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Forbidden Planet stars Leslie Nielsen as a heroic starship captain who finds the paradise planet Altair-IV, which is inhabited by Dr. Morbius and his daughter, the sole survivors of an earlier expedition. Morbius uncovered the secrets of the long-lost civilization that made Altair-IV a paradise — the same secrets that unknowingly destroyed the society

“Forbidden Planet”

Directed by Fred Wilcox

9 out of 10

Plain and simple- “Forbidden Planet” is an under appreciated sci-fi classic. It was directed by Fred Wilcox and stars Leslie Nielson (yes, Leslie Nielson from Naked Gun and Airplane!), Anne Francis and Walter Pidgeon. It is a film which is a marvel to behold on numerous levels. On the surface it is almost a sci-fi horror fable about a creature awakened from a deep slumber on another planet. The story involves a monster which is killing off crew members of a rescue party sent to investigate the disappearance of previous explorers. Upon finding only two survivors, Pidgeon and his daughter played sexily by Francis, the captain suspects that something about the ancient civilization of the planet is awry. There has been obvious comparisons to Shakespeare’s The Tempest, but the film digs deeper than that and explores the Greek intensity of the Id. Pidgeon’s character gives this feeling to the viewer because his sub conscious-mind that drives the creature.

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Leslie Nielson and Anne Francis have great chemistry. Their interactions with Robby the Robot (a very expensive prop for 1956) are wonderful to watch, as are the special effects that still look very polished to this day. “Forbidden Planet” also sports a cool electronic score done by Louis and Bebe Barron. It’s is a bit jarring at first but the beeps and boops mesh well with futuristic settings.

I remember having this film on VHS — then laserdisc and now blu ray — and the transfer is impeccable. It still holds up well and is very entertaining even for the most jaded sci-fi geek. The dialog is a bit corny and the pacing somewhat laborious at times. But I am nit picking. Catch it in widescreen if you can. And try not to provoke monsters from the Id.

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