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|Index||294 reviews in total|
*** 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.
I suppose you have to take sci-fi of the 50's in context of its time.
Those guys were exploring space before the actual science, had to
improvise a lot and imagine even more. Which is why watching something
like this is so endearing these days: you get to see 1950's present
projected into some imaginary future.
- a space mission pretty much run by army yokels, including a lieutenant who makes a pass on the first babe he sees, and a cook who uses molecular robot technology to reproduce 60 gallons of whiskey. This is so unimaginable now, it may well come true when space flight becomes ordinary duty.
- the modern house of Dr. Morbius as one flow of clean, open space that pools into a living area full of smart household appliances, and opens up through glass into cascading gardens outside. "A housewife's dream" muses a character. Frank Lloy Wright was at the time building in this style, inspired by Japanese Buddhist temples.
- by contrast, the alien technology of the extinct super-race of geniuses (the Krell) is stark, geometric, conceived on a titanic scale. It's pure Metropolis, with no flow or elegance whatsoever.
- there are no computer screens of course but the notion of screen - cinematic - vision is present: notice inside the ship the weird would-be hologram with a miniature ship inside a plastic balloon, and the Krell device that projects mind images. The ship is of course a flying saucer.
- the 'forbidden' aspect of the planet is mind augmentation, the subconscious, an actual Id-monster. Freud's ideas on dreams and repressed sexuality were radical in their time, but you can see their hard limits and in my opinion, opposite effect, in the struggle to repress and control the 'monster'. Not Japanese at all.
- the moral denouement is that we best not tamper with forces beyond our comprehension, a necessity it seems of the early atomic age.
I admit it's a film of heady contrasts.
The sedentary scientist and naive bombshell daughter with their robot, next to the boisterous army crew.
The vast and obsolete looking 'futuristic' technology, next to sand deserts and the organic architecture of the house.
The pastel colors of the MGM backlot (green skies!), next to the art-deco look of machinery.
The thunderous shot that reveals the immensity of the Krell laboratories, compared to everything else being standard eye-level shots - it sticks out.
It's so heady, you can trace its unmistakable influence from Star Trek to Alien. Every visual- and story element is memorable, that's for sure. At the time, a space world this coherent must have been stupendous to watch. It's not very intelligent or cinematic in current terms though: the cinematic eye is unexciting - color has been splashed from the outside - and plotwise everything of some importance is postulated in as much stentorian tones as Hammer. It's a curious piece.
I so wish Welles in his Arkadin mode had taken this on, with blurs between the spatial investigation and Krell-transmitted 'reality'.
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 ***
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.
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
Wow... this movie only rates a 7.7 on IMDb? How many movies are better
then Blade Runner, Star Wars, Alien, The Terminator, and all 15 Star
Trek movies..? Only one, and this is it.
Yes, there's a bit of silliness, but otherwise this movie has it all: good actors, great special effects (especially for the 1950s), a robot, an alien race, a monster, and most importantly, a fantastic science fiction story, based loosely on Shakespeare's The Tempest.
The special effects are unique and stand up well even today, 60 years later. The original Star Trek series was inspired by this movie, as were many other sci-fi movies and animated features over the past 50+ years.
Hopefully the "Forbidden Planet" that's in development won't have anything to do with this except for the title.
This is almost a pilot, a very corny pilot, but corny in a nice way,
for the Star Trek series of 1966.
Since my 1970s childhood, science fiction has always been one of my very top interests and it was movies like this (and Irwin Allen TV) that turned me into a sc- fi nut.
Yes, Star Trek (1966) got a lot of ideas from this, but so did Lost In Space (1965)...look at Robby The Robot and the LIS robot...almost brothers!
If watching this movie for the first time today, a lot of the impact might be gone as everything in it has been re-used in other productions, but as they say...thanks for the memories!
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