8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Sci-Fi
Like all good film science fiction, "Forbidden Planet" keeps its concepts simple but their ramifications grand, which is just one of the reasons it is a timeless classic. Made at a time when sci-fi was the junk that kept restless kids in theater seats on Saturday afternoons, this ambitious take on Shakespeare's "The Tempest" nonetheless also aims for...
Published on July 4 2004 by Stephen Kaczmarek
3.0 out of 5 stars DVD Features on a Forbidden Planet
This 1956 science fiction classic, loosely based on Shakespeare's The Tempest, as critics enjoy lauding it, is a pure gem for the space enthusiast with a strong cast and captivating narrative. For more details on the plotline, search on IMDB.com. This reviewer, however, is concerned with the quality level and virtually featureless aspects of the Warner Brothers DVD...
Published on Jan. 21 2004
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Sci-Fi,
Like all good film science fiction, "Forbidden Planet" keeps its concepts simple but their ramifications grand, which is just one of the reasons it is a timeless classic. Made at a time when sci-fi was the junk that kept restless kids in theater seats on Saturday afternoons, this ambitious take on Shakespeare's "The Tempest" nonetheless also aims for adults that grew up on the pulp fiction of the 1920s and 30s. (Its delightful production design is a seamless mix of colors, forms, and shapes familiar from those imaginative magazine covers.) The premise is Star Trek a decade before Star Trek, as a military cruiser commanded by the hard-nosed but humane J.J. Adams (Leslie Nielsen doing an effective melodramatic turn) visits a world populated by a secretive scholar (a wonderful Walter Pidgeon), his curious daughter (a sometimes grating Ann Francis), their robot butler (the epitome of mechanical men) and a mostly unseen terror (illustrated by topnotch Disney animators). Beyond great special effects and an innovative musical score, the film also engages a firm--if now familiar--science fiction plot, unlike so many of the noisy and expensive but ultimately overwrought and empty-headed sci-fi movies of today.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Science Fiction Classic,
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This review is from: Forbidden Planet [Blu-ray] (Bilingual) (Blu-ray)
This is an absolutely brilliant cult classic movie featuring a very young Leslie Nielsen. It is light-years ahead of its time, well made, highly watchable and definitely one for any sci-fi buff's movie collection.
Now, sure, these days we have CGI and all that good bananas, so you have to remember that this was made nearly sixty years ago and, yes, it looks like it. But considering the technical limitations that they had to struggle with, it's a bloody masterpiece! Seriously, I can't believe they were doing effects work like it then and clearly these pioneering boys blazed the trail for Jurassic Park's digital dinos, Gollum, Avatar and so on that we enjoy today.
Story-wise, it's a kinda riff on Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' and Walter Pidgeon turns in a very solid performance as the main antagonist (even if subconsciously) notwithstanding the fact that the script—and his character in particular—seems to spend the time over-explaining stuff. But it's nonetheless highly watchable and an enjoyable ride.
I should point out that Forbidden Planet is not a restored version like the *superb* recent Jaws or slightly less jaw-dropping Lawrence of Arabia, but the image quality on Blu-Ray is very good nonetheless and the colors are pleasingly vibrant. Also, the disc contains a bunch of special features including deleted and lost footage, documentary material and a couple of additional Robby The Robot flicks, bringing good value to the package.
If you love movies, sci-fi, filmaking or man-in-suit robots, this movie is a must have. Highly recommended, add to cart. :-)
4.0 out of 5 stars "Hypnotic illusions don't tear people apart!!!",
4.5 stars. Nearly fifty years later it is truly amazing how fresh this movie still looks and feels. I have always believed the primary component of any lasting film is a great story. As a child I was as mesmerized by this film as much as I was with "Star Wars." The script is both highly intelligent and highly entertaining, with much more humor and believable horror than one would expect from a 1956 film. The direction is polished and inventive, with arcing tracking shots and clever editing techniques strewn throughout the picture. The acting here is very good, with a defining performance from Walter Pidgeon as Doctor Morbius, and a surprising dramatic turn from later-day comic actor Leslie Nielsen. The supporting cast all shine, each one containing more depth of character than is normally given to secondary roles. There is a tidy ending where a chain-reaction is started by merely turning a disc then throwing a switch, with irreversible effects. A Master Race of beings create a machine 20-miles-squared that can be destroyed that easily? Not likely. Regardless, this is still one of the best Sci-fi films from the 1950s. Thank you.
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Clean Fun,
This is one of those movies that I love to watch over and over again. There's just something about the movie that draws me to it. The acting, for the most part, is laughable. Leslie Nielsen--back when he was still doing serious roles (how old is that guy?)--is particularly funny when trying to look his most serious. Just check out the expression on Nielsen's face when Morbius tells Nielsen of his premonition of death. You also have a young Richard "The Six Million Dollar Man" Anderson as the chief engineer and an equally youthful Earl "Police Woman" Holliman as the burbon-guzzling cook.
Walter Pigeon, in the role of Dr. Edward Morbius, a marooned scientist who has developed a god complex, is probably the only actor who plays his character to a high level of credibility. Rounding out the major players is Anne Francis, who plays Altaira, Morbius's "come hither" daughter.
Francis, too, gave me cause to laugh in this movie. She starts out as a 20-something, naive nature lover who's never kissed a man and, in the space of a couple of days, turns into a deliberately passionate woman who throws herself into the arms of Neilsen and spouts off lines like: "I'm ready to go with you, darling." Pretty funny stuff.
Now, I don't want you to think I'm trying to trash the movie. The story is excellent, although it was regarded as being too cerebral at the time of its release (with it's talk of "the Id"). Mindful of their viewing audience at the drive-ins of the day, moviemakers eventually placed emphasis on Robbie the Robot--Morbius's mechanical helper who can balance ten tons of metal shielding in the palm of one hand (and not tip over or sink into the ground!).
The story isn't all that complicated. A ship is sent to check on another ship that landed on the planet Altair 4 years earlier. They arrive to find everybody dead except Morbius and his daughter. Nielsen wants to evacuate the two, but Morbius has found the remnants of an now-perished civilization called the Krell and doesn't want to leave. Using their technology, he is able to harness the power of the mind and create anything from the nothing with a mere thought. But there's one problem--everybody has dreams and nighmares when they sleep. Hence, the cause of the demise of the Krell.
I won't give away the ending--I've probably given away too much already. The movie's special effects were considered cutting-edge at the time and hold up surprisingly well. And Robbie was probably the forerunner of robot designs to come for the next decade or so. Amusingly, you can find set pieces, and even the uniforms the crew wears, being used in quite few other movies of the period.
Overall, highly recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic from the Golden Age of SF Cinema!,
A liberal interpretation of William Shakespeare's THE TEMPEST, with a wee bit of Freudian psychology thrown into the mix, the 1956 science-fiction classic FORBIDDEN PLANET follows the crew of a United Planets Cruiser on a mission to the distant planet Altair IV, home to a once-thriving scientific colony that has been mysteriously incommunicado for some time.
When the cruiser reaches Altair IV, Commander John J. Adams (Leslie Nielsen) and his crew make radio contact with a Dr. Edward Morbius (Walter Pidgeon), one of the hitherto "missing" colonists. However, Morbius warns Adams to turn back, insisting that the crew will be in mortal danger if they touch down on the planet's surface. Adams orders his crew to land the ship anyway, of course, and they find that all the members of colony have perished save for three--Dr. Morbius, his curvaceous daughter Altaira (Anne Francis), and an intellectual robotic wunderkind named Robby.
Not satisfied with Morbius' explanation about what happened to the other colonists, Adams and his crew seek evidence that will either corroborate or discredit Morbius' story. What they find is the remnants of the advanced alien race that inhabited the Altair IV aeons ago. Could this hold the key that unlocks the mystery of the missing colonists?
Even after nearly half a century, FORBIDDEN PLANET remains both an interesting and thought-provoking film. Not only does it offer a clever space-age interpretation of Shakespeare's THE TEMPEST, the special FX are still eye-poppingly cool, even when faced off against the CGI FX of contemporary fare. One of the best special FX in the film is, of course, Robby the Robot. A very expensive prop for MGM to build, Robby stands at a height of 7-and-a-half feet and weighs about 300 pounds. He has become one of the most popular robots in the history of films and television, and as such, he has made cameo appearances in such movies as 1984's GREMLINS and 2003's LOONEY TUNES: BACK IN ACTION and on television shows like THE TWILIGHT ZONE and LOST IN SPACE.
In addition to Robby, the three principal human actors in FORBIDDEN PLANET also contribute to the film's success. Leslie Nielsen is well known to film buffs as the comic star of such films as THE NAKED GUN: FROM THE FILES OF POLICE SQUAD (1988) and SPY HARD (1996). But here he does an excellent job in a serious role as John J. Adams, the commander of the spaceship, and for modern audiences, then, there is this added treat of seeing Nielson play one of the stodgy establishment types that he is now famous for parodying. The deep-voiced Walter Pidgeon is a masterful old-school thespian who is also a delight to watch. Here he makes his Dr. Morbius a devilishly pompous and pendantic patriarch, and the histrionics with which he does so are perfectly suited to the character. And finally, there's the lovely Anne Francis playing Dr. Morbius' daughter, Altaira. While Ms. Francis does not have the same range or depth as Nielsen or Pidgeon, she takes a role that was meant to be eye-candy and makes it more than a mere cardboard cut-out.
So the storytelling, the FX, and the acting all combine to make FORBIDDEN PLANET a compelling film that entertains but also makes you think. And to genre fans, that is science fiction at its best.
The MGM DVD is short on extras, basically offering only the theatrical trailer. But the disc does offer the film in an anamorphic widescreen format at the film's original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and it appears that the digital transfer was made from a copy of the print that was in excellent shape for a film so old! For SF fans who want to add this piece of classic American cinema to their collections, the reasonable amazon.com price makes it easy!
3.0 out of 5 stars DVD Features on a Forbidden Planet,
By A Customer
This 1956 science fiction classic, loosely based on Shakespeare's The Tempest, as critics enjoy lauding it, is a pure gem for the space enthusiast with a strong cast and captivating narrative. For more details on the plotline, search on IMDB.com. This reviewer, however, is concerned with the quality level and virtually featureless aspects of the Warner Brothers DVD release. This MGM produced film, now distributed through Warner Brothers is a rather lackluster specimen, containing only the film,(albeit an anamorphic print,which only benefits those with widescreen televisions)and the trailer. The video and audio quality are average in comparison to the earlier laser disc version produced for the Criterion Collection, which used to go for about $100. The previous laser release also contained an inordinate amount of extras, including deleted/expanded scenes, scripting and an impressive photo gallery. WHERE is this material? In short, if you love this film, you will have to settle for the current mediocre DVD print until a "Special" edition is released if ever.
4.0 out of 5 stars From sci-fi's golden age...,
Forbidden Planet is probably the best representative of science fiction's golden age at the movies. The 1950's and 60's saw a generation of writers produce a series of excellent, though-provoking films that were all the better because they were grounded in hard science and ideas. Movie like Planet of the Apes, Forbidden Planet and Day the Earth Stood Still. Today's deriviative unimaginative sci-fi garbage films don't hold a candle to them for all their cgi glory.
The Forbidden Planet deals with an Earth ship investigating a previous landing on a nearby planet. Only one man and his teenage daughter survive and the fate of the other crew -- and the nature of the planet itself -- is shrouded in mystery.
The plot is basically The Tempest in space. And those with a keen eye will see how this movie heavily influence the original Star Trek. But this is still a treat. Anne Farris and (talk about surprises) Leslie Nielson give good performances. The special effects stand up remarkably well after so long.
But again, what sets this movie apart are the ideas. See the detail when the crew take their ship apart to build an insterstellar communicator. Or how the crew carefully and systematically deals with the dangers they are presented with.
I can't recommend this film to everyone, since too many people will get caught up in the movie's age and that many of its original ideas have been copied so much as to now be cliche'. But if you like serious sci-fi, you will love this movie. Here's a quick litmus test. If you liked the recent flashy-but-pointless Planet of the Apes, you will not like this movie. But if you liked the original though-provoking Planet of the Apes, don't hesitate to add this to your colllection.
5.0 out of 5 stars The monsters from Id!!!,
Leslie Neilson leads his crew to the Forbidden Planet to relieve the watch from years before. Little does he know the entire crew was killed by an evil force. All that is left is a scientist and his daughter.
Leslie is not the bumbling Detective Drumand in this flick. No siriee bob. Want to dream? Expect 20 extra guard duties. Wanna kiss a pretty girl? Ooh you'll get it good. But on the other hand Robby the Robot will make you 60 gallons of Kansas City Bourbon.
OK OK an advanced race called the Krell develop technology without machinery (you just have to follow me here). All the stuff runs on mind power. However since man (and all species now for that matter) are basiclly evil in the subconscious, you can create monsters from your Id. You'll just have to watch the movie. If you dose a little while you're watching it you'll be going "huh?" and "what?"
Special effects are pretty good for 1956, as is the story itself. It's a little boring for me to consider a must have classic, but I can see how this film can appeal to people on different levels. I'm more of a Plan 9 from Outer Space guy myself. I was hoping and expecting this to be a B-grade hilarious clunker. It's far from it.
5.0 out of 5 stars A restored classic,
The DVD version of this classic film is a joy to watch. Fans of classic SF films probably already have it by now -- but if you don't, then get it at once.
The film features an extremely pre-_Naked Gun_ Leslie Nielsen as Captain J.J. Adams and the great Walter Pidgeon as Dr. Morbius in what amounts to a space-age recasting of _The Tempest_. Any viewer of the original _Star Trek_ will recognize both the plot and the production values: the Mad Scientist and his Beautiful Daughter are the sole survivors of a human mission to Altair 4, where everybody else has been killed by a strange, alien power into which the Mad Scientist has managed to tap . . .
This film pretty much set the standard for what starship crews were supposed to look like. It also featured the very first all-electronic score in motion picture history. And of course there's Robby, the robot who was so obviously the model for the one in _Lost in Space_.
Don't miss this one. It's not just your typical 1950s SF thriller; for its time, its special effects were on the cutting edge and its plot was fairly ambitious.
5.0 out of 5 stars Beauty, The Beast, And Robby The Robot too!,
Commander J. J. Adams (Leslie Nielson) leads a crew of deep space explorers on a mission to Altair 4, to check on a colony there. Altair 4 is a psychedelic planet with a green sky. Upon arrival, Adams and company find only one man named Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) and his daughter Altaira (Anne Francis- one of the sexiest women in ANY galaxy) alive. Morbius explains that the others were killed by some strange, unseen force. Morbius is a solemn, mysterious sort of guy himself, and it's apparent that he's not telling the whole truth. He's built a virtual paradise in the middle of a wasteland, complete with a forest, deer, and a tiger. Morbius also has a robot named Robby, who does all of the menial labor around the stellar estate. Adams and his men soon learn that all is not well on Altair 4. An unstoppable, invisible entity is unleashed, tearing crewmembers to pieces, while absorbing their laser blasts into it's incredible mass. Adams and his first mate learn that Morbius has tapped into a vast computer network (about the size of Cleveland), left behind by a now extinct race of super-beings called "the Krell". Somehow, using this network, Morbius can release his "id" to do his insane bidding. Will anyone be going back to earth at all? Can the invisible horror be defeated? Will Walter Pidgeon and Anne Francis live on to star together again in Funny Girl with Barbra Streisand? Watch and see. Highly recommended...
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