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.
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.