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25 August 2011

Forbidden Planet (1956)

Directed by: Fred M. Wilcox
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Drama
Runtime: 98 Minutes
The 1950’s brought many extraordinary Science Fiction films. You could say it was a time of future superstition and machines. Several titles spring to mind, good and bad. “Plan 9 From Outer Space”, “The Day the Earth Stood Still”, “The Crawling Eye” and the list goes on.  “Forbidden planet” is one of the greatest from this big sci-fi era because of its thought-provoking nature let alone its extravagant style.  It brings you on board a new planet were strange things happen and we encounter some very weird things. The film has ahead of it’s time visuals, memorable performances and definitely keeps you satisfied.

Space men travel to a planet ruled by expatriate Pidgeon who has built a kingdom with his daughter and obedient robot Robby. There the good doctor is plagued by his mad quest for knowledge through his "brain booster" machine, and by Freudian "monsters from the id" as his daughter discovers other men and learns to kiss. 

I must say I was very impressed with the visual achievement. In one scene, we have the monster of the id, an invisible creature that attempts to destroy the space travellers and tries to break through the ‘special’ shielding. When it comes half way through an astounding visual effect shows the beast roaring with big monstrous eyes ferociously trying to get through. The image below shows that scene. My eyes where wide open at that scene because of how stunning it really looked for it’s time and the only way I think it could have been done was by merging animation in some way.


It was not just the wonderful effects that gave the film its energy (such as the laser guns), but also the intriguing set designs. The futuristic set pieces of mechanical bits and bobs gave the film a universal futuristic feel. From the costumes to Robby the robot, the film has an overall gleam of nostalgic sci-fi.

Robby the robot is probably the film’s most memorable character. The characters in the film are a little short of specialty, but I think Anne Francis (Alta Morbius), Walter Pidgeon (Dr. Morbius) and Leslie Nelson (John Adams) did excellent jobs. I think it was the characters of the planet that interest you more because of the oddity and mystery it planet holds alongside the very of it and its inheritance. Robby is an elite robot that can reproduce ay kinds of material after analysing it. In one scene, the cook of the spacemen asks for alcohol and Robby snatches the bottle from him and dunks it down the trunk. The next day, the cook ends up with 40 gallons of alcohol. It is one of the many wonders this intriguing robot.

Many of the set designs were remarkable and it is easy to see how this influenced many Sci-Fi films after it. In one scene, Morbius tells John to look down. It reminded me very much so of something from the silent Sci-Fi film “Metropolis”. We look down to a colossal length of pipes and metal that feels slightly illusion-esque. 


Although one problem the film has, is the lack of climax and action. The film is mostly quiet alongside the mysteriously strange music and excluding the scenes with the Id, no real action happens. Nevertheless, that adds to the chilling suspense of this weird planet. Fred M Wilcox’s marvellous direction puts this film in the book of classic Sci-Fi. “Forbidden Planet” is visually impressive and holds a script ahead of it’s time making it one thought-provoking (and exciting) journey.

My Rating: 8.5/10

2 comments:

  1. I am glad you enjoyed this if only for me to finally pick it up at my local library as I keep neglecting it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. A great combination of SF and sci-fi. It works for both audiences.

    ReplyDelete

 

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