"In the final decade of the 21st Century, men and women in rocket-ships landed on the Moon. By 2200 AD, they had reached the other planets of our solar system. Almost at once, there followed the discovery of Hyper-Drive, through which the speed of light was first attained, and later greatly surpassed. And so at last, mankind began the conquest and colonization of deep space."
'Forbidden Planet' is what one might call a scifi classic, a camp/cult movie. This was the first time I saw it and I review this solely on how it affected me now. The fact that it is over 50 years old has nothing to do with the overall rating.
United Planets Starcruiser C-57D, captained by J.J Abrams, is sent to investigate what happened to the crew of Bellerophon, a ship that was sent to explore the Alpha Aquilae solar system. They disappeared 20 years ago, so I guess that the United Planets is as effective as our UN... But anywho... When the ship enters the planet of Altair IV, the captain is contacted from the surface by Morbius, a doctor of the missing crew. He insists that Abrams should not land because of their own safety and continue their ways. Abrams refuses and demands that Morbius gives him the grids for the landing spot. On the surface, the crew is greeted by Robby, a highly advanced robot, that takes the captain to Morbius. Abrams finds out that the crew of Bellerophon had died years ago. Morbius has spent the last two decades researching the advanced technology and culture of an ancient civilization created by a race called the Krell. Morbius has a 18 year old daughter that becomes interested of the younger men. At the same time that Morbius becomes afraid that his daughter would leave for Earth, the crew of C-57D are attacked by an unexplained force. What is the connection and can Abrams uncover the secrets that lie with Morbius and the Krell technology?
'Forbidden Planet' is a good film but it's a bit too slow for my taste. The action is almost limited to none and the film is also quite dialogue based. Most of the secrets are revealed thru long dialogues, leaving Captain Adams just listening without himself finding out the mysteries. Some scenes are very boring and left kinda in the open. The comic relief scenes with the crews cook getting some good ol' booze from the robot are also pretty lame.
First I thought that the film was a kids movie. The opening scene when you're looking at the actors, it feels as if they're holding their laughter. I was like "Ok, not to be taken seriously then." And then when they landed on the the planet, Robby the robot is greeting them. I found out that this "advanced" robot became quite popular later on in other movies and series. But when the mystery of the Krell starts coming out, the script goes all Freud and subconscious on you. It suddenly becomes intelligent and needs your full attention. In my opinion, the kids are already gone out playing with their toys and the grownups are thinking that this is kinda far fetched. I just didn't buy it. 80 minutes of the movie, it's all slowly developing and then in 5 minutes EVERYTHING is revealed. If I would've concentrated on the film more (I admit, I was noding of at one point), the mystery wouldn't have been such a mystery.
On a technical point of view, 'Forbidden Planet' is pretty functional. The matte paintings, set design are all good looking. The few special effects are, what I found out, made by Disney animators. The scenes set out in space are in my opinion one of the best looking in a film this old.
'Forbidden Planet' features an electronical score that nearly gave me a headache. It's just plain awful! I know that electronical "music" was a new thing back in the fifties but my oh my... Listen and be ready to cut yours ears off.
One dimensional characters (except Morbius), an awful score and a script that doesn't really know how to do it right. Three factors that result in me not liking it that much. But the fact that this film has influenced several other moviemakers and scifi creators, my hat goes off to the makers of 'Forbidden Planet'. Would've there been a 'Star Trek' series without this movie. Gene Roddenberry has said that this film influenced him quite a bit.
But to go back to the quote in the beginning of the movie. This film was released in 56, the Soviets launched a year later Sputnik on Earth's orbit and 13 years later Armstrong was presumably on the moon. If my calculations are correct, we should have had people on our outer planets.. yesterday? But to take the lame joke asside, the screenwriters had a good imagination on the hole thing. Space will be ours someday and these kind of films give our intelligent engineers ideas and spark to reach their dreams for the domination of the stars!
I'm out. Seriously. Out of ideas... And I think it's better for all of you.