Forbidden Planet


Forbidden Planet wasn’t the first science fiction film. It wasn’t the first film to feature flying saucers, robots, other planets,  or crazy space costumes. But it was the first science fiction film that a major studio actually put a lot of money in. And man can you tell. Shot in color, sprinkled with ornate sets and background designs, given lively animation, having actresses and actors that actually can act, and featuring an awesome robot, Forbidden Planet was to set the stage for future science fiction blockbusters. Without this film, science fiction would look completely different from what it does. Star Wars, Star Trek, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and countless other science fiction movies and television shows can trace their history back to this film. I always think what it must have been like to watch a monumental film in film history without knowing its influence. Imagine you were one of those people in the test screening for the film. Would have you known then that this film was going to start a trend, a fascination with science fiction? Supposedly the audience reacted so favorably to the film that they didn’t  even finish cutting the film or adding any additional score like there was supposed to be. So I guess people did know…

Forbidden Planet takes the Tempest story and places it in on another planet. A spaceship is tasked to investigate an exploratory commission that landed on a faraway planet twenty years ago. When they arrive, they find that everyone in the mission is dead except for a linguist and his daughter. The linguist seems to have made some significant discoveries including knowing how to build a complex robot named Robby. One of the best things about this film, Robby can create food from nowhere, speak in hundreds of different languages, drive a vehicle and show affection for his comrades. This is all due to the result of the linguist finding alien technology from a race that has died out several thousand centuries ago. But if this alien race died out several thousand centuries ago, who killed everyone on the mission except this man? Why is there a crazy invisible force present on the planet mucking everything up? The result is wilder than you think.

No expense was spared in making this film and you can really tell. The sky is painted this vibrant 50’s green. The technology in the film is huge, ornate, and intricate. Anne Francis’ costumes are gorgeous. The score which was the first completely electronic score ever produced gives an eerie feel to every aspect of the plot. In fact I think that score was my favorite part of the film. Every pulse, odd sound and intonation is a stroke of genius. If you have time, I would suggest you listen to just the soundtrack.

I don’t have much else to say about except that you should probably go see it. I only wish I had seen it on the big screen…

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