on November 28, 2006
Forbidden Planet is an incredible movie and no Sci-Fi fan should be without it. The transfer on the 50th Anniversary and Ultimate Collector's Editions is incredible. I've never seen the film look so bright, crisp and vibrant. The included documentaries and bonus footage are very entertaining and not to be missed.
A word of warning though, the Ultimate Collector's Edition is a bit of a rip off. The included Robby the Robot toy was the main reason I bought this set and it's much smaller (and less detailed) than the images lead you to believe. I haven't opened mine, but it looks like it's not even articulated. Definitely not worth the extra money I had to pay. The lobby card reporductions are nice, as is the tin case, but unless you plan to display these it's hard to justify the added cost.
Be smart, skip the Ultimate Collector's Edition and buy the 50th Anniversary Edition. You'll get just the exact same transfer and bonus material without the cheap toy and lobby cards.
on November 13, 2006
There are now out *four* different versions of the 50th Anniversary edition of "Forbidden Planet": 2 standard (480i) DVD sets and 2 HD-DVD sets. Both formats are available as either a super-deluxe, Ultimate Collector's Edition set offered in a thick, green and red engraved hinged metal box, as well as a standard 2-disc sleeved set. Both come with lots extras, especially the metal Ultimate. I highly recommend them to everyone if you're so inclined toward lavish DVD sets. Being a longtime "Forbidden Planet" fan and collector, I'm planning on buying the other three variant sets, too, because, well, I'm obsessed with FP and by now have lost all sense of proportion when "collecting" this terrific film.
The Ultimate Collector's Edition metal box set is described on its' outer, partial card stock cover--and be careful when removing this as it's tricky and can be easily torn--as being made of a "unique metal alloy." (Hmm. Indestructible Krell metal perhaps???) Frankly, this deluxe set is everything I had hoped it would be, though I do have some quibble(see below). Overall, though, it's a beautiful package. One of the best super-deluxe DVD sets ever produced. It even includes a proper *gunmetal gray* 3.5" Robby (not black, as some supposed "film experts" have asserted for years) and a set of smallish FP lobby card reproductions in a printed sleeve. As an extra bonus for this release, you also get Robby's other 50s science fiction film "The Invisible Boy" and a set of smallish lobby card repros for it, too.
At last this science fiction masterpiece (classic just isn't good enough) has gotten the super-deluxe treatment--and complete digital restoration--it has long deserved. The digital picture and 5.1 sound are a marvel. FP has never looked or sounded this good--ever! I've seen FP on the big CinemaScope screen a half a dozen times in the last 50 years, including a very nice 50th Anniversary revival house print. Plus, I have all the earlier video/laserdisc/DVD releases. I went over to a neighbor's home the evening I purchased this set (11-9-06) and watched a portion of this new digital remastering in 480p (progressive scan) on a 1-year old, 50" plasma display home theatre set-up. It was to die for. *TILT!* Even on my standard ratio 480i home theatre it looks spectacular. I can't imagine that FP could be much better looking in the new HD-DVD format. Let's face it, you can only push the film stock of a 50-year old CinemaScope print just so far, even when reformatting from a fine-grain vault print.
While you can currently order these DVDs cheaper here, at least for the present, I decided to pay $10.00 more locally ($49.95, which included tax) for an early release just so I could have it *Right Now* and also so I could insure getting a pristine, undamaged, set. (I've had shipping/packing damage problems to the sides/edges when ordering other deluxe metal DVD sets through the mail, notably the 1933 "King Kong" and Disney "Tomorrowland" releases).
Of special note on this set are two new documentaries done especially for the 50th Anniversary release: "Amazing! Exploring the Far Reaches of Forbidden Planet" and "Robby the Robot: Engineering a Sci-Fi Icon." They're worth the price of this set alone, IMO. Very nicely done.
My only disappointment--and I consider it a major oversight that the material was left out--is that virtually all of the supplementary material originally included on Criterion's 1989 two-disc (CAV) laserdisc release is not here. Especially MGM's original "Fatal Planet" screen treatment that clearly showed that FP started out as just another B-grade, bottom-of-the-bill programmer and then evolved into to a first-rate A production. However, scenes (and partial scenes) originally edited out of FP (taken from Louis and Bebe Barron's surviving original film score work print) are included in this new set as an extra. In fact, to my eye, it looks like the Criterion masters were used for this DVD transfer. For most this will be the first time these "lost" scenes will be seen. So I'm now planning on having the rest of that important "Making of Forbidden Planet" laserdisc material burned on to a DVD-R and then simply include it my copy of this new release.
Frankly, I wouldn't have missed the extra "The Invisible Boy" feature that's also here, though it's obvious why it was offered in the set; or even the inaccurate 3.5" Robby miniature included--the shape of his head/carapace is wrong (too fat), among other detail problems. But that's just me. I have every confidence that this Ultimate Collector's Eition will receive high marks from both reviewers and fellow "Forbidden Planet" aficionados everywhere.
BTW, for those that might not have seen them, issues #97 and #98 (from 2003 and still available from the publisher) of the long-running film magazine FilmFax contain an authoritative two-part article: "The Making of Forbidden Planet." Both come highly recommended. This two-part article is similar in scope to the famous 20-year old "Forbidden Planet" double-issue of Cinefantastique (CFQ). While it duplicates some of the same material, there's enough new/different material in these two FilmFax issues to make acquiring them worthwhile. All three magazines taken together give an extremely thorough history of FP's creation and production. I would also refer you to another recent issue of FilmFax, #108 (#112 is the current issue out as I post this.) It contains an authoritative article on the restoration of the original Robby the Robot to his original form, done for his owner Bill Malone, by Fred Barton whose company makes a full-sized, fully articulated (and very $$$!) 1-to-1 Robby reproduction. (There's an ad flyer insert for Barton's Robby included with this new FP release.) Both Malone and Barton, with their Robbies, are seen throughout the two DVD documentaries mentioned above.
on December 10, 1998
Forbidden Planet is easily one of the finest science fiction movies ever made. Although released in 1956, it still compares favorably with much flashier movies from more recent years. The film is not a "blast-fest" in the Star Wars style, but blends modest action and beautiful hand painted special effects with a fascinating study of basic human nature. Those expecting 1950's B-movie special effects will be pleasantly surprised, as top quality hand rendered artwork abounds, as well as a flying saucer with no strings attached! Also, one of the more memorable big-screen automatons, Robby the Robot, appears in much of the film. The movie also contains some of the best sci-fi film music ever recorded, as it rises and falls to the mood of the scenes. To complement the attractive visuals and sounds is excellent casting, with Walter Pidgeon perfectly suited to the imperious Dr. Morbius. Fine performances by Leslie Nielsen and Anne Francis, among others, help create a dramatic tension you can feel as the film nears its climax. Monsters, mystery and a little humor make Forbidden Planet a genuine classic, which any sci-fi fan should take time to enjoy!
on June 14, 2004
It's funny, me being a fan of science fiction and movies in general, why it is that it took me so long to get around to watching Forbidden Planet (1956). Part of it is I feel as if I've already seen the film, as clips from it are usually always shown whenever someone does a documentary on science fiction in film, as it's just such an influential and amazing piece of work. Now, I've heard that this movie is loosely based on Shakespeare's play, The Tempest, but since I've never read it, I can't comment on comparisons between the play and the film. The film stars Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Leslie Nielsen, and Robby the Robot (Yes, the robot gets a screen credit. If you look on the Internet Movie Database, you'll find it's even listed as an actor).
The story is about a spacecraft sent to learn what exactly happened to a previous spacecraft and its' crew, which had been deployed many years prior, and has since not been heard from in some time. This current mission is under the command of Commander John J. Adams (Nielsen), and soon find themselves on approach to the destination planet of the now lost ship. On their arrival, they get an ominous message, from the planet, issued by a member of the original crew, Dr. Edward Morbius (Pidgeon). Despite his warnings, they land and are soon met by a robot named Robby, who escorts them to Morbius' rather posh abode. Here we learn all the members of that fated crew have been killed off, except for Morbius and his daughter (whom Morbius had when he procreated with another member of the original crew), Altaira (Francis), by some unseen, yet completely nasty, force, to which Morbius and his daughter seem immune. Not expecting to find any survivors, Commander Adams now has to change his plans to include trying to contact his superiors and receive further instructions on how to proceed, despite Morbuis' protests that they should leave as soon as possible, leaving him and his daughter behind so that he may continue his research. What is his research? Well, it seems that many hundreds of thousands of years ago, the planet was inhabited by a highly advanced race of being called the Krell, who mysteriously vanished seemingly overnight in comparison to their collective power, intelligence and abilities, and while their cities have long since gone, a great deal of their technology survived underneath the ground, and Morbius has managed to gain some understanding of these beings, even being able to pry bits of information and such in the 20 odd years that he's been here. This amazing discovery is certainly worth writing home about, and so Commander Adams begins having the men disassemble the ship to create a device powerful enough to send a message back to his superiors, and in the meantime, starts making time with Morbius' daughter, who's never seen a man outside of her father, and is uneducated in the ways of woo. Things seem to be progressing until an unseen late night attack on the ship damages some crucial elements needed for communication, so an electrified perimeter is set up to prevent the approach of any more unannounced and unwelcome visitors. We soon find out the fence works, as a huge beastie, normally invisible, now highlighted by the electrical current, tries to attack the ship, killing a few defenders. What exactly is the nature of this beast? Is it somehow connected to the Krell? Does Morbius know more than he's letting on? Will any get off this planet alive? What the heck were these Krell up to anyway?
Forbidden Planet is inspirational, in my opinion, because it presents an well developed and thought out story above and beyond the usual `scary alien' fare we saw in the early 50's. Similar to The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), it brought a level of intelligence to the genre while managing to also entertain. Basically, whatever level you view the film on, it will provide enjoyment. It also hallmarked the first film appearance of Robby the Robot, probably one of the most popular, recognizable, and enduring icons in science fiction film history. Also, it is important to note, this is the first film to utilize an entirely electronically composed musical score. Stereotypical characterizations appear to create the various roles, but since the film was releases a good 14 years before I was even born, I can't help but wonder if the stereotypes started here, given the influence of the film. The production value overall is lavish and indicates little expense was spared in bringing the story to life. The special effects, even by today's standards, look remarkably good, and the realism in the matte painting backgrounds is truly spectacular. The tour of the huge underground Krell facility really stood out in my mind, properly highlighting the enormity and intricacies at the same time. Plot holes? Yeah, I noticed a few of them (like how'd Robby show up at the end despite every circuit being blown? And that self-destruct mechanism at the end...that seemed a bit convenient and lacking proper safeguards one would normally apply as to not accidentally cause it to go off), but these tend to pale in comparison to the overall film. As a whole, I think anyone would be hard pressed not to acknowledge this as one of the more influential films in the genre, and just a lot of fun in general.
Warner Brother's gets points from providing an excellent widescreen print (the DVD is double sided, with fullscreen on the flipside), but loses some in their complete lack of special features other than an original theatrical trailer. I find it pretty sad that this film doesn't rate the special features we so often see on new releases. Normally I'd be happy with a good looking print, but surely certain films deserve some preferential treatment, and this, in my opinion, is one of them. Oh well...
I don't know how I went for 33 years without seeing this movie. I am a big science fiction aficionado, and a massive Star Trek fan in particular. Perhaps I had subconsciously lumped this film in with other 50's-era schlock. Well, I was in error to do so.
As a Trek fanatic, it was fascinating to see a film from 1956 which was so obviously a huge inspiration for Gene Roddenberry's original series. So many aspects of this film find their way into Roddenberry's TV show:
-a "United Earth" space vessel that travels faster than light
-a transporter-like deceleration chamber,
-the storyline of checking on a missing survey team
-an ancient civilization that had evolved to the point of non-corporeal being
-brain scanners which impart huge loads of information directly into the minds of the recipient
These are but a few of the similarities, the most impressive of which might be the tonal similarity: the sense of seriousness and wonder at space exploration, mixed with just enough humor and sex appeal to keep things moving breezily.
But more than just a preview for the Star Trek show that would emerge a decade later, we also get a good story with a fine emotional core, adapted very loosely from Shakespeare's "Tempest" - a reclusive scientist (like Shakespeare's wizard), living on a secluded world with only his daughter for company, who fears losing her to visitors from far away. I won't spoil the secret we eventually learn about this scientist, but suffice it to say, it is an excellent science fiction concept which is well-fleshed out.
The performances are all good, and the actors clearly took the material seriously. Particularly good are Walter Pidgeon as Dr. Morbius, and Anne Francis as his daughter Alta. Leslie Nielsen cuts a fine figure as the square-jawed commander of the ship, too.
The effects are also surprisingly good for a film of this day. Yes, we can tell with our modern eyes when optical effects, matte painted backdrops, and models are being used. But the level of execution in this definitely out-shines the original Star Trek TV series from a decade later, and was probably not surpassed in quality until Kubrick's "2001" in 1968. The set designs are also terrific, with extremely detailed props.
Simply put, this is a seminal film, in the fullest possible sense of the word - it set an extremely high standard for the genre, and certainly gave birth to future greats like Star Trek. If you're a Trek fan, I consider this a must-own. If you're a student of the genre, this is equally necessary. But not only sci-fi nerds need apply - this is an interesting story with a lot of intelligence, but also a good amount of drama and heart. Just about anyone should be capable of being entertained by this - it's simply a good movie.
For a 54 year-old movie, this transfer is stunningly good. Warner Bros. has scored again with a classic film transfer. Detail is not as strong as some modern films, but there is a lovely sheen of film grain that never wavers. Colors and black levels are stable and strong throughout. And detail can be quite good at times. Certainly, no DVD could reach the levels of detail present here. Cloth textures can be quite lovely, and fine hair and facial wrinkle detail is evident. Alta's outfits are particularly nice to look at, with lots of fine cloth detail and sparkling jewels.
What really impresses are the slate of extras, all included on one dual-layer Blu-Ray disc. We get a complete 90-minute second movie, the standard def, black and white film "The Invisible Boy," featuring Robby the robot. A complete 25-minute episode of "The Thin Man" TV series is also included, featuring Robby. An hour-long (!) documentary from Turner Classic Movies delves into the culture of 50's sci-fi movies, with interviews of current sci-fi directors like Ridley Scott, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and James Cameron, and clips from dozens of contemporary 50's genre flicks. Then, we also get two featurettes, running 29 and 14 minutes respectively, looking at the production of the film and the construction of Robby the Robot. Some other vintage TV excerpts show Walter Pidgeon introducing Robbie to the home audience. 20 minutes of deleted scenes and "lost footage" rounds out a truly impressive collection of extras.
I was impressed in every way imaginable by this release. The film stands up with classics like "The Day The Earth Stood Still" and "2001" as genre must-owns. The Blu-Ray itself displays a superb quality of video, delivering both as very good high-definition as well as an accurate, film-like presentation of a cinema classic. The extras are truly exceptional, way more comprehensive than the average catalog release.
This is truly a stellar (heh, heh) release. I can't recommend it enough. I anticipate getting MANY viewings out of this title for years to come, and look forward to passing on this film classic to the next generation as well.
on June 20, 2005
Fifty years after its theatrical release FORBIDDEN PLANET still ranks as one of the greatest sci-fi movies ever created. Of it's contemporaries, only 1951's THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL approaches its intelligence and depth. Not until Stanley Kubrick brought us 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY was another science-fiction film to take such a thought-provoking approach to the human condition.
Much of the credit for the excellence of FORBIDDEN PLANET has to go to its ultimate source material, THE TEMPEST, Shakespeare's last (and arguably greatest) play.
A number of reviewers have mentioned "some Shakespear play" (sic) as the inspiration for this film, and others have admitted, "I haven't read it." I strongly recommend that anyone even mildly interested in FORBIDDEN PLANET read THE TEMPEST, and secondarily, that anyone who speaks English acquaint themselves with the Bard of Avon (that's Shakespeare, in case you didn't know...at the very least spell his name correctly!)
The film stars Walter Pidgeon as Dr. Morbius (Prospero), Anne Francis as his daughter Altaira (Miranda), Robby the Robot as himself (Ariel), and the Invisible Monster From the Id in the Caliban role.
The Forbidden Planet is visited by the crew of the spaceship C-57-D, captained by a very young, very earnest Leslie Nielsen. He is accompanied by his First Officer and Ship's Doctor with whom he trades constant wisecracks (if this all sounds familiar, it's because FORBIDDEN PLANET counts STAR TREK as one of its numerous progeny). FORBIDDEN PLANET's plot also inspired more than one episode of that show.
The Robot of LOST IN SPACE owes his existence to Robby the Robot (who later appeared in other pictures besides FORBIDDEN PLANET, a groundbreaking idea at the time). LOST IN SPACE's Jupiter II is a copy of the C-57-D. STAR TREK and LOST IN SPACE were both produced within a decade of FORBIDDEN PLANET, and their creators have credited the film as seminal.
C-57-D is searching for survivors of a human colony on the planet. As it turns out, the only survivors are the imperious Dr. Morbius, his irresistibly sexy and utterly innocent twentysomething daughter, Altaira, and Robby the Robot.
Morbius informs them that all is fine on the Forbidden Planet and bades them go on their way. Suspicious for no particular reason, the Captain and his pals decide to overstay their welcome. In recounting the history of the planet, Morbius explains that it was once the home of a superintellectual race called the Krell, and that the Krell were destroyed by some unknown force at the very height of their powers. After having the Captain stick his feet in the fire, Morbius admits that the rest of the colonists died as a result of contact with this unknown force. The words are barely out of Morbius' mouth when the crew of C-57-D reports several mysterious deaths.
Most of the rest of the film revolves around efforts to battle what turns out to be an invisible monster bent on mindless destruction. The origins of the monster cause one to consider the conundrum of the atomic age: whether a mankind bent on technological advancement is better off than a mankind that lived in a simpler time.
FORBIDDEN PLANET never lags. The script is well-honed, and the story moves along at a rapid clip (even for 1956), always keeping the viewer's attention.
The dialogue is furiously funny at times. Besides the ongoing byplay between the Captain and his cronies, Earl Holliman hams it up as the ship's often-inebriated cook, who strikes up a satisfyingly one-sided business relationship with Robby the Robot. Altaira is gently amusing. Never having met any man besides her father, she is wide-eyed and curious about the visitors. After the men lead her in some discussion on the subject, she decides she just MUST practice her kissing, a task for which the dedicated crew volunteers at every available moment thereafter.
The very attractive Anne Francis (TV's HONEY WEST) is fitted out in some criminally short minidresses which are slam-dunk guaranteed to hold the attention of a typical heterosexual male viewer. A few of her dresses were banned by studio censors as being too much (or too little) and were not used in the film. Her wardrobe definitely gave impetus to the female crew uniforms on STAR TREK. The actual costumes in this movie were later used in the less-than-memorable low-budget QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE, starring Zsa Zsa Gabor as a Venusian woman with a Budapest accent (!). A practice kissing sequence also made it into that film.
Miss Francis is the acknowledged original "Space Babe." Though Altaira is essentially a sex kitten role, she manages to imbue the character with dignity and humor, and gives a memorable performance.
The sets are all posh and wonderfully futuristic (in a 1950s Swedish modern sort of way). The special effects were cutting-edge for their time. MGM spared no expense in producing this big-budget color picture and hired Disney Studios to create the effects. (Yes, they look rather dated now, but considering they are fifty years old, they hold up surprisingly well against today's CGI.) The electronic soundtrack is still a definite attention-getter.
With its balanced mix of science fiction, comedy, and classic drama, FORBIDDEN PLANET stands as one of the finest movies ever made.
on October 19, 2006
Forbidden Planet deserves all of the praise accorded it by my fellow reviewers. Please allow me to submit for your viewing pleasure a brief list of things to watch for during this film.
We are all familiar with producer Irwin Allen's TV series like Lost in Space and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Many of the cool design features in these TV series were lifted directly from Forbidden Planet. I don't know if this was Allen's idea or that of his production designers. Here are a few items to watch for and compare in his TV shows.
In Forbidden Planet we see the first use of a saucer shaped U.S. space craft, (called cruiser C-57-D) which inspired the design of the Jupiter 2 in Lost In Space. The "Astro-gater" on board said saucer, a glass domed device with a moving mini-saucer inside it to simulate the ship's position in space, is copied for the same purpose in the Jupiter 2- it is the cool floor-standing machine in the middle of the main deck! Notice the landing gear of the saucer incorporates steps inside each of the legs- and so do the Jupiter 2's. Robby obviously inspired the robot on the same show, not to mention the "freezing tubes" for crew suspended animation; and the Robinsons even have outdoor forcefield projectors just like the ones in Forbidden Planet!
In the TV series The Time Tunnel, the overall design of the whole complex, with it's view of a canyon-deep, multi-story underground city, is lifted directly from the same construction of the Krell. The wide-shot used in Tunnel's first episode, of the tunnel itself, is a matte shot using the same artistic style as that in Forbidden Planet. Look at how the lights are handled as they give us a disappearing perspective.
Forbidden Planet is also famous for it's sound-music track which exclusively used the Therimin electronic sound instrument, used earlier to great spooky effect in The Day the Earth Stood Still. But did you know that the device was invented in Communist Russia in the 1920's? When the inventor, Therimin, would come to the U.S. to demonstrate it in concerts, he conducted espionage against our country on behalf of the NKVD, Stalin's spy agency. Nice guy, huh?
An almost "sister" film, is Universal's big budget blockbuster This Island Earth, which features several design elements in common with Forbidden Planet: More plexiglass "freezing tubes", a saucer shaped ship and a tram ride to show off the marvels of the alien civilization.
Irwin Allen had no monopoly on borrowing from Forbidden Planet, either. Whether by design or accident Star Trek may have done the same thing. Leslie Nielsen's crew scans the planet Altair 4 for structures and other signs of civilization just as the Enterprise uses it's 'ship's sensors' to do the same thing. When landing his ship Leslie Nielsen looks into microscope-and-viewer type instruments in much the same way Spock uses his science bay station on the bridge of the Enterprise.
Have any of you ever noticed how many of the set pieces and props turned up in other studios production's and even TV shows? Look for things like the Krell power gauges and the crewmen's uniforms on programs like The Twilight Zone, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and many, many other "B" sci-fi pictures made after 1956. I recall that the flying saucer that lands on Agnes Moorhead's roof in one episode of Twilight Zone is the miniature of the U.S. space cruiser from Forbidden Planet. She takes an Axe to it ! (Fortunately you can tell in that shot that it is a different model that is shown chopped up- thou shalt not mess up a rented prop!)
I'm sure many of you can find even more things copied from this wonderful, ground-breaking film which have been used in other productions. Have fun!
on May 1, 2003
This is classic 1950's science fiction at its best. The plot plays a lot like an old Star Trek episode -- the crew journeys to a seemingly safe planet; they encounter trouble and have to figure out the problem in order to get away with their lives.
Leslie Nielson, Walter Pigeon and Anne Francis put in great performances. Seeing a much younger Leslie Nielson in a more serious role is refreshing. Forbidden Planet was nominated for an Academy Award in 1957 for Best Special Effects but lost out to the other film nominated in the category, The Ten Commandments. The electronic score is truly out-of-this-world and really makes the movie.
I particularly enjoyed the painted scenery/backdrops and the laser fire drawn onto the film (sometimes not lined up quite right) as well as the movie poster (DVD cover) not being quite true to the story line. After you've seen the movie, check it out and you'll see what I mean.
The story was fun, though definitely dated. If you enjoy old science fiction, then this is a good movie for you. Don't expect the plot to be too deep or thought-provoking, though the premise of the movie does give something to think about. This is a fun, entertaining movie from the 50'.
The DVD doesn't have much in the way of extras. There's just a theatrical trailer that gives away too much of the film.
This is a classic science fiction movie that I could easily watch again (several times).
Watch again: Yes
on July 23, 1997
OOOhhhh! Fliping through the channels...surfing the cable and ...WOW! What is this? Cool! C57D, a flying saucer with, YES it's Leslie Nielsen as ever-so-serious Captain.
Forbidden Planet, was MGM's high-budget, risky venture at making the one of the finest Color Sci-Fi classics in the 50's. Unlike many of the low budget movies of the genre, FP remains to this day a very entertaining and captivating film. I have to say, that it changed my life as a kid, because it gave me the desire to explore more books about Sci-Fi. Now, I am a Software Engineer with thousands of video tapes. Monster movies are my favorites, and speaking of monsters, the one in FP is on the top of my list of BEST MONSTERS (those you really don't want to ever meet in a dark...even a well lit alley).
The story: Based on a screenplay by Irving Block and Allen Adler (Fatal Planet), it takes its inspiration from Shakespears's THE TEMPEST. In a nutshell, Spacemen come to rescue a lost group of colonists, only to find that most have died long ago. Only Dr. Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) and his daughter Altaira (Anne Francis) remain. They tell Commander Adams (Leslie Nielsen) that 20 years ago, when they first landed, some invisible power killed everyone but Dr.Morbius and his wife (now deceased from natural causes). Soon, we find that the good Doctor has discovered that the KRELL, a once powerful race of aliens, lived below the surface of Altair-4 (where they are) and they created a machine that is 20x20x20 miles square (thats 8000 cubic miles of Klystrons and Relays...and they never stop self repairing themselves!). Well, before you know it, the Monster is back...and people are dying...and well, the big, bad disintigrator beams from the ship's main weapons are NOT stopping it!
I must mention that this was the first movie with ROBBY THE ROBOT. ROBBY was based on Asimov's Robots Rules of order, and for the most part was just a big lovable teady-bear. He could never hurt anyone, but watch how Morbius proves this by having Robby point a "BLASTER" at the Commander! The way Nielsen clinches his fists was so telling!.
The sets were beautiful, the saucer flys perfectly (notice the shadows and the dust when it lands). So much here that you simply must watch very closely to the detail, it really is worth it. Speaking of detail, the Monster was pretty easy...because it was MOSTLY invisible. Joshua Meador (on loan from Disney Studios) made the animation of the monster. It is Crude by comparison to the new Computer Generated Animation (CGA), but for its time it was AWESOME! The monster, by the way, is powered by 2700 thermo-nuclear reactors, and can recreate itself, microsecond after microsecond! NO! IT CANNOT BE DESTROYED! (You thought ALIENS were tough! HAH!)
Well, there is a little love story going on with the Commander and Altaira, and Daddy doesn't like it. Go Figure! Anyway, I won't give it all away, just GET IT AND ENJOY!
on September 20, 2000
What a Soundtrack! What a screenplay! What fantastic voices of Walter Pidgeon, Leslie Neilsen, and Robby the Robot!Terrific acting by fit, goodlooking actors! And Anne Francis--a blonde beauty with a mole on her face!--as Leslie Neilsen says in the movie when she's coming out of the water after a swim, "Holy murder!" Look out, Cindy Crawford!
It's been over 30 years since I barely caught the tail end of this movie on a black and white tv set in Philadelphia, and it's still the best movie I've ever seen! And it's one of only 3 movies I love to watch again and again!
Here are the basics: the producers and creative team took Shakespeare's "The Tempest," moved the story to the year 2200 A.D., created a soundtrack called "electronic tonalities," cast Walter Pidgeon--a veteran of over 100 movies-- and turned him into a mad scientist, gave Leslie Neilsen a chance to show what a terrific, well rounded leading man he is, made Anne Francis a fabulous scientist's daughter, and threw in super character actors Warren Stevens, Jack Kelly ("Maverick"), Richard Anderson ("The Six Million Dollar Man"), and Earl Holliman ("Police Woman"), and invented the most eloquent, talented, and likable robot ever to grace the screen, and mixed science fiction, a love story, and a murder mystery on a planet light years away from Earth!
Walter Pidgeon is Morbius, the sole survivor of an Earth expedition years before, a philologist who is living alone on Altair 4 with Altaira (Anne Francis), his young sexy daughter, and a robot, Robby, who speaks "187 languages and a variety of subtongues," when Commander J.J. Adams (Leslie Nielsen) and his crew arrive from Earth in the C-57D, a flying saucer.
The saucer lands, and Nielsen and his crew soon learn that Pidgeon's colleagues were all murdered, as he tells them, "torn literally limb from limb by soem mysterious force that never once showed itself." Leslie Nielsen plays his role very much like Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer, tough but fair, a ladies man, and carefully adding up the clues to gradually find the killer.
"Forbidden Planet" is a beautiful movie, a textbook on how a movie should be made: have actors who look the part and who have good voices, write a great script, and use terrific music, props, and special effects. And throw in the old "Boy meets Girl, Boy loses Girl, Boy gets Girl theme!"
(And it's obvious that Gene Roddenberry spent a LOT of time watching this movie because "Star Trek" is an obvious "Forbidden Planet" ripoff! )
"Forbidden Planet" is better than "Star Wars" because it's more mature, better than "Gone With the Wind" because it deals with the future, not the past, and better than "Titanic" because Leslie Nielsen is a leading man both in Romance and in Action--you just know he's going to find a way to win his leading lady, and not lose her forever, like Leonardo DiCaprio did in "Titanic!"
But the best way to describe "Forbidden Planet" is to quote Leslie Nielsen's final line in the movie, "It will remind us... after all...that we are not God..."
Chari Krishnan Tango2200@Hotmail.Com