We’re going to get in our spaceship and travel lightyears away from Earth to the ‘Forbidden Planet’ for today’s Throwback Thursday – a column where ScienceFiction.com takes a look at some of the great pieces of science fiction from the past.
‘Forbidden Planet’ was released in 1956 by MGM. Directed by Fred M. Wilcox (who also directed many “Lassie” adventures), the script was written by Cyril Hume. The film stars a dare-I-say swashbuckling Leslie Nielson along with Walter Pidgeon and Anne Francis.
Comparable to ‘The Tempest’, ‘Forbidden Planet’ opens aboard the United Planets Cruiser C57-D on a mission to the planet Altair IV to discover what happened to an expedition that took place 20 years earlier. Led by Commander John J. Adams (Nielson), the crew receives a transmission from Dr. Edward Morbius (Pidgeon) not to land on Altair IV. But gosh darn it, the crew (complete with a cook, mind you) decides to land anyway.
Adams meets Morbius in person, the only survivor from the expedition years earlier, along with his late wife. The two lived in Altair IV and had a daughter, Alta (Francis), who is now very grown up and very attracted to these hunky Earth men who just landed in her backyard.
After the C57-D is attacked one night, Adams and his crew confront Morbius only to learn that Morbius has been studying the Krell – an advanced native species of Altair IV who have gone extinct. Morbius shows Adams and the crew the Krell laboratory where he shows them a device called the Plastic Educator, a mechanism that is capable of increasing your mental capacity. However, as you might expect, with too much knowledge and too much power, disastrous consequences ensue.
‘(Forbidden Planet’ is your quintessential 1950’s science fiction movie. Some of the aspects of the movie were quite groundbreaking for its time. For example, it was one of the first science fiction movies to take place entirely not on Earth. Also, it was one of the first science fiction movies to include a robot as a character and not as a prop. I’m sure the robot population would be pleased to know that little tidbit. Finally, the film is one of the first pieces of cinema that has an entirely electronic score.
The beginning can feel a bit slow and a bit plotless, but it really picks up in its second half. It’s silly but enjoyable and a definite must-see for anyone looking to become more well-versed in the world of science fiction cinema. What do you think?