Forbidden Planet has gone down in history as being perhaps the greatest Sci-Fi movie ever and it probably is, everybody knows that it was the inspiration on Gene Roddenberry's part for the creation of Star Trek and I suspect George Lucas was similarly influenced too.
Forbidden Planet was the first film that made Sci-Fi "cool" if that is the right word, it also looked as if some money had been spent on it and the script was given respect by the actors that gave it their all and played the parts for real.
The effects detailing the landscape of Altair 4 and the massive Krell machine under the planet are quite simply astounding, on each occasion that I have seen the film I have always been amazed at the sense of scale and depth that is portrayed on screen, which is even more apparent now with the footage being restored and released onto DVD. It has often made me feel as if I could actually be on the surface of the planet and traversing the many miles of the huge machine.
The idea of "Monsters from the Id" was not entirely original at the time the film was made, as it does in some ways have a bearing on Jekyll and Hyde, but the idea of having a race so advanced as to build a planet-sized machine capable of creating solid matter through thought was inspired at the time, and the concept of the Krell being destroyed by their own dark side manifested by the machine was thought provoking material and showed the dangers of absolute power.
The film has been lovingly restored and is a godsend with the special features making it even more so.
The disc has deleted scenes as many DVD's do, however it must be something of a rarity to have quite a substantial amount for a film this old, I expect masses of deleted scenes from modern films but not here and yet here they are, and very welcome they are too. If the presentation of deleted scenes was not suprising enough then the 10 minutes or so of lost footage certainly is. Here is material that comprises alternate takes and scenes without the effects added and different sound effects for the Id Monster etc, this is brilliant stuff that, as a caption says has been hidden in various film vaults for 50 years before being unearthed and I am glad it was, it is pure gold dust. There are three documentaries, detailing the making of the film and one about 50's Sci-Fi films in general and another about Robby the Robot and are all fascinating. The movie trailer is present as are trailers for various other films of this nature.
The two remaining special features actually have nothing to do with Forbidden Planet other than the fact that they feature Robby the Robot, they are follow up vehicles using the prop which was very expensive and MGM obviously wanted to get their money's worth out of it.
They are the entire film of The Invisible Boy made the year after Forbidden Planet and an episode of the 50's TV series The Thin Man, entitled Robot Client. Both are Black and White but as they are nothing to do with the featured film I won't go into details about them, nice though they are to have.
So there we are, a film that influenced in some ways virtually every piece of Sci-Fi entertainment that followed it in both Film and TV, and is an absolutely essential purchase for fans of this type of thing and in movies in general.
Buy this now!
on 25 June 2008
The transfer and sound are just great, lots of special features, among them the - mostly laughable and weird, but sometimes thrilling and visionary - full-length feature "The Invisible Boy" by Herman Hoffman. One 50-minutes-documentary is worth pointing out: "Watch the Skies!: Science Fiction, the 1950s and Us", containing in-depth-commentaries by Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Ridley Scott and James Cameron.
Of all the 1950s sci-fi films that were made (and there were many of them!) in my opinion just four stand head and shoulders above the rest: "This Island Earth", "The Day The Earth Stood Still", "Them" and this one - "The Forbidden Planet." This is one film that has been crying out for a DVD release ever since the DVD was invented! Now at long last it looks like it's going to happen - well maybe - its release has been postponed three times already!
Whilst not wanting to give too much away about the film's storyline, it is loosely based on William Shakespeare's "The Tempest", and the film shows clearly what can happen when "mind over matter" (or should I say over energy) is allowed to get out of hand.
Containing some of the best sets and visual effects around in its time, these still cut the mustard even in today's CGI world. In fact, one set (the Krell power plant) still fills me - a fifty-something - with wonder every time I see it!
Louis & Bebe Barron's haunting and disturbing electronic music score really adds to the film (for which they got paid very little apparently) and enhances the atmosphere and suspense.
There is also a considerable amount of humorous parody in the film as well - e.g. Robbie's response to Altaira's request for yet another dress!
This film is a definite "must have" for any sci-fi film buff worthy of their salt - and I can't wait to get my copy! Let's hope the release date isn't postponed AGAIN!!
on 18 October 2012
There a million reviewers out there who can do more justice to reviewing the film itself than I can, suffice to say that for me it is a superb film, and this is the consensus among most people that see it. I want to use this review to point out what a great Blu-Ray this is. As usual Warner Bros. has upgraded to Blu-Ray with love and attention to detail. First of all the picture quality: it's sharp, and the colours are vivid, but it hasn't been over processed to within an inch of its life, and a bit of realistic grain is still present. The film really pops out at you, and you will be amazed that a film from 1956 can look so good on your home TV. I had seen this before on TV and VHS, but this was like seeing the film for the first time. It really looks gorgeous!
It's worth mentioning the extras as well, as you get a whole second feature film: The Invisible Boy (1957) which also featured Robbie the Robot. While clearly a lower budget production (it is b/w) and not of the same ambitious and thought provoking scale, it is still an interesting addition, and quite a bonus to get a film which is unlikely to get a Blu-Ray release in its own right. This also looks to have been restored as well, although it is not of the same eye-popping quality as the main feature. There is also a 55-minute documentary, Watch the Skies, about the explosion of sci-fi films in the 1950s, as well as an episode and some clips of TV programmes from the era that also featured Robbie the Robot. Deleted scenes and trailers for both films round this off.
A superb Blu-Ray release.
on 18 July 2007
what in heaven's name is "grahamapplin129" talking about in his review?!!!
how can a dvd that features the superbly remastered version of the film, loads of deleted scenes, loads of lost footage, THREE documentaries, trailers and even a bonus film be considered unspecial and vanilla?
what did he want - a life-size Robby the Robot?!!!
everyone else here has said it for me. quite staggeringly brilliant film with imagination and effects way ahead of its time. puts most modern (past ten years) sci-fi movies to shame.
on 12 November 2009
I'm going to start by briefly discussing Forbidden Planet. I think a lot of other reviewers, cleverer and more erudite than me have summed its appeal up perfectly in their reviews. I can imagine the sense of wonder the general public had when they visited Altair 4, along with Commander Adams and his crew. The special effects, the intelligent, literate story and the wonderful, experimental music score are still as impressive fifty years on, and scenes such as the trip through the underground Krell machinery must have been astounding to the cinema goers of the 1950's. Anyway enough about the main feature, now to discuss the other great film in this release.
The Invisible Boy, Robbie the Robot's second starring role, may lack a bit of the scope of Forbidden Planet, but its a very fine film in its own right. Shot in glorious black and white, it starts off in a very light fashion, with little Timmie Merrinoe, who just wants to be a normal ten year old boy, being under constant scrutiny by his analytical father, computer programmer Dr Tom Merrinoe. His father can't understand why he can operate the most complex of computers, but can't teach his son simple maths or chess. Just to mention the computer Tom operates. Well, one evening the computer actually suggests that Timmie be brought to it, for accelerated learning. The father complies, and soon Timmie's whomping his dad at chess.
This is where things get slightly sinister. Timmie asks for a reward, for his sudden intelligence boost. What he wants is to come face to face with Robbie The Robot, currently gathering dust in a loft(Robbie's prescence is ingeniously explained with a couple of throwaway comments about time travel to the 23rd century). Timmie armed with all his new knowledge, rebuilds Robbie, and after a couple of adventures, takes him to the computer room. This has all been planned by the devious computer, who wants control of the immensly powerful Robbie to be a walking instrument, to carry out its evil plans, which it has been covertly planning since it was built. As for the 'Invisible Boy' of the title, well its something the computer suggests that Timmie undertakes, through the medium of Robbie, in order to be able to sneak him on board a rocketship, to be used as a bargaining tool. Will the computer achieve its plans for world domination?
This is an excellent film, and I do feel I should come to its defence, as it has been dismissed as a lesser feature in some reviews. Well, maybe when compared to Forbidden Planet, but few Science Fiction films are held in as high regard, as that title.
What 'The Invisible Boy' does possess, is a quirkiness and identity very much of its own. In fact its just plain weird at times, and I'm all for a bit of weird. Its part science fiction, part satire(witness the scene when the parents nonchalantly address their invisble son at the breakfast table), and the film even has moments verging on horror, as all those around Dr Tom, become mindless slaves of the super computer. Ah yes, that computer, a very sinister proposition indeed, issuing icy threats if it doesnt get compliance. A fantastic, highly underrated film.
So, to sum up, two great film on two DVD's, and a whole host of other fantastic extras. This should be a no brainer, but this is an essential purchase for anybody who enjoys robots, invisble boys, Freudian monsters or just Science Fiction films in general. 5 out of 5
on 13 July 2007
This film has a simple, scary core: the unconsciousness is given the power to take physical form and kill. What gives the unconsciousness this power here is a vast machine, an artefact from an ancient, technologically-advanced alien species. The film does well in keeping its secret core hidden. After a second watching everything slots into place, and elements that were previously mysterious make sense.
The film also explores the dangers of power, and the concept of self-destruction through arrogance and attainment of that power.
To a small extent this film is based on Shakespeare's `The Tempest'. However, apart from one particular piece of dialogue, involving the officers lying about each other in order to win over the girl, the adaptation is very loose. The set-up is similar: a man (Morbeus/Prospero) and his daughter (Altaire/Miranda) go and live alone (on an island, a planet, wherever). In Shakespeare Prospero's two `servants', Caliban and Ariel can be equated to some extent with the `Monster from the Id' and Robbie the Robot, but it's not an easy fit. It would be an interesting subject for an essay (as is `My Own Private Idaho' and its relationship to Shakespeare's second instalment of history plays).
The film is in turns slow and meditative (the first approach to the planet, awaiting Robby's first appearance), exciting and scary (the flight from the monster at the end), funny (Robbie supplying booze to the ship's cook) and erotic (anything involving Miranda and her unnatural innocence). It is always intellectually stimulating. The landscape of the alien planet is beautiful, and the depiction of the alien artefacts astounding. Robbie never impressed me, but you can't deny his influence. Another pleasure is to be found in witnessing a young, handsome, serious and almost unrecognisable Leslie Nielson in the lead role.
One of the best sci-fi movies of all time.
on 29 December 2006
It is a crime against humanity that this film is only available in Region 1. It is treasure that deserves to be more widely appreciated.
It is impossible to overrate this film in terms of its importance to the development of the science-fiction genre. All the key qualities that made 'Star Trek' a phenomenon are here - but nine years early: interstellar travel is a given; advanced technology without responsibility always leads to disaster; people, including aliens, are (mostly) good even if sometimes misguided and Man may not play God for fear of dire consequences. It is great stuff, with an ensemble / crew not hugely different from the Enterprise's, including an action-hero captain and a cerebral science officer and some SFX that have stood the test of time rather well. This was a massively expensive film to make and it shows. Forgive some corny dialogue, dubious broad comedy and romantic scenes and there is little to complain about. Even the 'tonalities' that serve instead of music still give the desired 'other worldly' effect. At heart, this is a tremendously imaginative film with a strong SF pulse - not a lame reworking of Shakespeare.
If you have not seen this film and enjoy the SF genre, you owe it to yourself to seek it out. It is not an exaggeration to describe it as one early masterpiece of the genre. Unlike 'Metropolis' and 'Things to Come' it rejects the Earthbound and socio-political for the kind of 'Boldly going...' that defines much modern SF. Without this film, modern space sagas would not exist - it is the granddaddy of them all.
on 8 April 2008
This is the Epic that gave the look to Star trek, Creatures from the ID and Robby the Robot. The story is basically Shakespear's The Tempest. In it a space ship comes to investigate what happened to a science team but they find a single suvivor and his daughter, I won't go into it too closly as it will just seem like a Star Trek episode but what makes it better than Star Trek is the FX the attack by the creature from the ID is brilliant and Robby the robot is great, there is action, comedy, romance and a great writter (shakespear). The best Star trek story ever made that came over a decade before star trek????
The special features are great and the DVD looks brilliant. One for all Sci-fi Fans, Star trek fans, classics movie fans, animation fans if not everybody. If you don't have this DVD then you are missing out.
on 7 May 2010
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.