on August 23, 2015
One of my old favourites. Right up there with The Man From Planet X. The first scary Sci Fi I watched. Still enjoy watching them. Leslie Neilson in the Forbidden Planet is great. The sets were very good for the time. Robby, my hero -- batteries to go required :-)
on January 5, 2013
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. :-)
on February 9, 2011
A great gem of 1950's Sci-Fi. But let's not generalize. What you'll get is a great movie all around. Truly ahead of its time, you can see its influence on future films and TV, most notably "Star Trek". When compared to the 'giant monster/bug/reptile/anything features that passed themselves off as science fiction, you can't help but marvel at a studio backing, what is in some ways, a sci-fi version of Shakespeare's "The Tempest". Featuring an intelligent script that never insults the audience, memorable characters and great special effects, I can't recommend this film enough.
The film looks great on Blu-Ray, some great bonus features include an (all too short IMO) "Making Of" doc that contains interviews with an almost-complete cast, the designers of "Robby the Robot", and the musicians behind the unique score. Also included are some deleted scenes and rare lost footage, incredible for a 54 year-old film! There is a Turner Classic documentary of 50's Sci-Fi featuring directors Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Ridley Scott and James Cameron. Fun stuff.
The only drawback is no commentary track. What a shame. With the cast assembled for the documentary, why no commentary ? Sad, with the passing of Leslie Nielsen and Anne Francis that this will not be possible in the future.
Otherwise, a must-own.
on July 4, 2004
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.
on April 1, 2013
There were many science fiction films and they all seem to spring up like the new saeson's grass during the 50's? What caused the advent of science fiction which although there were a few in the 30's well received like the Invisible man Island of LOst Souls and Shelley's Frankenstein series(I recall seeing all these films as a kid). However it wasnt until the 50's with Rocketship X_M War of the Worlds(which alfred hitchcock was not given rights to produce as well as being refused Our Man iN Havana books written in his own country)The Thing and many low budget films. Many of them especially given the lacklustre special effects (George Lucas really made special effects an industry in hollywood and changed the nature of filmmaking and the visual process of films whether you like it or not. It became a more visual experience and stress was emphasized in that dimension of the viewing process. We had special effects and often secondarily a story built around the special effects, and when I see a film this is very much a strong part of the viewing of a film, although there's no reason a strong story can not complement the experience. Practice makes perfect..and thats the idea of this film. Its origins lie in a fragment of Shakespeare's the Tempest his last play although he did later collaborate and come out of retirement to write with john fletcher(The two noble kinsman, parts of henry 8?). The film also includes some freudian psychology of his idea of the perfecting of people, I stress that not all agree. MGM is proud they made this film and it has a great reputation as a sci fi film breaking through into the mainstream and only the greatest of sci fi films or writers can say this about their product. The studio has issued a booklet describing the film and the special effects are ok given the time it was produced and it works in a few ways. The females are different, they appear like the character number 1
in Roddenberry's early jerome hunter star trek..which NBC said they didnt like and was shelved. They are intellectual artistic like someone who read the volumes of PLato..and the males are typical males and there is this fun part of the script in which the males try to engage females who cant be aroused..a cas.. type experience. Although the film is slow moving it deals with a father who dotes on his daughter like the Tempest and thats the only part of the play recreated the most NOBLE part of the play as in Kinsmen. The play by the way is also about kings and brigands and the rivalry between the cities of Milan and Naples. The ancient world a complex piece of writitng. Are there any Calibans? What is a film without a bad person here in this unified world of the far future(like STar TRek also) who are the antagonists? The antagonists are within the id the destructive and violent parts within which cause destruction here projected as a hostile force on the attack? I wont spoil it further this is a genre of filmmaking i enjoy and how film makling and the experience has changed..George LUcas love him or hate him..special effects often are so much of some film's success not much time or industry is given to writing or its scamped..not up to the high levels or expense it was given in the past? There are also many industries all over california specializing in special effects it is a growth industry many jobs and good jobs..and I dont wan tto say too much since these are very talented people..the problem often lies with producers who at times have gargantuan budgets great special effects but cardboard characters, stereotyped situations and climaxes and nothing original..like frank gorshin's copycats? Is there anyone more inventive than this little known character..here the special effects are passable and the film story complements what we see and story and special effects and all
visuals are of the same value..noble
Forbidden Planet is perhaps the pre-eminent work of 1950s science fantasy. It is not by any stretch of the imagination hard science fiction, but it is a thoughtful and intelligent offering in its own way.
Famously (but very loosely) based on Shakespeare's "The Tempest", this is a movie where there are as many potential layers of meaning as you want to find. With Morbius cast as Prospero, and Prospero in turn very likely based on the Elizabethan magus Dr. John Dee, co-creator of the Enochian magical language, is it really a co-incidence that Morbius is himself a linguist?
There is much more that I'd like to say here, but I'm holding back for the sake of those who are not already familiar with the film. I don't want to give away any spoilers. For those who have seen the film, and who feel inclined towards such exercises, I'll just ask this: to whom - or what - would you assign the respective roles of Ariel and Caliban? How would you fit your answers in with the film's wider themes? And what do your answers suggest about how matter and spirit were respectively conceived in the minds of the Elizabethans versus the Americans of the 1950s? Just something to think about.
For those who haven't yet seen Forbidden Planet, I'd say first and foremost that this is a wonderful film that works perfectly well on the level of a straightforward adventure that a 10 year old could enjoy. As a piece of science fiction, I'd only stress that such depths as you will find are of philosophy more than science; although the classic technological themes of 1950s science fiction are played out in metaphorical form. Happily though, the reds under the bed/saucers in the sky metaphor that became such a cliché in so much of the science fiction of the day is nowhere to be found.
One thing I do want to add before moving on is that this movie is well worth seeing just for the set design alone. Whether you consider it classic or dated is up to you; but for myself I will simply say that never have I seen the visual lexicon of 1950s science fiction expressed more completely.
Okay then: so much for the film. How about the DVD? Well, I'm happy to say it's awesome! Picture quality is beautiful, and there are LOADS of extras, and really good ones too. We get heaps of period promotional material, including in depth behind the scenes stuff and even an extra bonus kids' movie that also used Robbie the Robot as a prop. Incidentally, because I have seen some reviews that I've written appear for editions or releases other than the one I originally wrote them for, let me stress that I'm writing all this about Forbidden Planet (Two-Disc Special Edition).
If you check out my reviewer profile, you'll see that I'm not one of those reviewers who hands out five star raves like candy. But if you have any interest at all in classic science fiction, this is a film that you MUST see. And if you're looking for the finest possible DVD release, to the best of my knowledge this is it.
This may be the first science fiction movie I ever saw, about 50 years ago in black and white on the late movie show! My father let me and my brother stay up late to see it. Seeing it now, in color, is quite a treat!
This is one of the best sci-fi movies ever made. It introduces Robby the Robot, and sets the groundwork for many movies to come.
You may also get a kick out of seeing Leslie Nielsen as a very young man - I almost didn't recognize him!
There are a few odd things going on, of course, since no one knew anything about space travel. But some in the crew act like buffoons, as if they're in McHales Navy or something! Not very realistic with today's knowledge of professional astronauts. Imagine a dumb kid soldier wanting gallons and gallons of booze to get drunk on... and a robot complying... hardly!
The special effects are great in this movie, even considering it's age. The invisible monster trying to get through the force field is amazing!
There are also a lot of things in this movie for the cerebral amongst us... the story of the history of the planet is fascinating!
This is a must see sci-fi movie!
on May 31, 2014
I've always loved Forbidden Planet from the first time I saw it on television.
By today's standards, the pacing is slow, the fx are a little silly looking, and there's a certain amount of sexism inherent in the culture of the day.
That said, the story, loosely based on Shakespeare's play "The Tempest" is marvelous. Set in the 2200s, a group of space explorers goes looking for the remains of the crew of the Belerophon, an exploration science vessel lost 20 years previous. When the crew arrive on the planet, they are warned away by Morpheus, the only survivor of a cataclysmic event that killed of the rest of the crew of the expedition. Due to the insistence of the commanding officer J.J. Adams played by Leslie Neilson (in the unfamiliar role of a serious leading man) the ship lands. We then meet Robbie the Robot in his first appearance ever, who takes the commander, his second in command and medical officer to meet Morpheus (played by Walter Pidgeon).
As the story unfolds, we find out about the Krell, a benevolent race that lived a 1000 years ago, that mysteriously vanished 200 centuries ago. We also meet Altaira, Morpheus' daughter, who (naturally) falls in love with the dashing commander. Forces that killed off the Krell, and the crew of the Belerephon start to go after Adams crew as well. Without spoiling the ending, Morpheus sacrifices himself and the ship, with Altaira aboard take off, to see the planet with all the knowledge of the Krell explode into nothingness.
It was filmed and treated as an A quality fim, and influenced many of the great science fiction brought to the big and small screens. I highly recommend this for a quite movie night in with the lights low, the phones turned off and a big bowl of hot buttery popcorn.
on May 17, 2012
The 1950's was the golden age of science fiction, many great films were made, that even now influence our lives and thoughts today. One such film is Forbidden Planet, and for me. It is still one of the best films-and perhaps the only film that has a unique sound track which can not be beaten. Not only that but it introduced one of the best great robots of all time - Robby, this robot is so iconic, it-or he is instantly recognisable.
Before I go on, I just have to say that the music for the film was and still is ahead of its time, and if you watch the credits it comes under `Electronic Tonalities' by Louis and Bebe Barron, this inspiring couple used no musical instruments to compose the weird and wonderful music of Forbidden Planet; and if you look at the theatrical posters of the time, this couple's names are not mentioned - the Academy didn't even recognised the film score as music-how ignorant is that? Because no actual musical instruments were used, Louis and Bebe used tape and electronics to compose the now unforgettable haunting sound for the film. In my mind both Louise and Bebe Barron should receive honorary Oscars for original film score-its well overdue.
Now as for the acting skills of the performers, Walter Pidgeon is perfectly cast as Dr. Edward Morbius, you don't know wether to love him or pity him in his struggle with his Id, and over developed intellect. Then there's the lovely Anne Francis as Altaira, Morbius' daughter, beautiful, naïve, and bright. Leslie Nielsen as Commander J. J. Adams, strong and heroic. Warren Stevens as Dr. Ostrow-unusual name, wise, intelligent, a close friend of the commander. It seems there are shades of the Kirk and McCoy between these two men, as the characters/actors work well together. Jack Kelly as Lt. Jerry Farman, another friend of Adams, a likeable easy going guy, obviously a ladies man. Plus two other recognisable actors early in their careers are Richard Anderson (Six Million Dollar Man/Bionic Woman), as Chief Quinn, and Earl Holliman (Police Woman), as Cook, giving a light comedic touch to the film. A well balanced cast in my opinion.
Okay, let's look at this 50th Anniversary Edition of Forbidden Planet, first when it states that it is the Ultimate Collector's Edition, you must never use the word `Ultimate' because it implies it contains everything and anything-well this edition-doesn't-of course thus you'll end up scrutinising it no end-and yes you guess it, I'm going to do just that; let's have a look at what you get anyway:
1] Forbidden Planet (Widescreen)
2] The Invisible Boy (Widescreen-bonus movie feathering Robby)
3] 17 Lobby Cards (reproductions 5A size-approx of both films)
4] Forbidden Planet - Deleted Scenes and Lost Footage
5] Excerpts from `The MGM Parade' TV series with Walter Pidgeon
6] `Client' episode with Robby from the TV series `The Thin Man'
7] 3 Documentaries: `Amazing! Exploring the Far Reaches of Forbidden Planet', `Robby the Robot: Engineering a Sci-Fi Icon', and `TCM Original Watch the Skies!: Science Fiction, the 1950s and Us'
8] Science-Fiction Movie Trailer Gallery
9] 3.5" figure of Robby the Robot
All the above is presented to you in a tin case-which is itself worth getting.
Now in regards the Robby the Robot figure, which was one of the main reasons I got this DVD Edition. I am really disappointed because there is a little false advertising involved, if one looks at the back of the box, the figure of Robby is about 21cm tall, compared to the other merchandize shown, but in reality it is about 9cm (3.5" inches tall), even though it states in small print that the figure is 3.5" Actual Size. (Even on the Amazon website picture shows what I mean) It is obvious that the Marketing Department wanted to sucker us in-well it worked with me, and looking at the metal box it came in, you can easily fit a 6" inch Robby figure. So the point is don't be fooled-seeing is not believing.
So is this really the Ultimate Edition-well no, because there's no such thing, I mean if we are featuring Robby as a bonus in what he has done over the years, then two more acting skills should have been included in this 50th Anniversary Edition: 1] the Lost in Space episode, "The War of the Robots" and 2] the Ark II episode, "The Robot", (this episode showed Robby with a different look than what we are used too) and there are more, of course like than appearance in Wonder Woman for example.
Plus there are two other things I would like with this edition, a booklet, describing the movie, some production notes, cast & crew listing, and any trivia, as well as a CD of the original Film/Music sound track. Why is it that special, anniversary or collector editions don't have CD sound tracks, I'm sure the collector would like to hear the musical score-wouldn't you?
All in all this 50th Anniversary Edition of Forbidden Planet is cool, and the film is my third all-time favourite sci-fi film, and it's easy to see why. You can get just the double DVD without the Robby figure, but if you go that far-go the extra, you won't be disappointed.
One final point, Forbidden Planet is pure science fiction at it's best for the era, and it still hold up today, this is science fiction as it was meant to be, this film set standards for future films to follow. Today's science fiction is dead-film wise, there is no imagination left-ok-ok, what about Star Wars? What about it? Its in a different league of science fiction and it and it successors are really merchandize driven, (today's generation are of a different mind-set) as with all other sci-fi/fantasy films.
Thanks to [...] for additional information on the cast.
on February 11, 2007
Product reviewed: Forbidden Planet: Ultimate Collector's Edition (2006)
Forbidden Planet (1956) is a classic on several levels, as many reviewers have aptly stated. This review concerns the 50th anniversary set. There are two such sets. The first is a two-disc dvd pack. The second includes the same two discs plus a few souvenirs. Either of these are the versions to buy for anyone who appreciates science fiction.
Positives: The two-disc set is a welcome and long-overdue tribute to Forbidden Planet. To me, the most interesting of the bonus features was the hour-long documentary "Watch the Skies!: Science Fiction, the 1950s and Us" (2005) which featured George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, and narration by Mark Hamill. I was thrilled to find the episode of The Thin Man tv series (1958) that featured Robby the Robot, and the disc two film The Invisible Boy (1957) was a delightful find.
What's missing: There will only be one 50th anniversary of Forbidden Planet, and although I appreciated the bonus documentaries, I would have liked two more features. First, an audio commentary track either from remaining cast members, or preferably from a film historian would have been wonderful. Second, on-screen textual commentary would have been a nice touch as well, especially for such a special effects classic. Something along the lines of what Michael and Denise Okuda have contributed to the Star Trek films would have made this package very special.
The Ultimate box set also includes a 5 cm tall Robby figure, reduced-size reproductions of lobby (front of house) cards, and an attractive, painted tin container. While the extras are very nice, I would say that they do not justify the extra cost, and would recommend the plain two-disc set as adequate for most buyers.
Language options are adequate. Subtitles: Eng., Fre, Spa. Audio: Eng., Fre.