Forbidden Planet (Fred M. Wilcox, 1956)
Put aside Georges Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, Forbidden Planet is hands down the most influential Sci-Fi film of all-time. Depicting for the first time human beings travelling in space in a vehicule they built and visiting a planet other than the Planet Earth. Staring Anne Francis, a very young Leslie Nielsen, Walter Pidgeon, Warren Stevens, and Robby the Robot.
In the 23rd Century, a spaceship gets to a planet that was explored twenty years before by a human expedition. Having not heard from them since they got there, the crew is warned to not land on the planet by Dr. Morbius (Pidgeon) the only survivor with his daughter (Francis) of the precedent crew who landed there twenty years ago. Despite being warned, Commander Adams (Nielsen) goes anyway and discovers a civilisation of Krell that Morbius was trying to hide from humanity for its own sake. The Krells were one million years ahead of humanity but their civilization was annihilated twenty centuries ago.
The special effects used in Forbidden Planet by Gillepsie were some of the most adavanced and they helped many productions to come. It was the first complete electronic score used in a movie. And finally, the last but not the least; Robby the Robot was more than just a prop, he was a supporting character of the story.
It was the 2001 : A Space Odyssey of the time if you think about it. It is about a civilization nowhere near humankind, much more evoluated, the sets were grandiose and the special effects were ahead of their time. I must get back to the sets because it sets the standard and the classic imagery of Sci-Fi. It was what it was accepted as the future and the Krell laboratories are impressive. In some way, I thought that the likes of Hergé and Edgar P. Jacobs must have been widely inspired by those outstandings effects of grandeur. When Hergé, creator of Tintin, made his Objectif Lune and On a marché sur la Lune (Objective Moon, We Walked on the Moon) he must have had this particular movie in his inspirations. Along with the colors and the storyline. As the viewer, I felt like I was five again and reading those classics of my childhood when I watched Forbidden Planet.
Its use of the theories of Jung have brought a depth I didn’t expect from this superb enterntainment. This review is tainted with positivism and on the other hand it is obviously very kitsch and artificial just like any Douglas Sirk color movie, but one a great story is told one must listen, watch, and enjoy.