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VINE VOICEon 19 June 2007
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!
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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.
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VINE VOICEon 31 March 2007
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!!

Highly recommended!
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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.
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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.
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This is my favourite sci-fi film of all time. It stands head & shoulders above the rest for its unique storyline and fine presentation. It is possibly best remembered for its 'non-human' hero, Robbie the Robot, who went on to make several more appearances in other films. All sci-fi films seem to have a monster running amok in them and Forbidden Planet has possibly the most dangerous monster of them all having been created by the unguarded thoughts of its human host, Dr. Morbios, and a fantastic machine, the only artefact remaining of a technologically advanced race of non-humans that destroyed themselves by their own creation, an invisible 'thought monster', that could call upon almost limitless power to achieve its goal, the destruction of its creator. The storyline is reminiscent of the Frankenstein story but more often likened to William Shakespeare's The Tempest. Sci-fi Gold, in its truest sense.
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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.
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Finally 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.
Also included - a tin box, The Invisible Boy film, and some postcards and a model "Robbie"
review image
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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.
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on 13 November 2016
I can remember watching this as a kid and, a bit like the old TV version of "Quatermass and the Pit", the concept of creatures we could not see (or had to see through the eyes of terrified people) really "scared the bejasus" out of me. The unseen enemy concept resurfaced most effectively as Jaws, many years later. It works just as well as the clown under the bed...

It would be easy for people of more tender years to imagine that this film is in no way as good as modern sci-fi, and certainly when stacked up against something like Avatar there's no comparison in the end print of the respective films. But the thing that makes films endure is the setting and the storytelling, and is why Forbidden Planet deserves a place on your shelf right alongside Avatar. The transfer to digital is great, although frankly I was looking less at the technical aspects and more at the story, but there are no technical flaws to detract from the experience. Sure, the military aspects are a bit hokey with the passage of time, the characters resemble stereotypical sailors a little too much these days, but most of us can put such considerations aside (as we also do with HG Wells' "The Time Machine") and just get on with following the story. If we're that distracted by period details then most of the moviemaker's canon is already lost to us anyway!

It's also a given that the SFX are dated every bit as much as they are for the early Star Trek series, but we have to appreciate that for the time they were more than cutting edge, and they certainly don't get in the way of the storytelling unless you really allow them to - and they still work.

When the spooky music starts up and the footprints begin approaching the ship I'm every bit as enthralled as when I was a kid. The rest of me has become older and more cynical, but this kind of thing thrills my imagination every time, and by the time the "creature" begins to threaten Morbius and his daughter (the love interest) I'm locked in to the narrative with no escape. Yes, the plot is fairly direct, but if you've never seen the film before then the twist is very real - provided you've been following it closely enough, and the ending somewhat bittersweet with the destruction of dreams and hopes, and also Morbius' good intentions. And all because... but let's leave that for the viewer.

A modern young audience needs to see these old classics with an open mind, overlooking the aspects that date such films at a technical level and look at the message instead. They are a reflection of the neuroses of the time, and the imaginations that were needed to see some glistening future that was just out of reach (moreso these days). They are grand visions from an earlier age, sure, but grand all the same. Classic sci-fi is very much a matter of personal taste, and a willingness to follow films originally made for an audience that was happy to follow a slower narrative and a slower suspenseful build-up.

Like all sci-fi, the less you judge the film as you're watching it, the happier you'll be.
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