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|Index||285 reviews in total|
I just saw this movie on my first viewing and it really impressed me!
Being a Sci-Fi fan the picture was a clear "must see" for me.
I didn't know what directly to expect - its star was the "now turned comedy actor" Leslie Nielsen. I really like some of his never spoofs but I haven't really seen him in a "serious" or "non-comedy" role before; except his small performance in "The Poseidon Adventure", which I really loved - though it was a really small role.
Beside Mr. Nielsen, the stars of the movie are the two time Oscar nominee Walter Pigeon and Anne Francis. I haven't seen anything from either of the two before.
Well, to the movie. I didn't have the big expectations once I started - but after the movie really started I really found it interesting. It has a great design, both costume and art-direction; very futuristic and you can see on the most of the set, that it was made in 1950s. But that isn't a problem at all - actually it gives the movie a really cool-retro look - giving this movie a real charm!
The acting wasn't great - but it suddenly wasn't bad either! Like the production design and costumes I really loved the special effects. It is a really magnificent piece of work for the time in which it was made. And the script story was marvelous. It really never stands still, and the story is always evolving!
A MUST SEE - not only for hardcore Sci-Fi fans!
Forbidden Planet is directed by Fred M. Wilcox and stars Walter
Pidgeon, Anne Francis, and Leslie Nielsen. Screenplay is written by
Cyril Hume from an original story by Irving Block & Allen Adler
(original title being Fatal Planet). It is a CinemaScope production out
of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and is shot in Eastman Color (not Metrocolor as
suggested on some sources) by cinematographer George J. Folsey. The
piece features a novel musical score (credited as "electronic
tonalities") by Louis & Bebe Barron.
Loosely based around William Shakespeare's play The Tempest, the story sees Nielsen and the crew of the C-57D spaceship sent to the remote planet of Altair IV. Where once was a colony of Earthlings, now the only inhabitants are Dr Morbius (Pidgeon), his daughter Altaira (Francis) and Robby, a highly sophisticated Robot that Morbius had built. It transpires from Morbius that all civilisations on Altair IV was wiped out by an unseen force, but not before he himself was able to use some of the knowledge gained from the Krell race to build Robby and the Plastic Educator. However, it's not before long something starts stalking and killing the men of the C- 57D. They must get to the bottom of the mystery or they too will be wiped out.
The 50s was of course the decade of the B movie. A decade where science fiction schlockers and creaky creature features ruled the drive in theatres. As paranoia of potential nuclear war and technology spiralling out of control gripped America, film studios grasped the opportunity to make a cash killing whilst providing an entertainment stress release courtesy of science fiction based movies. Be it giant insects, creatures or alien invaders, there were some fun - some bad - and some rather smart movies that hit the silver screen. Falling into the latter category is Forbidden Planet, an intelligent and excellently produced movie that is one of the few that genuinely holds up well over 50 years since its release. To delve further would be unfair to potential newcomers to the film, but in short the piece carries interesting motifs such as sexual awakening, the power of the sub-conscious, or more appropriately the perils of a repressed conscious. It's a Freudian twister, and then some.
Also lifting Forbidden Planet a long way above those men in rubber suit movies of the decade is the production value of the piece. True, the budget was considerably larger than what was normally afforded the genre (almost $5 million), but every penny is up there on the screen. The CinemaScope really brings to the front the sets and visual effects, while the Eastman Color fully enhances the animations and matte paintings on offer. The whole look and feel of the movie points to it being later than 1956, so it's no surprise to see musing on the DVD extras such luminaries like Spielberg, Lucas, Cameron & Scott, since Forbidden Planet has influenced as much as it has enthralled.
With one of the cleverest stories in the genre, one of its best ever robots (Robby would become a star all on his own) and certainly the best spaceship landing ever, Forbidden Planet is a genre high point and essential viewing for those interested in said genre pieces. 9/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I should say at the outset there are many, many things I love about 'Forbidden Planet' and yes, I certainly consider it a 'classic' science-fiction film for many reasons. But the adulation it has received over the years goes a bit over the top in my opinion. No less an authority than Leonard Maltin says 'Forbidden Planet' "...is one of the most ambitious and intelligent movies of its genre." Ambitious? Without a doubt. Intelligent? Depends on what part of the film you're talking about. It certainly was the most prestigious and highly-budgeted science-fiction flick to that point. At a cost of nearly $2 million (this was 1956, remember), MGM pulled out all the stops to produce a dazzling, eye-popping outer space adventure unlike anything seen on the big screen before, even employing artists from the Disney studio for some of the more elaborate special effects. 'Charming' is not usually a word used to describe special effects in sci-fi movies, yet that is the one that seems most appropriate here. Even the dreaded 'Monster from the Id' is only a well-rendered cartoon figure by the Disney people, unlikely to frighten anyone over the age of 8. When I see the various sets and take note of the art design, models, costumes, etc., I am reminded of nothing so much as 'The Wizard of Oz,' with its gorgeously saturated colors and elaborate if not always convincing effects. So much work has gone into these films that one is inclined to smile in admiration at the effort regardless. 'Forbidden Planet' is wonderful to look at. The scenes take place on obvious stage sets that are fabulously decorated, matte paintings of planets and space in the background, and intricately designed miniature sand dunes and so forth to give the illusion of depth. It's a bit like watching the most elaborately-produced stage play you'd ever see. The most believable and convincing scenes are probably the ones inside the massive Krell complex, where shots showing the vast depth and width of this inner space are well-done and credible. But then we get to the actors, darn it. The performances are almost uniformly awful, though in fairness one has to say the dialogue hardly ever transcends the level of adolescent locker-room humor, except for some passages of barely adequate scientific technobabble. Even the great actor Walter Pidgeon is reduced to giving such a hammy performance, it's lugubrious at times. A very young Leslie Nielsen stars as the spaceship commander J.J. Adams, and doesn't convey an ounce of believability or conviction in the entire film. He seems to instinctively know, thirty years ahead of time, that his true forte' lay in comedy, as there are times he seems barely able to keep a straight face reciting his lines. Every forced reaction, whether it is anger or passion or solemn meditation, looks right out of a high school play. Anne Francis, also very young, fares a little better as the supposedly innocent Alta, whom we are to believe has never seen a human male other than her father until the crew of the spaceship shows up. (Alta Morbius, now there's a name for you.) Unfortunately, even at this early age, Anne Francis seems about as virginal and naive as Elizabeth Taylor in 'Butterfield 8.' There is a good story here, buried somewhere beneath the crew-mates' leering comments about Alta and yet another juvenile subplot concerning Earl Holliman's 'Cookie,' ship's cook. (Holliman turns in a horrendous performance too. I'm guessing all these actors went straight from this movie to acting school.) Based on Shakespeare's 'The Tempest,' the story of a dead race, the Krell, and the fantastic world of machines they left behind is what most people tend to remember about 'Forbidden Planet,' and for good reason. For a few minutes here and there, you can forget about the rest of the movie and be dazzled by the Disney artists' conception of the Krell underground complex. Is it enough to make up for the rest of the film's shortcomings? You'll have to decide that on your own. Oh, and of course there's Robby the Robot, every 1950's ten-year-old's idea of what a robot should look and talk like. He's funny. In places. So, 'Forbidden Planet' to me is a very, VERY mixed bag. It deserves credit for being the inspiration for a whole wave of sci-fi films and TV shows that followed, not least of which was 'Star Trek.' But I would suggest that anyone who thinks it's more than well-staged comic book sci-fi go back and watch it again.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As science prediction, Forbidden Planet was way off. It opens with a
narrator explaining that people landed in the moon at the end of the
21st century, and a few years later figured out how to travel faster
than the speed of light.
The movie was released in 1956; one year later Sputnik was launched, our first satellite in orbit, and, of course, we landed on the moon 13 years later.
In retrospect, it's odd that the writers would be so clueless about the actual prospects for space travel. But science fiction in the 1950s was more about fantasy, and a platform for statements about human nature and spirituality, hence Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, and early Kurt Vonnegut fare like Sirens of Titan. And I remember the science fiction books of the 1950s with illustrations of finned rockets landing on a cratered moonscape.
The context of science fiction back then was other science fiction, not science. This continued with the first Star Trek series, which obviously was influenced by Forbidden Planet, including the Freudian psychological motif, as well as the stinker, Lost in Space.
And then there is the computer connection. There is a Star Trek episode, Amok Time, that also features Altair, presumably as a nod to Forbidden Planet. And it was this episode that provided the name for the first personal microcomputer, the Altair 8800, sold in 1975. It was for this computer that Bill Gates and Paul Allen wrote their first commercial computer program, laying the foundation for what would become a software company called "Microsoft."
Remember Robbie, the Robot? The inventor of the Altair was named Ed Roberts. Perhaps he should have named the Altair, "Robbie."
As to the movie, the acting is not much to write home about. Walter Pidgeon provides its main credibility. Anne Francis tries, but how do you play the part of a young woman who has never met a young man before, in the 1950s? (To see her really act, see Bad Day at Black Rock.) Leslie Nielsen plays it straight, with the dark hair of youth.
But back to the 1950s, it was a time when UFOs were very much on people's minds, and even occasionally in newspapers, though people might not have talked about it much. Here, comfortingly, we were the ones flying the flying saucers.
But the take was very different in "The Day the Earth Stood Still," 1951, where the UFO threatened to destroy Earth if we could not learn to live in peace, or in "Invaders from Mars," 1953, where aliens were dragging people underground and sticking implants in the back of their necks, turning them into zombies. Those are far better examples of 1950s science fiction movies than Forbidden Planet.
A big part of the effectiveness of Invaders from Mars is due to William Cameron Menzies, who was the production designer of Gone With the Wind.
If you do watch Forbidden Planet, make yourself an extra large bowl of popcorn to help keep you entertained.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Fellow movie-goers, Like the subject line says. The animated effects
were just beautiful, Robby is one of the coolest robots ever, some of
the set pieces look great even to my jaded 21st-century eye, the
planet's lone woman wore a breathtakingly short skirt, and the idea of
a man unconsciously projecting the foulest impulses of his id into
reality, creating a terrible invisible monster, was really cool.
But the script ... oh, dear God.
Turgid. Florid. Overly expository, and full of unconvincing pseudo-scientific jibber-jabber. And I know this was released in 1956, but the crew's boorish, panting overtures to the planet's lone woman were just embarrassing. And for no good reason, there were Earth animals running around the planet. All I can figure is that the producer pulled the director aside one day and said, "My little girl loves deer and tigers. Put some deer and tigers in there somewhere." They could have cut this down from ~100 minutes down to about 80, easily. Felt like a good (original-series) Trek episode, but deliberately, clumsily padded out to feature length.
Maybe this is when Leslie Nielsen, who plays the ship's captain, decided to get into spoofing. If you're going to make movies that are sort of goofy, why not do ones that are *deliberately* goofy? Sort of like "The Andromeda Strain," this movie was more about sci-fi gee-whizzery than about effective storytelling.
If you haven't seen it, rent it some afternoon, enjoy this little bit of "the history of the future," but get ready to roll your eyes a few times.
Probably one of the most influential sci fi movies of all time. You can
see its influence in most episodes of Star Trek, and similar
movies/series. Even gave the Krell hi fi company its name...
Very original and intriguing plot, with an interesting and plausible scientific background. Some of the sub-plots are a bit silly though, especially the romantic angle. Special effects were probably revolutionary for their time.
Performances are a bit wooden. Walter Pidgeon, as Dr Morbius, is the worst of the lot: every bit of his dialogue seems like a pre-written speech. Lesle Nielsen, in only his second movie, is not too bad though. Anne Francis provides the eye candy (and I'm not complaining...). Cast also includes Richard Anderson.
A sci fi classic.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Having received no communication from a group of colonists on the planet Altair IV, the space craft C-57D is sent on a long distance voyage to investigate. Upon arrival they learn that only one person from the original colony, "Dr. Edward Morbius" (Walter Pidgeon) has managed to survive. However, he is fortunate to have a daughter named "Altaira" (Anne Francis) who was born before the rest of colonists died and she keeps him company along with a robot Dr. Morbius created called "Robby". Although Robby is certainly quite interesting it is Altaira who gets the most attention from the crew of the C-57D. Of course, the fact that it is an all male crew and they have been in space for a very long time has much to do with that. But possibly even more intriguing is the scientific equipment and knowledge left behind on the planet by a former alien species known as the Krell which is much more advanced than anything either Dr. Morbius or the captain of the C-57D, "Commander John J. Adams" (Leslie Nielsen) have ever seen. Unfortunately, despite all of the knowledge and beauty this planet has to offer there is an evil being who also lives there and it is intent on destroying everybody who gets in its way. Now rather than reveal any more of this movie and risk spoiling it for those who haven't seen it I will just say that this is an amazing science-fiction movie which still retains its charm despite being almost 60 years old. Obviously, the special effects aren't nearly as good when compared to today's standards--but even so they aren't that bad either. Likewise, the corny dialogue is equally a product of its time and in conjunction with the special effects causes the movie to seem quite dated. Yet despite all of these factors this particular film is still superior to many of the science-fiction movies made today. It is truly one of a kind. Having said that, I believe that this particular movie belongs in the collection of every serious science-fiction fan. Accordingly, I rate this movie as definitely above average.
"Forbidden Planet" is a highly influential SF movie from 1956 and
naturally since I am big "Star Trek" fan this had a huge appeal to me
since its clear where Gene Roddenberry got his inspiration from.
Apparently this was first SF movie made about humans visiting another
planet and first where human crew flew in a spaceship. To me it all
looks very much like early episodes of "Star Trek" but of course this
all has a great charm, the more plastic props and scenery, more I love
The biggest surprise is the main actor whom I didn't even recognized until I read this is a very young Leslie Nielsen - my all time favorite comic from "The Naked Gun" series - surely I recognized his name but thought this must only be a coincidence. Later I watched him again and true, I recognized a certain characteristics of Nielsen's acting (angry outbursts for example) but he was so young that his features were unrecognizable. In the role of Dr.Morbius is excellent, dignified Walter Pidgeon - now, him I recognized immediately and even before I saw him. Pidgeon had very strong, authoritative baritone voice that simply booms when he spoke and the first moment I heard his voice (we hear him before he comes on screen) I knew he sounds familiar. Sure enough, he was Mr.Zigfeld in "Funny girl". Interestingly enough, the cute who plays his daughter here (Anne Francis, dressed or should we say undressed to seduce all the spaceship crew) was also in "Funny girl" later, so its fun to recognize all these people. And there is a cutest robot, called " Robby the Robot".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In the future a spaceship headed by Commander Adams (Leslie Nielsen)
goes to the planet Altair-14 to see what became of a colony sent there
many years ago...but no one has heard from. When they get there all
they find is Dr. Morbius (Walter Pidgeon), his daughter Alterea (Anne
Francis) and Robby the Robot. It seems all the other colonists have
died off. Morbius wants them off the planet or warns they will be in
terrible danger. They ignore him until an invisible force starts to
attack them. What is it?
This was the first big budget sci-fi film. MGM made it and gave it a big budget, shot it in color and Cinemascope. It was not a huge hit when it first came out but is now considered one of the best sci-fi films of the 1950s. It's far from perfect. Some of the special effects are pathetic, the script has HUGE plot holes and gaps in logic and the acting is lousy across the board. On the other hand some special effects are outstanding. The visit to the Krell labs and the scary sequence with the Id monster are fantastic. Also there's a VERY eerie electronic music score throughout the film. I don't think it's a classic of the genre as many people do but it is a good and interesting sc-fi film.
This is a film that has been in the back of my mind for a while to watch, and it was over in the Columbo podcast website that a buddy of mine brought it to the forefront. This stars Leslie Nielsen in a very different kind of role that we're used to seeing him in, and it has to be said that he makes a credible leading man. As for the supporting cast, the sinister Dr. Morbius is characterised very well by Walter Pidgeon and his daughter, Altaira, is played nicely by Anne Francis. What with the presence of Robbie the robot, built at a cost of $125,000, and - for, what must have been at the time, an extremely novel alien landscape - one has to say that an excellent job has been done all round. One can certainly see the seeds of future sci-fi staples such as Star Trek. A must for all sci-fi fans and even those who aren't will derive at least some kind of enjoyment from this. Finally, as for the plot, this is based on 'The Tempest' by William Shakespeare, who surely brings with him his own credentials.
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