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At last, this seminal film is getting a quality release it's long deserved.

I still remember the tingle of apprehension I got the first time I heard Robbie say,

"Morbius, something approaching from the South West."

The eerie electronic score and sound effects also make this a film that stands out from the crowd of 50's Science Fiction,

and the design of Robbie the Robot is so good it's still an impressive sight now.
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on 29 May 2013
This must be the best Science Fiction film of all time; perhaps because the plot, or at least the situation, is based on Shakespeare's "The Tempest". More than that, the actors throw themselves into their parts and every word comes across clearly. While the `advanced' technology is pretty primitive, the sets and model work are excellent. I particularly like the scene of the spaceship landing: it's spinning, it raises dust and it casts a shadow before touching down and coming to rest.

The characters match "The Tempest" quite closely: Morbius = Prospero, Altaira = Miranda, Robby the Robot = a clunky Ariel, Commander Adams = Ferdinand, the Id Monster = Caliban. There is even a drunken cook to match Stephano the drunken butler. The Id Monster is actually an improvement, for Shakespeare's Caliban proves to be harmless, while the Id Monster is invisible, powerful and deadly.

I wonder how much Gene Rodenberry drew on Forbidden Planet when devising Star Trek. There are several obvious parallels: a saucer-shaped, interstellar ship; a Captain, First Officer, Doctor and Chief Engineer as major characters; even the deceleration chamber effect looks like the Star Trek transporter.

One little scene particularly intrigues me. At the climax of the film Morbius, Altaira and the Commander are trapped in the Krell laboratory while the Id Monster breaks in. The Commander draws his blaster. Why does he do that? He knows it can't hurt the Monster. But if he kills Morbius, that will destroy the Monster too, since it comes from the mind of Morbius. Is he thinking of doing that? Saving Altaira but knowing she will hate him for killing her father? Or did the Director just include that action without thinking about its significance?

The message of the film is clear: if we ever do manage to colonise other planets, the evil that we experience there will be the evil we have brought with us.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 30 October 2011
Forbidden Planet is perhaps the pre-eminent work of 1950s science fantasy. It is not by any stretch of the imagination hard science fiction, but it is a thoughtful and intelligent offering in its own way.

Famously (but very loosely) based on Shakespeare's "The Tempest", this is a movie where there are as many potential layers of meaning as you want to find. With Morbius cast as Prospero, and Prospero in turn very likely based on the Elizabethan magus Dr. John Dee, co-creator of the Enochian magical language, is it really a co-incidence that Morbius is himself a linguist?

There is much more that I'd like to say here, but I'm holding back for the sake of those who are not already familiar with the film. I don't want to give away any spoilers. For those who have seen the film, and who feel inclined towards such exercises, I'll just ask this: to whom - or what - would you assign the respective roles of Ariel and Caliban? How would you fit your answers in with the film's wider themes? And what do your answers suggest about how matter and spirit were respectively conceived in the minds of the Elizabethans versus the Americans of the 1950s? Just something to think about.

For those who haven't yet seen Forbidden Planet, I'd say first and foremost that this is a wonderful film that works perfectly well on the level of a straightforward adventure that a 10 year old could enjoy. As a piece of science fiction, I'd only stress that such depths as you will find are of philosophy more than science; although the classic technological themes of 1950s science fiction are played out in metaphorical form. Happily though, the reds under the bed/saucers in the sky metaphor that became such a cliché in so much of the science fiction of the day is nowhere to be found.

One thing I do want to add before moving on is that this movie is well worth seeing just for the set design alone. Whether you consider it classic or dated is up to you; but for myself I will simply say that never have I seen the visual lexicon of 1950s science fiction expressed more completely.

Okay then: so much for the film. How about the DVD? Well, I'm happy to say it's awesome! Picture quality is beautiful, and there are LOADS of extras, and really good ones too. We get heaps of period promotional material, including in depth behind the scenes stuff and even an extra bonus kids' movie that also used Robbie the Robot as a prop. Incidentally, because I have seen some reviews that I've written appear for editions or releases other than the one I originally wrote them for, let me stress that I'm writing all this about Forbidden Planet (Two-Disc Special Edition).

If you check out my reviewer profile, you'll see that I'm not one of those reviewers who hands out five star raves like candy. But if you have any interest at all in classic science fiction, this is a film that you MUST see. And if you're looking for the finest possible DVD release, to the best of my knowledge this is it.

Theo.
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on 16 August 2003
this is a fantastic piece of scifi art that was above and beyond the repertoire of its then day counterparts!
in an era when star trek hadnt even been a twinkle in gene roddenberry' eye, this masterpiece was and still is a first rate combination of artists impression and human escapism ideology, an alround worth while film that every cult scifi fanatic should be made to watch!!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 27 July 2007
As the previous reviewer said there isn't much more to be said. This is one of the greatest science fiction films ever made. Its even more remarkable for being over 50 years old now, as some of the special effects, if dated now, are good enough to make you think 'how the hell did they do that in 1956'? Remember no CGI at all.

Its influence on the original Star Trek series in terms of the story and the sets is clear for all to see: A long dead civilisation leaving behind a mind enhancing machine. An apparent Alien force that can't be seen. Sets made of polystyrene etc....

Quite a few important Science Fiction films were made in the 1950's, but this one stands head and shoulders above the rest. If you've never seen it you've missed an absolute classic.
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VINE VOICEon 16 June 2007
This is probably one of the very best Science Fiction films ever made. I saw it when it first appeared (I was quite young!) and was overwhelmed. It is, of course, firmly based in the American genre - hopeful, romantic, and `hero' based but it does have the underlying sense of the danger of technology that surfaces much more in British films of this genre (e.g. `The Day The Earth Caught Fire', etc). I think that it is the adult nature of the story, including the romance between the captain and Altara (and who wouldn't fall in love with Anne Francis dressed like that!) that make the film so enjoyable. I don't know about `The Tempest', my knowledge of Shakespeare doesn't stretch past the historical plays but the storyline, the dialogue, the acting, and the script lend a feeling of completeness to the whole thing.

As one reviewer states, it is well known that Star Trek has it's birth in this movie and, indeed, it is seminal in the genre. There are many `references' to the film in the original series.

Considering it's age it wears very well indeed. The special effects are obvious but still work and the sheer size of the ideas (the Krell power system for example) and the space ship itself are all well presented. Of course no review would be complete without comment on Robbie - surely a superb creation that fleshed (if that the right phrase) out the idea of a robot.

All in all a must for anyone who likes SF. Modern viewers should not compare the special effects with those available today but can wallow in the excellence mentioned above.
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VINE VOICEon 3 March 2006
In the 23 century a rescue ship is sent to the planet Altar to look for survivors of an earlier expatiation. They find nothing except an ominous voice warning them not to land. What would you do?
Notice that the investigating party is the captain, first officer, and medical doctor. Can your say Star Trek?
This movie has many plusses as both sociological (people like to compare this to Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”). Visual from the color of the sky to the accoutrements of Altiara (Anne Francis). The speculation on what would you do in this situation. And the introduction of Robby the robot who went on to be a star in other movies and a guest on many TV programs.
The movie was great I watch it over and again. However it made a major deviation from the book or the book by W.J. Stuart, also written in 1956, deviated from the movie.
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Forbidden Planet is a product of Hollywood's Sci-Fi mania of the '50s. That era produced plenty of substandard copycat films with low grade robots and dodgy aliens, but it's the pioneering films which inspired those copycats which have stood the test of time...

The United Planets Cruiser ship heads towards Altair IV to relieve the crew who are stationed there only to be told not to land as no assistance is required. Despite the warnings they follow their orders and disembark, what they discover is decidedly odd - the crew are dead other than Dr Mobius, his daughter, and of course Robbie the Robot who was to go on to be the biggest star from the film!

Hidden forces of seemingly extra-terrestrial origin start to murder the crew, they understand what must have happened to the previous colony there but there is no explanation as to what is actually happening and why Mobius has survived. Mobius seems to be involved somehow - even if he isn't aware of it. This gives the film a dark edge, but perhaps even darker are the suggestions that Mobius' daughter is at risk being an attractive young woman in the midst of a group of virile fit men.

The picture quality of this release is absolutely fantastic and does the film justice. The special effects in the film are impressive and although dated, many look better than modern CGI. The landscapes are beautifully stark and alien looking, this is something of a blueprint for decades of future Sci-Fi. This two disk release contains documentaries and a short film which tops of a fantastic DVD release, a classic film like this deserves a decent transfer and this DVD has been treated with the respect it deserves.

In a nutshell: A Sci-Fi film which has influenced so many other aspects of Sci-Fi since, and you can see why. It captures the zeitgeist of 1950's film and it has dated - but not badly. It still holds it's own against modern films and it established both the flying saucer and Robbie the Robot as solid cultural icons. Besides which - no other film has a Robot apologising for being late with the excuse "Sorry Miss. I was giving myself an oil-job", brilliant.
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on 13 July 2004
A brilliant film, of course, highly recommended. Just a word of warning though, this version has been blown up to 4:3 tv format from its original widescreen, so I was very disappointed as the picture is grainy and soft. But if its a great 'period' sci-fi flik you want, you can't do better, plenty of ham, suspense and scientific explanations.
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on 23 August 2010
Too many peple have already reviewed the film itself so I won't here. The 2 disc DVD package is excellent value for money. The main film is in original cinema wide screen which adds to the enjoyment. I played it on my cheap BlueRay player and the quality of picture is excellent. 5 stars for that. The extras are interesting and well worth watching. Not so 'The Invisable Boy' featuring Robby the robot. It doesn't even score as a 1950's B movie. I almost fell asleep. The plot is so badly concieved that a school child could have done better! The actual packaging of the DVD's is very basic so don't expect any literature with it beyond the fly sheet.
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