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Forbidden Planet
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Forbidden Planet More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Close to a perfect Science Fiction Film

Author: Mikel3 from U.S.A.
4 April 2015

*** 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 Even with all his outdated lights and noisy relays representing technology of the 50s, he's still the best.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.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A classic that deserves more popularity.

10/10
Author: rs9017720
10 March 2015

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.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Innovative Science Fition by the time

9/10
Author: osapeg from Argentina
6 March 2015

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

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The 50's prototype Sci-Fi film and... succulent Anne Francis

Author: Wuchak from Ohio/PA border
17 May 2013

Released in 1956, I didn't see "Forbidden Planet" until a full 40 years later. I've seen it three more times since then and here's what strikes me:

For one, although Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry is undeniably great, practically every primary aspect of Trek is present in "Forbidden Planet," which was released almost a decade before the first Star Trek pilot episode was produced (!). You name it: warp drive, Captain/First Officer/Doctor triumvirate, babe in ultra-sexy outfits, beam down/up (in a visual sense, at least), etc., it's all here in "Forbidden Planet."

The invisible id monster is truly horrifying when finally viewed. It looks like a serious rendition of the Tasmanian Devil.

***SPOILER ALERT*** Don't read this brief paragraph if you don't want to know the monster's true identity. The concept that the monster is, in reality, the personification of Dr. Morbius' lower subconscious nature (i.e. the id, "flesh" or carnal psyche) is a fascinating revelation. ***END SPOILER*** I wasn't at all expecting such mature commentary in a 50's sci-fi flick.

Furthermore, Dr. Morbius' elaboration on the former inhabitants of his planet, the Krell, is fascinating to this day and the archaic special effects hold up well.

One thing that really blows me away every time I catch this flick, of course, is Anne Francis, who plays Altaira (or Alta for short), in her ultra skimpy (and cute) outfits. It doesn't matter what profound matters are going on in the film, if she's present in a scene with one of her various outfits, my eyes are completely focused on HER -- in utter awe of her jaw-dropping beauty. If you're a red-blooded male and think I'm kidding, check out the flick and see for yourself.

I've heard some people complain about the scene where we are led to believe that Alta (Francis) is skinny-dipping, only to plainly observe that she's wearing a loose skin-colored bathing suit. Is this a cop-out on the film-maker's part because it was 1956? Not at all because the bathing suit is clearly visible once she steps out of the water. Despite her sheltered innocent nature, let's give Alta some credit -- she was obviously playing a little coquettish joke on the Captain, to shock him and stir up his mounting desire (it absolutely worked!).

Please remember that "Forbidden Planet" is from 1956 and so understandably has dated aspects, like the sound effects, small portions of goofy dialogue, etc. Regardless, it must be HAILED as the honored blueprint for numerous sci-fi films and TV series to come.

GRADE: A

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Still good if not perfect

7/10
Author: lyrast from Ireland
5 May 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I decided to watch and reassess "Forbidden Planet"{1956}. I've always felt that it was somewhat over-rated as a classic fifties sci-fi film. But it certainly still does have its moments.

On the negative side, the critics have criticised the performance of Anne Francis as "Altaira" {Alta}. There's little doubt but that the "romantic" plot element in the film is by far the worst thing about it. The "love" of Alta and Commander Adams {Leslie Nielsen} is almost completely psychologically unmotivated. It is contrived, silly and plot-forced. It's a relationship that just happens.

But is this because Anne Francis is a poor actress? I don't think so. In 1960 Francis played a manikin come to life in "After Hours", a Twilight Zone episode and did so with considerable sensitivity. The role in which she was cast in Forbidden Planet was itself a terrible, limited, stereotypical part that could offer no challenge to any actress.

Part of the problem may lie in the nature of Science-Fiction itself. It is a genre which is heavily theme-oriented and usually relies on the idea of human manipulation of the external environment through scientifically created artifacts. "Soft" sci-fi tends to emphasize the areas of psychological and sociological extrapolations. For the most part, the idea becomes the great central focus. In this situation it is certainly all too easy for deeply felt human emotions to simply be taken for granted. That is what happens to the romantic love element of the plot here. Alta is the heroine so she has to fall for the Commander who has to rescue her from her deluded father so they can live happily ever after. Neither Francis nor, for that matter, Nielsen has much chance to shine in that kind of scenario.

On the positive side, the film has some excellent and striking set designs. The Shuttle shaft section is particularly impressive. The "Id" monster is quite an effective creation. Pidgeon is good as Dr Morbius, the deluded scientist who finally redeems himself.

Perhaps the best quality of the film is the very one that should be good in science-fiction. "Forbidden Planet" does have a profound, though-provoking central theme. The alien Krell--the super race who have disappeared--become metaphors for the human race. In them we see that ultimate destruction lies not in the things created through science but in "subconscious hate, lust for destruction". The tendency of the human condition is to twist, deform, and destroy that which in itself is good. Even the super-race was imperfect. So are we.

It is a theme we see too in "The Day the Earth Stood Still". There it is presented in another variation of the danger of apocalyptic destruction. "This Island Earth" is yet another examination of the same concept. In some ways these films are scientific recreations of the great religious dogma of Original Sin! It has been said that "Forbidden Planet" is a scientific meditation on Shakespeare's "The Tempest". Forget it! Any resemblance to the great Late comedy of the Bard is so vague as to appear purely coincidental. Enjoy the film for what it is: a solid, often brilliant--if somewhat flawed--study of human fallibility.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

probably second only to the 'original' 'thing from another world'

10/10
Author: gfourmil from United States
4 February 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

this was one of those $.50 cent deals of yore---and far more complex than most realize---and it was in color! not only are the effects extraordinary, vs. crap like 'earth vs. the flying saucers'---the real 'killer' is the 'universality of plot'---everything hinges on two principles---the ancient concept of a hidden incestuous-thinking father's desire for his daughter, and the idea of what would happen should a world's tech reach the point where all citizen's desires become manifest.

needless to say if everyone we wished dead gets dead, not many, if any left---and that became the fate of the 'forbidden' planet's populace---rather modern, actually. unfortunately the 'gear' of 'The Krell'---wasted by ignorance, remains, and 'Morpheus', the incestuous father, knows how to access such tech---and does so, to prevent losing his daughter to another. ancient plot, beautifully rendered.

and considering its age, it remains a stunning suspense, action, human-emotion classic---and visually very modern---don't pass this one up---it presages all modern sci-fi---and its pscychological content elevates it, beyond any genre---a timeless work---

and the soundtract! you will see/hear no pure 'synth' and perfectly syched Moog background---a 'not miss'---

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The prototype of Star Trek and Lost in Space

Author: dualkubota from United States
27 April 2006

Now I know where the goofy robot on "Lost in Space" comes from. The robot in this movie is almost identical to it. This movie predates Lost and Star Trek by 10 years, I guess it must be the prototype. Campy space suits, weird over-serious acting (the same way anybody would act if they were on another planet, I guess), but this movie was made in 1956 in the wake of Sputnik so it might be the first of its type. And look at Leslie Nielsen with brown hair, and so young, but don't expect him to say "Don't call me Shirlie" this is not the funny Leslie that we are accustomed to by now. Also in this movie are the original "Beam me up Scotty" transports, where Altaira is transported in an almost identical way with even the same sound effects as in the 1960's Star Trek episodes. Doors that open automatically, guns that send out light beams just like phasers, masers and tasers...invisible force fields, computers that read your mind, scientists with IQ's of 180. Everything is here, if you watch this movie you can skip all the TV shows. And everything is low budget and campy, just like on TV.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Influential but Cheesy Sci-Fi

6/10
Author: kenjha
12 February 2011

A spaceship is sent on a rescue mission to a planet where a previous mission went awry. Regarded by many as an early sci-fi classic, this film deserves credit for influencing the likes of "Star Trek" and "Star Wars." However, it's not a great film by any means. Too much time is spent on showing off the sets and special effects. It may have been impressive for its time, but now the sets look fake and the effects are primitive. The cheesy electronic soundtrack becomes annoying after a while. Pidgeon is well cast as the scientist. Nielsen makes one wonder how this film might have worked as a spoof. Francis does little more than wear short dresses and look lustfully at men.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Excellent

10/10
Author: xargox from Italy
1 July 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A great, forever young and amazing film! As the Space Patrol lands on a planet searching for the survivors on their's crashing point, they're obliged to face a lot of problems: in the end all connected to each one. But it's very difficult to find this connection. Most of all I'm sure that without this celebrated SF movie, "Star Trek" could never have been taken off. Please look to the shape of the starship and the costumes. What about the Captain and the Doctor (anticipating Kirk and Bones)? Definitely I consider "Forbidden Planet" the true prequel to all that wonderful TV series. The message is very important and well developed, thanks to Disney and the crew. Great sixtie's colours. Everybody's love to beautiful Altaira. Where's Robby now? Ciao to all the Trekkers Guido Gossi

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

The total potential here must be nothing less than astronomical.

8/10
Author: lastliberal from United States
3 February 2008

This is a special film due to the Special Effects by A. Arnold Gillespie, Irving G. Ries, and Wesley C. Miller. For 1956, they were awesome!

But there was also some good acting in this film. For once, I got to see Leslie Nielsen before he made those ridiculous movies like The Naked Gun 2½.

Walter Pidgeon (Oscar nominations for Madame Curie and Mrs. Miniver) was really good as Dr. Morbius.

I enjoyed Ann Francis. I have missed her since "Honey West." And, of course, Robby the Robot stole the show.

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