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The Invisible Boy
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Invisible Boy More at IMDbPro »

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27 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Pleasantly odd.

Author: vjuhoh
14 July 2004

Such a strange film. One that doesn't really know which gimmick to run with: the super computer, the borrowed and infamous Robby the robot, invisibility, or space travel. It's a schizophrenic jumble of the time's sci-fi staples, with absurdly weak links. Still, I can't say it was ever dull.

One thing that struck me about this picture, was the dry humor involving the Scientist father. He reacts almost casually to his son's sudden intelligence boost and invisibility. It comes off like a satire of the Cleaver-type family, and was a welcome surprise.

Give this one a chance if you catch it on Turner Classic Movies one night. But I wouldn't recommend seeking it out for purchase.

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23 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Grown-ups just don't understand

Author: (michael.e.barrett@worldnet.att.net) from Universal City, TX
8 August 2002

This little picture has its moments of pulp poetry. There are not one, but two intelligent machines. One is a supercomputer that's been biding its time for decades, waiting for an opportunity that arrives one day in the form of a lonely little boy. He is invisible in the sense that the grown-ups pay no attention to him, condescend to him, or talk over his head--they just don't understand! When he becomes literally invisible later, it's just a way of literalizing what the movie has already been saying.

Anyway, the computer hypnotizes the boy and gives him instructions about putting together a robot that's lying disassembled in a workroom. It's all part of the evil plan to use boy and robot in a plot to take over the world via satellite.

The best moment comes when the insidious computer, invented by the boy's father, flashes all his lights and promises that they can explore the universe together. "Dad--" the boy starts to complain. "Just be quiet, son," says Dad, "and look at all the pretty lights." Man spellbound by his own invention, even unto his own destruction, and taking his future generations with him . . . .

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25 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Nightmare revisited

6/10
Author: robin-414 from United Kingdom
15 January 2006

I feel compelled to add my two pennyworth, as the shade of this movie has been with me for most of my life. One of the most terrifying things I ever saw on TV, and I think I was only four, so this was back in 1959, was a clip from The Invisible Boy. I had no idea what a robot was, and so my introduction to the concept was this most impressive creation, 'Robby'. They must have been very generous with the footage, because I saw the whole kite sequence and the aftermath. I must have been watching through my fingers for most of the time, because when the kid is talking to Robby, he is on the top of a stepladder, and for a long time, I didn't even realise that the robot had a proper body, I thought it was just a great big glass head. Also, I thought that the chap announcing the clip had said Robin the Robot, and, I thought, hey, that's my name, so there was a scary identification thing happening there, too. I only remember that this sequence played on my mind - big giant glass head and a small boy - I was plagued by the notion that Robby the Robot might, one day, come lurching into our house, with his big old twirling pirate-earring antennae.

Flash forward to January 2006. I had never seen a single section of this film since that nightmarish trailer on our little old wooden television set. Now I have it in my grasp, after finding it on DVD. I cut straight to the scene that scared me so much. It's astonishing how clearly it has registered on my memory. I even remember some of the dialogue.

Having now watched this movie all the way through, I can only concur with several of the other reviews, and there is little that I can add. It certainly is a pretty uneven movie, and it looks like several different writers and directors worked on different sequences without ever liaising, although I don't believe this to be the case.

One of the other reviewers referred to this, I think, as a child's nightmare, and that's a very apt description. The film's unevenness of mood adds to its bad-dream quality.

The sequences that contain intentional humour are quite well-devised, but seem to belong to a little film of their own. The cast of competent nobodies deal with their lines pretty well, whether they know what the heck is going on or not.

Robby has quite a lot to do, and, under the evil influence of the super-computer (this is part of the standard published synopsis, so I'm not giving anything away), gets to be menacing, which he's really rather good at, although his credibility wavers at one point, when he actually pops up from behind a bush in the garden. That has to be seen to be believed.

I'm so glad I laid this ghost after 46 years, especially as the film is one of the strangest things I've enjoyed in many a long day.

It's not really a good, or well-crafted film, but it's weird enough to merit my recommendation, especially as it has big, scary old Robby the Robot!

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24 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Possible sequel to Forbidden Planet?

Author: JeffG-4 from Greendale, WI.
4 April 1999

Some movie trivia sleuths consider this film to be sort of a "sequel" to Forbidden Planet" (also a Nick Nayfack production). Look for a scene early in the film where the disassembled "Robby" is found in a present-day scientist's store room, with notes indicating the scientist had developed a way of going into the future, where he obtained the robot. Also in this room is a picture that the young boy comments on, showing "Robby" emerging from the Forbidden Planet saucer ship at the "Chicago Spaceport" in the year 2242, inferring that Commander Adams, Altaira, and the rest of the crew made it back to Earth safely after the Krell furnaces caused the explosion of Altair IV at the end of that film.

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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Early Atomic Age Caveat

7/10
Author: cshep from Laguna Woods, CA.
6 July 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If demographics had been in use in the 1950's , half of the films would never have made the screen, such is the case of " The Invisible Boy. " Try to imagine a movie that would introduce the Atomic Age, to young children, with a Robot as your Best Buddy. Fighting against the unknown evil of an Atomic powered SuperComputer, with a consciousness bent on destruction . With tickets going about 35 cents, it would take more than one run to turn a profit. This is where I complement the screenwriter, director and producer for having the vision and courage to attempt this project. But that being said, a little more effort could have gone along way. Richard Eyer is perfectly cast , as the young naive prodigy, looking for a friend to share ,in a world changing at a rapidly increasing rate. Enter Robby the Robot, never underestimate the power of this legend,almost every boys dream in the 50's. Together they share a modest trip into the world of adults and computers. A timely movie in the sense it it was at the doorstep of the Atomic Age. If you can view it on a BIG screen, the impact is greater. A mild thriller for Boys 10.

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15 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

A Child's Beautiful Nightmare

10/10
Author: Bolesroor from New York, NY USA
4 July 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When we use the term nightmare we mean "bad dream." And they certainly are. In every nightmare is the feeling of raw fear, more palpable and threatening than we've ever felt while awake. It's a primal emotion and the heart of most bad dreams. But in truth there is much more to a nightmare... there is some good stuff. Some good, unforgettable, carnival-like, Lynchian, Felliniesque, wrong turns and back alleys of the unconscious. Alternate realities, non-linear consequences in a twisted universe where nothing makes sense.

When I say that "The Invisible Boy" is a perfectly realized nightmare I mean it in the best sense of the word. It was made in 1957 but taps into the primal fantasies of perhaps every boy in America up to the present. Timmie is a lad who doesn't get the attention from his Father that he wants... what boy does? Timmie's father is a scientist who's too busy to play with the boy, too closed off to make an emotional connection, so he brings his son to his super-computer, passing off parental responsibility. After the computer brainwashes young Timmie, Dad allows the boy to play with a disassembled robot from the future(!) which is lying around his workshop. Timmie, guided by the evil SuperComputer, easily assembles and awakens the Robot who becomes the friend the boy has always wanted. Or is he? Turns out the Robot is only using Timmie as a pawn in a plan to take over the world using satellites. All Timmie wants is someone to play with.

Timmie is turned invisible, but his parents don't seem to be alarmed. The Robot tricks the boy into a rocket and they take off to orbit the Earth and await orders from the SuperComputer that's masterminding the sinister mission.

The most jaw-dropping moment of the movie for me was when Timmie, orbiting the Earth in the Robot's rocket, comes out of invisibility and asks the Robot if they can finally play as he's been promised all along. There's a vulnerability in this dark scene that is at once hypnotic and heartbreaking. Could this be happening? Should we be watching this? Was this dark a picture really passed off as children's fare in the 1950's? God I hope so... the entire film plays like a fever dream, the fantasy of a boy who ate too much birthday cake and drifted off to sleep among the torn wrapping paper and party hats. It's familiar and frightening... delightful but horrifying. There is a genuinely subversive feel to the proceedings...

Mind-bogglingly bizarre and strangely beautiful, this movie walks the line between childhood fantasy and the emergence of the technological being, of corny 50's sitcoms and cold-eyed apocalypse. It presents the darkest fears of the nuclear age warmly woven into a family fable without a moral... even in the end the boy's father is hypnotized by the blinking lights of the SuperComputer and urges his son to join him in surrendering free will and enjoying the glory of the machine, mesmerized by its blinking lights.

What else can I say? We'd be lucky to have nightmares this beautiful.

GRADE: A

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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Intriguing scene!

6/10
Author: will7370 from United States
5 November 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I think the most intriguing scene in this whole film is when we find out that Robby the Robot is really SUPPOSED to be the same one constructed by Dr. Edward Morbius on Altair-4 (in the movie Forbidden Planet). Supposedly, at the end of that movie, the United Planets' StarCruiser C-57D returns to earth with Robby the Robot and Altaira Morbius. Somehow, a professor from the 20th century travels forward in time to the 24th century in a time machine, witnesses the landing of the C-57D StarCruiser at Chicago Spaceport, takes a black and white photo of it, then somehow persuades Robby to come back with him to the 20th century. The robot then somehow ends up being dismantled and (in the movie The Invisible Boy) we find him lying in pieces covered with dust on a shelf. The boy Timmie (with the help of computer induced hypnotic instruction) then reassembles Robby.

Quite an ingenious plot device, tying the two movies together.

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13 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Can you say Colossus, the Forbin Project?

Author: mosoul from San Francisco
28 June 2003

Interesting precursor to "Colossus, the Forbin Project". A child behaves outlandishly after sleep learning seemingly impossible knowledge. He applies his technique first to beating his scientist father at chess in 6 moves and then rebuilding Robby the Robot (of "Forbidden Planet" fame). Any child would enjoy the adventures of this rather naughty boy. Adults not too jaded by current "action movies" should enjoy it too.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Computers have come a long way since this was made

9/10
Author: Chris Gaskin from Derby, England
18 August 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've seen The Invisible Boy a couple of times and found it excellent. Computers have certainly changed since this was made in 1957.

A 10 year old boy, Tim reactivates Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet and gets into all sorts of adventures, best of all being made invisible. Meanwhile, his dad's super computer, built by himself starts acting strangely and plans to rule the world and Robby becomes its slave for a while. At the end, the computer is switched off for good and Robby becomes good again.

The special effects in this movie are excellent as is the music score.

The cast includes Richard Eyer (The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad) as Tim with Phillip Abbott and Diane Brewster as his parents.

The Invisible Boy is a must for any fans of 1950's science fiction. Great fun.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Enjoyable kids' sf film

6/10
Author: Matti-Man from London, England
8 March 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've just seen a really nice print of INVISIBLE BOY. It's very much a kids' film with a fairly pedestrian plot, but then I realised that it foreshadowed all those "computer out of control" movies that followed in the 1960s (COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT) and 1970s (DEMON SEED) and even later stuff like TERMINATOR.

Also, I loved the scene where Timmy had just rebuilt Robbie and he was taking it around the scientists, obviously looking for a pat on the back, and they just all kind of sniffed and went "oh, you built a robot" like it was nothing. Every kid just has to identify with that experience.

Overall, INVISIBLE BOY is an of-its-time but entertaining sf movie. Great to see Robbie the Robot in action after his star turn in FORBIDDEN PLANET. Look carefully for the framed photo on the wall of Robbie emerging from the FP saucer ...

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