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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5.0 out of 5 stars The one that started it all!,
Still the quintessential grand daddy of most of today's sci-fi features, Forbidden Planet has it all!
The DVD quality is great although I would have liked a few of the other 187 languages and sub-tongues Robby alludes to offered on the disk besides colloquial English and French.
However if you look at a classic Sci-Fi T.V series like the original Star Trek you can see where Jean Roddenberry might have gotten some of his inspiration.
The Earth cruiser is a disk, used Hyper Drive (Warp Drive), has a chief engineer that wears a suspiciously similar earpiece to the one Spock wore to listen to radio transmissions. The captain has an executive officer, and a doctor on board ala number one and Dr. McCoy, the list of similarities with Trek goes on and on.
My suggestion is to watch the wide screen version, on the opposite side of the disk, turn off the lights and watch it on a large screen if you can. It is well worth it!
The actors are great; Walter Pidgeon offers a great performance as Dr. Morbius. Anne Francis and Leslie Nielsen are great together and the Cinemascope does the rest.
This one's a must for the collection.
3.0 out of 5 stars Not just a classic sci-fi film -- a classic film, period.,
By A Customer
Not everything is perfect, of course. Here are some pros and cons:
Good: The faster-than-light travel. Contrast this with another good sci-fi film, "The Day the Earth Stood Still" -- both made in the 50's, but only FP's writers had any clue as to interplanetary distances and the speeds required to cross them. Also, the "DC" (deceleration) procedure was good, complete with "DC stations" and post-DC physical effects on the crew that were treated matter-of-factly rather than explained to the movie viewer. Quite good.
Bad: First moon landing in the "last decade of the 21st Century"? They missed that one by 130 years.
Very good: Most of the special effects.
Not so good: Some of the Disney-supplied cartoon effects (not that I'm really complaining; they weren't all that bad, and it was the 50's after all).
Great: Morbius' house and surrounding grounds.
Not so great: The caps that the commander and lieutenant wore briefly with their short-sleeve shirts.
Great: Anne Francis as Altaira (a babe, no matter what star system you're in)
Great: Robby the robot
Not so great: Earl Holliman's ship's cook character. A little bit went a long way.
Great: The underground Krell complex (more good f/x)
Good: the electronic music score
Great: Walter Pidgeon's performance as Morbius
Good-but-not-great: Leslie Nielsen's performance as the commander of C57D.
Good: C57D; remember, this was the same time most sci-fi was still using the finned rocket ship.
Not good: the fact that the DVD is not letter-boxed. It would have been better to see the whole screen.
And the list goes on, of course, but you can add your own after you see this excellent movie.
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic 50's Science Fiction,
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
5.0 out of 5 stars "A green sky, a man could get used to that!",
So spoke Lt. 'Doc' Ostrow (Warren Stevens) of the United Planets Cruiser C-57-D after it arrived at the planet Altair IV. The C-57-D, commanded by Commander John F. Adams (Leslie Nielsen), was sent to Altair IV from Earth to rescue a colony sent there two decades earlier on the spaceship Belleraphon because all contact was lost shortly thereafter. When the C-57-D arrived at Altair IV, they received a warning from philologist Dr. Edward Morbius (Walter Pigeon) that they should not land. He also claimed to be the lone survivor of the doomed Belleraphon. However, Commander Adams had his orders and the C-57-D landed on Altair IV in spite of Dr. Morbius' objections. After landing, Dr. Morbius and his robotic companion Robby (Robot the Robot) greeted the C-57-D crew, but Dr. Morbius continued to insist that they should leave immediately. Unexpectedly, a beautiful woman, Altaira (Anne Francis), appears. She is Dr. Morbius' daughter, whom he had ordered not to be seen while the C-57-D crew was on the surface. The crew is delighted to meet Altaira, who have not seen a woman for 378 days while en route to Altair IV, but they were also surprised because she was not listed on the Belleraphon's passenger manifest. Dr. Morbius explained that he was married by the Belleraphon captain, but that his wife died on the planet shortly after giving birth to Altaira.
Altaira was not the only thing that Dr. Morbius planned to hide from the spaceship visiting from Earth: he also had no intention of revealing Altair IV's biggest secret, but Commander Adams and Doc Ostrow forced the issue. Reluctantly, Dr. Morbius explained that a race far more intellectually and techonologically advance than mankind, the Krell, once inhabited Altair IV. Sadly, for hitherto unknown reasons, the Krell became extinct virtually over night as well as all other life on the planet 200,000 years earlier; but not all of the Krell's secrets had been lost. As foretold by Dr. Morbius, strange things begin to happen to the visiting spaceship and crew similar to what ultimately destroyed the Belleraphon; and the isolated peace that Dr. Morbius and Altaira knew on the dead planet before the spaceship's arrival evaporates.
Taking inspiration from William Shakespeare's play "The Tempest", writers Irving Block and Allen Adler created a brilliant story for "Forbidden Planet". The Duke Prospero in "The Tempest" became Dr. Morbius, his daughter Miranda became Altaira, the enslaved spirit Ariel became Robby the Robot, Ferdinand became Commander Adams, the island of exile became the planet Altair IV and Caliban became a monster bent on destruction.
Under the direction of Fred M. Wilcox, the acting, dialog and special effects for "Forbidden Planet" greatly surpasses nearly all other sci-fi films produced in the 1950's and 1960's. Having been twice previously nominated for Best Actor in 1942 for "Mrs. Miniver" and in 1943 for "Madame Curie", Walter Pigeon's portrayal of Dr. Morbius was exceptional. "Forbidden Planet" received a 1956 Oscar nomination for Best Special Effects, but lost to the only other nominated film, Cecil B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments". It was not until Stanley Kubrick filmed "2001: A Space Odyssey" in 1968 that a sci-fi film surpassed "Forbidden Planet" in quality and achievement. The few films comparable to "Forbidden Planet" from the 1950's include "The Day The Earth Stood Still" (1951) and "War of the Worlds" (1953).
Time has not caused "Forbidden Planet" to lose any of its excellence. Sci-fi fans more accustomed to modern computer-enhanced special effects may regard the effects used in "Forbidden Planet" to be dated, but most will more than likely come to appreciate what Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was able to achieve with 1950's film technology. For example, some may be surprised to see that George Lucas (in his 1977 film "Star Wars") was not the first to show what a holographic image could look like, as demonstrated in "Forbidden Planet". Some may also be surprised to see Leslie Nielsen portray a serious character, instead of his more recent, bumbling comedic characters in films such as "Airplane!" (1980) and "The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!" (1988). Overall, I give "Forbidden Planet" a highly deserved 5 out of 5 stars, as it will always be a timeless, landmark sci-fi film warning us to always beware of monsters from the id!
5.0 out of 5 stars Holds up well after all these years!,
This review is from: Forbidden Planet (Widescreen) (VHS Tape)
"Classic" is a term brandished about too frequently but "Forbidden Planet" is a film worthy of that recognition. This is an intelligent, well-written, and paced well with few lapses in action. The special effects, while dated in comparison to today's computer-generated wonders, are still impressive.
Walter Pidgeon, who during the 40's had starred in several popular MGM films, adds just the right amount of authority to his role as the enigmatic Dr. Morbius. Leslie Nielson, who would later garner greater fame in his sidesplitting comic roles of the 80's and 90's, is present in all his "leading man/serious" glory.
The electronic score by Bebe and Louis Baron is a one-of-a-kind listening experience, otherworldly and provocative. It is obviously a work that provided 50's movie patrons with something unheard of before.
Besides the previously mentioned actors, the movie also features performers who would later regularly appear on primetime television: Jack Kelly ("Maverick"), Earl Holliman (Angie Dickinson's boss on "Police Woman"), Anne Francis (the 60's "Honey West"), Richard Anderson ("The Six Million Dollar Man"), James Drury (TV's long running "The Virginian") and in a very small role, James Best who would later find fame on "The Dukes of Hazzard".
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious, w/ touch of 50's-style Naughty that still works!!,
This is a must-have, guilty-pleasure in either the VHS or DVD format!...
If you want to introduce your kids to Shakespeare this is your best door to do it through. Follow it up with a full version of the bard's tale and watch them get it and get interested in the classics.
If you are in the mood for a classic movie gem whose every frame glows with the best of technicolor's lurid granduer -- grab this one off the shelf!
If you are a Star Trek fan and would love to see where Roddenberry got some of his best ideas -- this is your movie to own.
If you want a story you can sit back and chew on, and watch again and again -- yup, buy it.
If you just enjoy some of the best of the 50's clever inuendo and double entendre, not to mention a very, leggy blonde in tight (but tastful) little costumes, who doesn't understand the words "bathing suit" or "kiss", but wouldn't mind learning -- you'll enjoy placing this one in your collection. (And you guys know which of you raging hormone machines I am talking about!)
The line "What's a kiss?" ranks right up there "You know how to whistle don't you . . ." as some of the most delightful of the little mind games that Hollywood played in 40's & 50's with the Hay's code attempts to save America's moral fiber from evil movies. Hollywood truly understood back then that "Less IS More." If only they could remember it again! It sure would be nice to not have to worry so much about shielding the little ones from blatant smut and yet still have adult and witty content.
This flick is too good to miss! Too good to EVER remake! Too good not to share! This one's a real kick for the whole family to watch together, one you can safely have even your youngest without having to send them out for popcorn every five minutes (okay, except for during the monster's first appearence, but even that bit is screamy good fun)!...
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't Judge THIS Movie by its Cover,
Many 50's SF movies are based on pulp ideas brought to the screen with hokey effects and plot lines only a freshman comp teacher could possibly accept. Many of them wouldn't even rate as Saturday morning cartoons. Forbidden Planet breaks that mold.
No, the effects aren't what you'd expect 45 years later from Dreamworks, but they are carefully crafted using the technologies of the day. The plot leaves us exploring the gap between technical and psychological evolution (something done well in books like Daniel Quinn's ISHMAEL and Eisler's THE CHALICE AND THE BLADE).
Character development is a bit immature and somewhat stereotypical, but this doesn't spoil the movie, it just leaves room for improvement in a remake ... Actually, plot development is prototypical for 60's SF TV. Wrestling with philosophical questions in the context of the imaginary future continued with Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, and Star Trek. Some of the music and sound effects now seem a bit comical and MST3Kish, but that's because they were lifted from =THIS= movie by a whole horde of B matinee flicks.
Thoroughly entertaining, the best of its genre for its time, this movie is not one to miss. Well worth viewing, even if science fiction isn't your favorite genre. If I'd seen more character development, I'd have given it a full 5 stars, but the conflicts and mysteries of the movie seem to lead to little growth.
(If you'd like to discuss this video or review in greater detail, please click on the "about me" link above and drop me an email. Thanks!)
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Science Fiction,
First off, those of you complaining about the stretched out video transfer need to educate yourselves on DVD. It's called anamorphic and allows more of the MPEG-2 video codec to be used for the picture itself in very widescreen formats. If you don't have a 16:9 television, you need to go into the video options menu of your DVD player (not the DVD's menu, mind you) and tell it you're using a 4:3 aspect ratio display. As for the color hues and sound, I don't own the DVD, so I can't say. Somehow I find it unlikely that a major studio's video mastering would be paltry, but who knows.
Now for the film itself: Forbidden Planet blew me away. Human beings in the future using flying saucers. Realistic jargon. Believable military behavior and procedures. Scenes that have been used in countless other sci-fi movies, including Total Recall and Star Wars. I even noticed that David Lynch copied some of the costumes and props for his version of Dune (uniforms, rifles, gun fire, onboard microphone handset, etc). Leslie Nielsen plays a very convincing captain of the military vessel. The crew is much more at ease with each other than you see in most science fiction where there's a command structure. Then, we have the stunning Anne Francis who's got a face to die for. The plot has excellent pacing and it never gives away too much too soon, even going so far as to never show us certain unnecessary elements at all. This is definitely a must see.
2.0 out of 5 stars Great movie--Terrible transfer...,
FORBIDDEN PLANET is one of the seminal Science-Fiction movies of
the 1950s, the decade in which ALL the cinematic sci-fi rules
were written regardless of budgets, production or lo-tech
special effects. It has a plot remotely linked to Shakespeare's
THE TEMPEST but also manages to tie in a great adventure story
wrapped in a cloak of Freudian analysis, the latter benefit
never once getting in the way of the former. HOWEVER, MGM, now
Warners DVD has managed to put this terrific film out in one
supremely botched transfer. The colors are muted, washed-out and
tending towards the red scale, while the sound is a boxed-in,
mid-range, semi-monophonic joke. Instead of the full-range
directional stereo of the original track, we get mono dialogue
and static two-channel presentations of the film's great and
unique electronic score. If you have any doubts as to these
opinions, simply check out TCM Cable's new transfer and compare. Believe me, after tossing this DVD in the [garbage]
you will have NO doubts as to what can be done to make this
film look fantastic on video. Save your money for the present and write to Warner video and insist on a remastering.
The only reason this review has two stars is for
the inclusion of the long, original trailer. (Which by the way
uses orchestral music from BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK) And one more
thing, Warners...how about a commentary track from Leslie Nielsen and Anne Francis?
3.0 out of 5 stars Yes, it was the 1950s good and bad...,
By A Customer
This review is from: Forbidden... (VHS Tape)
The animation sequences, sets and gizmos are great. I love Robby and the monster is fantastic, wonderful and convincing. I even enjoyed the synthesizer music just because it seemed to belong.
The 'villain' (he is an unwitting villain, really) Morbius is great and acts his part with gusto. I love that the sliding doors are absolutely silent and don't require that silly squeaky noise in star trek - this adds to the idea of the advanced alien race. Lots of people die - you don't see any remains but you get the idea of what happens to them through the script - which is as good as a vat of gore. There are no wires or strings visible!
On the other hand, why would men (commanding officers even)on a strange and very hostile planet treat this as an exotic port on earth and go looking for a bit of crumpet? I thought the captain and his officers were pretty dumb not to concentrate entirely on the mystery at hand and instead were gaga over this strange woman (personally I would be more worried about a monster ripping me in half...but I digress). Oh well...the fast forward button was pretty handy for some of the wretched 'love' scenes.
Yes, this movie is definitely a product of the 50s! Still worth watching.
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