In their continuing release of movie packages,Turner Classic movies releases this compilation of four famous Sci Fi films:001-a Space Odyssey(released April/68),Forbidden Planet(released April/56),Soylant Green(released April/73)and The Time Machine(released Aug/60).
2001 -A Space Odyssey is the reigning classic in this group.The now familiar story involves the famous opening of a mysterious but intelligent monolith of extraterrestrial origin influencing the endeavours of early ape-man.When the time fast forwards ahead to 2001,the same or another monolith is found embedded on the moons surface.A signal is sent out from it to Jupiter and a ship is dispatched to check out something strange orbiting the planet there.Along the way the ships computer goes awry and starts to kill its' crew members.It almost succeeds except for one who manages to carry out the mission but at the same time finds himself enveloped in an incredible experience.This version is the more popular 148 minute release;the original came in around over 10 minutes more.The print is clear and crisp and is in its original widescreen a/r.Extras include just commentary by stars Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood.This film is the most accurate to its book that I have ever seen.With its' completely logical and detailed technology driven look,its' a winner all the way.Five stars.
Backing 2001 is Soylent Green,starring Charlton Heston and Edward G.Robinson.It's story involves a future earth where everything including the basic necessities like food is in short supply.Most edibles are doled out to lines and lines of a dejected populace in the form of different coloured "soylants";green being the most coveted.Heston is a cop who has grown up in this crazy world and Robinson is his elderly roommate who remembers when things were different.Heston's duties drag him into a murder involving a man with controlling interest in the soylant trade.This in turn leads Heston to uncover the startling truth behind what soylant green actually is.This film has been transferred well and while showing its' age it is generally a good print.Extras include:commentary,a featurette on the film ,a look at an MGM tribute to Edward G's 101st film and the trailer.It's in its original widescreen a/r.3 1/2-four stars.
On the other two sided disc we find first The Time Machine.This beloved film stars Rod Taylor as a turn of the century inventor(1899)who has invented a time machine.He travels backward then most importantly forward;hundreds of thousands of years forward.He comes upon a race of young and innocent people on the surface while below ground lives a race which feeds regularly on them,like cattle.The inventor with his own ideals interrupts this terrible cycle so the surface race can gets its life back.He returns briefly home to meet colleagues and quickly goes back to the future to presumably live out his life.A wonderful film directed by the venerable George Pal.Extras include cast and crew bios,the trailer,awards and a wonderful /93 featurette narrated by Taylor which looks back at the film,its' famous prop the time machine itself and an acting reunion between stars Taylor and Young.They re-create a what-if scenario where Taylor comes back to see his old friend and take him with him.Precious.The film has been transferred wonderfully and is in its original widescreen a/r.Four solid stars.
The other side contains what many consider a Sci Fi classic,Forbidden Planet.The story involves a rescue mission to a planet in the Altair system.The ship is in the classic shape of a saucer and when the crew lands they are greeted by a huge robot.They are taken to a house where a scientist and his daughter live.They warn of a mysterious creature that has been attacking of late and soon the ship itself is under attack.However a deep underground facility with strange machinery used millenia ago by a now extinct race they find is the real culprit behind the roaming monster and its attacks.It is the way the scientist has utilized the equipment,which now threatens all their safety.Filled with still nice s/FX the movie's plot is a ponderous beast in itself and the set up takes far,far too long for this reviewer.The best things to come out of this movie for me was the interesting cause of the "monster" that threatened them all and Robbie the Robot.Extras include:deleted scenes,lost footage(actually found footage!),2 clips from the MGM TV Parade series w/Walter Pidgeon,the trailer and a Feb/58 ep of the Thin Man TV show.The print is clear and crisp and is in its' original widescreen a/r.Three stars.
This release of four wonderful Sci-Fi movies and all in one place makes a very appealing addition to ones collection.All the prints are wonderfully clear and in their widescreen a/r's.The drawback is that they are on two double sided discs which makes for dicey handling;not my favourite way of getting movies by a long shot.Turner was also remiss in excluding the fact they were all widescreen movies on the outside cover of this set.I hesitated for ages before I bought it because of that alone.