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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
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a really engaging and brilliantly smart classic sci-fi film
that inventively exposes what could possibly be human's greatest
ultimate intrinsic tragedy:
Our animalistic, irrational subconscious side. "Id".
The film's Freudian theme is very cleverly metaphorized through thoughtful, seemingly unimportant details (the cook's lust for drinking, the men's lust for the daughter, etc.) and more obvious representations (the tiger jumping at the commander and the daughter, the robot being the most likable and flawless character in the whole movie, the invisible monster, etc.) during the whole film. It's really amazing how well thought out this film is. Every single aspect of it can be given meaning in the context of the film's main theme.
Even though the story very much (almost exclusively) focuses on the specific observation that's being made about human nature, the film still feels very rich, because of the high ambition that was obviously at the basis of the film's sci-fi context. - First of all, the technical aspect of the film perfectly works, the locations look really good (especially by the standards of that time) and it's just a joy to watch it. - Secondly, the ideas in this story are BIG and the film cleverly takes its time to explicate the film's story and environment. We really get to know and explore this film's sci-fi universe. I love that!
The film kind of made me think of Tarkovsky's Stalker in a certain (far-fetched) way. Stylistically, the films couldn't be further apart, but both movies touch on very similar topical issues, in my opinion. So, don't expect this picture to be a high level philosophical film or anything like that. It just tells an exciting sci-fi adventure that happens to have very interesting substantial aspects to it when studied more intensively. It's said to be loosely inspired by Shakespeare's 'The Tempest'.
Back to the small comparison I wanted to make between both films. In Forbidden Planet, we witness why extremely developed technology in the hands of mankind can be dangerous (it's told in a very symbolic manner, but the argument the film's making is very clear) and in Stalker, we basically get a meditation on why the existence of the "supernatural" (a sort of "wishing room" in this case) could be more dangerous than positive, when it can be manipulated by men. In other words, two of mankind's biggest wishes are fulfilled, but ultimately seem to have unforeseen negative side effects, because there seems to be something wrong with us!
Both films basically talk about the tragic unreliability of humanity. We can't trust other people and we can't even trust ourselves, because we never fully have control over neither of the two. There's a potential monster in all of us, even if there aren't any bad intentions... The point is not to be scared, but to be aware of the 'Id'-aspect of your nature. Don't deny its existence and don't be blind for its possible consequences.
"It will remind us that we are, after all, not God."
If there was an "11" rating, this film would surely deserve it. This film succeeds on so many levels, that it's almost impossible to catalog them all. To say that it is "ahead of its time," would be a gross understatement. Every "perfect' movie, in my opinion, must contain elements that all 'perfect' movies must have from actors, to story, to concept and production. This landmark film has it all. From its handsome leading man, Leslie Nielson, whose screen presence would be seen in many decades of popular films to come, to the stalwart father figure, a superb Walter Pidgeon, and to a luminous Anne Francis, whose forthright, powerfully sexy lead character was also a foretaste of things to come (remember, this was only 1956!). And the supporting cast was equally excellent, with so many future stars contained in the lineup that it is equally as difficult to mention them all. Suffice it to say, television would be short at least a half dozen series leads without them. Then, the story. Shakespeare said it best, so why try to rewrite history... "the play's the thing." This script had so many memorable lines in it that it simply beggars the imagination. I can think of at least 90% of the sci fi dialogue written for the film still being used today. How about, "a simple blaster"? Or, "hyperspace"?? Star Wars wouldn't have been the same without it, ditto, Star Trek. When the space ship first enters the atmosphere of Altair, the entire crew undergoes a preparation to slow to "light speed" that predates current space technology by about a thousand years. Just listen to Nielson's explanation of the process. And what about, "Monsters from the Id"?? Who would even THINK of using an homage to Dr. Freud in in mid-fifties? The special effects, crude and impossibly low tech by today's standards, set a mood that still manages to excite my imagination every time I see it. Many film critics agree that 40% of a movie is the music, and once again this film sets an entirely new standard for science fiction films for years and decades to come, in its futuristic use of the totally electronic score featuring the fabulous tonalities of Louis and Bebe Barron. From my perspective, a truly great film never gets old in the rewatching, but only ignites the same wonder and fascination that it engendered in its day. In this way, this film succeeds on every conceivable level. It has become a part of my past, and my present. It's timeless.
United Planet cruiser C57D is traveling to the planetary system of
Altair. Commander Adams (Leslie Nielsen) and his crew find only two
survivors on Altair-4 where a spaceship disappeared 20 years ago; Dr.
Edward Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) and his daughter Altaira (Anne
Francis). The crew is met by Robby the Robot. There was an advanced
race called Krell that mysteriously died out 2000 centuries before,
leaving behind a device called plastic educator in a library. There is
also a mysterious invisible monster on the loose.
This story has elements of Shakespeare's The Tempest. It's a groundbreaking sci-fi. Parts of it still look amazing. The paintings of the otherworldly is beautiful. Robby is now a movie icon. It's got the eerie music. There is a bit too much exposition. There is a lot of standing around explaining about things. The characters are a little stiff. They spend too much screen time doing very limited things. There's even a ship's cook dressed like coming off a WWII ship providing comic relief. However nobody can deny that this is an iconic sci-fi movie. It deserves its higher rating.
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" line in the
film) 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 puffed 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 a travesty, a reflection of audiences too stupid to get it. 8.7, which the slicker but inferior Star Wars and the Matrix get, would be far more fitting.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The plot of Forbidden Planet is so well known to most I won't go over
it much here. I have to say that FP is certainly one of the two, or
three best sci-fi films of the 1950s. It Came from Outer Space and This
Island Earth are two more which a strong argument for being "the best"
can be made.
True enough, some of the effects are a bit on the hokey side by modern standards, but this was 1956, after all, remember.
It is good to have some examples of Leslie Nielsen playing serious roles around, and this film is one of his best. I do think some of the dialog is a bit too much like a World War Two film at times, but WW II was only eleven years in the past when Forbidden Planet was produced. And like most, I cold have done as well without the comedy of Earl Holliman's cook character - I can understand why the movie isn't one of his favorites, for this was a thankless role.
I also was knocked out by Anne Francis like every other male who's ever seen this film, even if she perhaps a bit too old for portraying a twenty-year old. She has a number of genre credits, including two classic appearances on the original Twilight Zone, by the way.
Some have complained of the fact that cruiser C-57-D was a flying saucer(the first ever shown with a human crew, I believe), but the 1950s was the heyday of UFOs - the ship does fine to me.
I do feel the preaching at the end was a bit corny perhaps by modern standards; movie audiences of the period were generally much more of the "there are some things man(or here, Krell) were not meant to know" school of thinking, as were most scriptwriters, of course.
Not much else to add save that Robby the Robot remains probably the best film robot to date - he appeared on the Twilight Zone as well as numerous other TV shows at least into the 1970s, including Wonder Woman, I believe.
For those interested in novelizations, one was published in '56 as Forbidden Planet by W.J. Stuart, at a time when this wasn't often done.
In the 23rd century, after Hyperspace has made otherworldly exploration
and colonization common, the United Planets sends a crew of men to
Altair IV, where a crew mysteriously disappeared twenty years earlier.
The men are led by Leslie Nielsen (as John Adams). When his
saucer-shaped C-57D nears the Earth-like planet, Mr. Nielsen makes
radio contact with the Bellerophon's sole survivor, Walter Pidgeon (as
Edward Morbius). But, instead of welcoming the rescue ship, Mr. Pidgeon
warns Nielsen and his crew against landing. Of course, they land
On planet, Nielsen and crew find Pidgeon has created a world similar to William Shakespeare's "The Tempest" with a mini-skirted Miranda and robotic Ariel. The latter "Robby, the Robot" has been created as a servant to Pidgeon and his sexy daughter - kissable Anne Francis (as Altaira), who was born after the original crew landed. Much of the early going centers on these natural (Ms. Francis) and unnatural ("Robby") characters. The crew's apron-clad cook (Earl Holliman) gets the robot to make alcohol for him, and Francis gets Nielson and his Caucasian crew in a mating mood.
To pound home the point, we are given the guys' average age (24.6 years old) and time without women (378 days). Why they sent a group of horny heterosexual men on such a trip with no women is unexplained. After Francis falls in love, a refreshingly intellectual (Freudian) plot forms. You may recognize Mr. Holliman's effort as something straight out of "Lost in Space" - and from the moment the crew beams down, nearly every idea in "Forbidden Planet" was used on the 1960s television shows "Star Trek" and "Lost in Space". It also upped standards for the science fiction film.
****** Forbidden Planet (3/15/56) Fred Wilcox ~ Walter Pidgeon, Leslie Nielsen, Anne Francis, Earl Holliman
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film has all the classic sci-fi ingredients. You can go through
and tick all the boxes: alien planet, monsters, flying saucers, ray
guns, gung-ho all-American good guys, bad guy that comes to sticky end,
a little love interest, the latest special effects, quirky but lovable
robot and a really intelligent screen play. Whoa - hang on - that last
item's not supposed to be there !
Yes, this film was the Star Wars of it's day. Sit back and soak up the fun with the sure knowledge that after some space cowboy stuff the good guys are sure to win.
But there's so much more to this film than that. It has simply the best storyline of any science fiction film that I've ever seen, period ! By the time the the film nears the end it's already way ahead of most other science fiction films in terms of sheer enjoyment as well as interest. It's already a great sci-fi film. But then it's the thought provoking ending which for me makes this film much the best of it's class.
I'll not go through the excellent and peerless plot, other commentators have already done an great job of that. I'll just mention the two plot items from the end of the film which I found particularly fascinating. These were: firstly, that the crowning achievement of an ancient civilization was to create a machine that could turn dreams into reality. What a fantastic concept, and not so far removed from our own present day hedonistic lifestyles. And that secondly, that this machine should prove the ultimate downfall of this superior alien race of beings. And the agent of that downfall ? Monsters from the Id !
When I first saw this film as a child I was already enthralled by the film as it neared its ending, bit by bit, like a brilliant murder mystery, all was revealed and explained perfectly. But that "Monsters from the Id" thing still haunts and captivates me to this day ...
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