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Forbidden Planet

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Forbidden Planet

Starring: Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis
Director: Fred McLeod Wilcox
Rated: G
RunTime: 98 Minutes
Release Date: March 1956
Genres: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Classic, Cult

*Also starring: Leslie Nielsen, Warren Stevens, Jack Kelly, Richard Anderson, Earl Holliman, George Wallace, James Drury

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Andrew Hicks review follows video review
2.  Dragan Antulov read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review

Review by Andrew Hicks
½ star out of 4

Among the ranks of 50's science-fiction movies, FORBIDDEN PLANET is considered to be one of the best, which makes me more determined than ever to stay away from the other ones. You can tell from the first minute what quality entertainment the movie holds, as a giant pie-plate flying saucer on a string flies by and the narrator tells us that, by the year 2200, space colonization will have spread out to other solar systems.

That's where Captain Adams (Leslie Nielson) and his crew come in. They've been sent out to check on a mission that hasn't been heard from in twenty years. And when they get to the atmosphere of this coincidentally Earth-like planet, a voice on the radio warns them to stay away. They don't, of course, landing the pie plate to find a giant robot waddling toward them. It's Robbie the Robot ("As Himself," the opening credits inform us), who looks like a giant jukebox with human legs. "Do you speak English?" Robbie asks them. "If not, I speak over 187 languages and their various dialects and subtexts." A stone-faced Nielson replies, "Colloquial English will do just fine, thank you."

Robbie leads them to his master, the morbid Dr. Morbius (Walter Pidgeon), the only inhabitant of the planet. Or is he? Out walks his beautiful daughter, Alta (Anne Francis), who was born during the one year timeframe before some mysterious, unseen force killed off all the colonists except for Pidgeon, who was "immune." Now he and his daughter are living with the robot, who does all the housework, can create any substance and has the strength to topple a house.

No, he's not a dangerous monster that's going to terrorize the crew (that comes later), he has a "built-in safety device" that prevents him from killing people. Morbius demonstrates by asking Nielson if he can borrow "that formidable-looking sidearm of yours" and ordering Robbie to shoot Nielson with it, an order the robot cannot compute. Seems like an amazing piece of machinery, right? But, as Morbius tells Nielson and his space crew, "Don't attribute feeling to him, gentlemen. Robbie is simply a tool." With no men on the island for Alta to chase after, you have to wonder if that last phrase has more than one meaning.

Don't think me a pervert, because we're given more than ample evidence that Alta is sex-starved. When she sees Nielson's men, she announces seductively, "You're lovely." And the feeling is more than mutual, as the Lieutenant replies, "From over here, the view looks like heaven," right in front of her father. (Lucky for him Morbius can't order the robot to shoot him with the formidable- looking sidearm.)

The subplot involving Alta's naivete involving men and the men's innate horniness involving her continues for a while, as the bad Lieutenant gets her to kiss him under the pretense that it's a healthy Earth custom, after which she says, "There must be something seriously the matter with me because I haven't noticed the least bit of stimulation," quite an ego blow to the poor Lieutenant.

It's Nielson she has the hots for, which she realizes after he chews her out for putting all his men in such a sorry state. "I am in command of eighteen competitively-selected, super-perfect physical specimens with an average age of 24.6 who have been locked up for 376 days," he bellows, ordering her to put on something a little less revealing. And apparently, it's not just the humans who are drawn to Alta. She has the wild animals under her control and even Robbie the Robot looks a little flustered after she calls him several times before he finally waddles in, apologizing for his tardiness by admitting, "I was giving myself an oil job." What a dipstick.

The movie continues with a predictable revelation -- the planet was once inhabited by an advanced race of people who perfected advanced technologies but were exterminated by that unseen force, which also attacks Nielson and his crew, who shoot back a few animated phasers at it. Throughout the movie, the music score buzzes with other-worldly music that makes even the cheapest Casio keyboards sound symphonic. The special effects are bad even for that time and you already know what the dialogue is like. Suffice it to say, the acting is just as laughable. Leslie Nielson is almost as funny in this serious role as SPY HARD and the NAKED GUN movies combined.

FORBIDDEN PLANET should be forbidden on this planet.

Copyright 1996 Andrew Hicks

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