dialog and deepening plot was very uncommon for "the sci-fi" era of the fifties. There is so much plot that you have to pause your player every now and then just to get a grasp on what's happening.
If this movie were brand new, it would still be excellent. Try to imagine a movie where a team of military spacemen get pulled into a world of psychological philosophy and surreal terror. People would be very willing to appreciate a movie like this now, because most movies can't balance plot and effects. And if a movie can balance the two, its done in such a typical, predictable hollywood style.(e.g. Sphere)
Space Movies would have become extinct if it weren't for this movie. There would have been so many "Midnight Movies" that eventually nobody would make them anymore. Forbidden Planet launched a combination of strong philosophy with entertaining action. You really feel like you're a member of the crew. There is no doubt that James Cameron was at least partly inspired by this film when he wrote "Aliens". If he says he wasn't, maybe he was and just didn't realize it. Maybe he was in his id.
The Green Saga's Rating: 10 out of 10
This is the "2001" of the 1950s. An intelligent (downright cerebral),
witty, beautifully done film with issues very relevant today - could we
wipe ourselves out overnight with super-technology?
Walt Disney's Academy Award winning special effects stand up to computer graphics magic today.
The endearing Robby the Robot, clattering with mechanical relays, is a movie icon. Robby's a lot more fun to be around its distant cousin from the 60s TV series "Lost in Space"
Gene Rodenberry studied every frame of this film and ripped it off wholesale for his Star Trek TV series in the 1960s -- the best form of flattery.
The militaristic, all-male, horny crew dates the film, but hey it's the 1950s! It's also a delight seeing a young & swashbuckling Leslie Neisle playing it straight!
Wish they could make sci-fi movies as intelligent and insightful as this again. Maybe someday.
A classic 1950's Sci-Fi film, Forbidden Planet will also appeal to movie fans who do not like science fiction. Produced in a day before massive special effects budgets, it was created with more emphasis on dialogue, character development, suspense, and drama - quite a difference from today's typical sci-fi productions. This is definitely one of my all-time favorite films.
On the pretext of Shakespeare's Tempest, the screenplay by Cyril Hume
flips and moves light years ahead in time and space, so that at first
no one believed the film was a check, so free , Shakespeare's work.
Recognized as one of the classic science-fiction for adults, Forbidden Planet is one of the greatest films made during the fifties, along with others such as "Invasion of the Body Snatchers, "1956, "The incredible shrinking man" , 1957, and "The Day the Earth Stood stil"l, 1951. But its importance goes beyond that, as "Forbidden Planet" is also a seed upon which much of the science-fiction to the big screen and small would develop from the sixties. It is not difficult to see the crew of the spaceship future ancestors of the crew of the "Enterprise" on "Star Trek" and the robot to an ancestor of "C3PO" in "Star Wars".
The film is entertaining, naive, full of charm, and a very imaginative staging.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Because of some clunky dialog (but not much) I can't give FORBIDDEN
PLANET the "10" I want to give it. But aside from that, it demonstrates
what science fiction films could have been like in the 1930s to 1950s
if the major studios had given them serious productions. With a good
cast headed by Walter Pidgeon, Leslie Nielson, Warren Stevens, Anne
Francis, Jack Kelly, and Earl Holiman, it is an update (but not a
perfect one) of Shakespeare's final great play, THE TEMPEST, set in
outer space. More of that point later,
The sets, given earlier examples (compare with say the typical "mad scientist" sets at Universal in the 1930s), are rather good looking. Doorways show to us what the long dead "Krell" race was supposed to look like. When a scientific marvel of these dead geniuses is shown by Dr. Morbius (Pidgeon) to Commander John Adams (Nielsen) and Lt. "Doc" Ostrow (Kelly) it's size (20 miles of machine on either side of the center, harnessing the energy of the planet) is really plausible. The robot "Robbie" is a little dated after R-2D-2 and C3PO in STAR WARS, but that had 1970 style concepts in mind. I assure you, if you see a science fiction film of 2107 they would make STAR WARS seem dated in the style of appearance of things. One also has to congratulate the imaginative way the film shows the real danger the crew faces when they finally see it.
Care was given to this production, which is really not so much Shakespeare as a moral and ethics lesson about pride, arrogance, and Greek hubris. THE TEMPEST did have a similar situation, with Prospero (the original for Morbius) and his daughter Miranda (Altaira - Francis' role here) living on an island that Morbius has turned into his kingdom through magic. But it's a stretch to make Robbie a clone of Shakespeare's Ariel, and there is no character to match Caliban, the actual heir of the island who is now Prospero's slave. Moreover, Prospero wants to return to his rightful place in Europe as Duke of Milan (in the play his position was usurped by his brother, now shipwrecked on the island with others). Morbius likes existing on the planet with his daughter, untouched by other humans, and studying Krell wisdom and science. It's not a perfect match by any means*.
(*Oddly enough, Shakespeare's play was inspired by a situation similar to Nielsen's crew exploring space. A fleet of ships headed for the new colony of Jamestown (in Virginia) was partly wrecked in the Bahamas. The ship, with the new governor, had to be repaired, and finally arrived in Jamestown months later, after everyone thought the crew and passengers were lost.)
FORBIDDEN PLANET is about how a great civilization can have rot at it's center by arrogance and cruelty. It is an ethics lesson we constantly have to watch out for, as Nielsen, Francis, Stevens and Pidgeon (the last two too late) realize, due to the unfortunate baser feelings of human beings. As such it is far more important than just a well made "what wonders the future show us" science fiction film. It becomes a worthy film classic to watch again and again.
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