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FORBIDDEN PLANET, 1956
Movie Review

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FORBIDDEN PLANET,       MOVIE POSTERFORBIDDEN PLANET, 1956
Movie Reviews

directed by Fred M. Wilcox
Starring: Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Leslie Nielsen, Warren Stevens, Jack Kelly, Richard Anderson, Robert Dix
Review by Vinny Borocci


SYNOPSIS:

A starship crew goes to investigate the silence of a planet's colony only to find two survivors and a deadly secret that one of them has.

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REVIEW:

During the fifties and sixties, the Science-Fiction genre utilized robots as a function to enhance repetitious, visual types of imagery. While the genre maintained its primary target toward children with marginal, behavioral characteristics, the robots served to communicate technological advances developing within society.

In contrast to earlier films of this genre, Forbidden Planet, we can observe Robby the Robot, as having a very distinct personality. In addition, the film attempts to stimulate our imagination by using images of the distant and unpredictable future, in an attempt to express the unimaginable.

Throughout the film, we view a recurring theme of man of thought versus man of action. We see Dr. Morbius as an isolated intellectual on a distant planet who discovers the Krel (an advanced alien civilization) creating a machine from elusive and sophisticated mechanisms of the mind. As a result, we can relate Dr. Morbius’ intellect as a forerunner of societal problems, as was previously witnessed during the current time period with the atomic bomb. This image clashes with the views of the common man and their environment and further results in suspicion of things which challenge their experience and knowledge base.

At first, after landing on the planet in search for missing civilians, there is jealousy between the military men when they encounter Dr. Morbius’ daughter, Alta. At one point in the film, the captain orders Jerry to stay on base while he and the Doctor visit Dr. Morbius and Alta. As the film progresses, we see less tension among the men as they adhere to their personal jobs until they are subdued by military orders. We get an indication of this when the Captain apologizes to Jerry about the way he acted, while Jerry responds with, “Don’t worry skipper, she picked the right guy anyway.”

In looking at Robby, the Robot, we can see his overly confident personality during interactions with the other characters. At one point, Alta asks Robby to make her a dress with sapphires, while Robby modestly responds, “Will diamonds or emeralds do?” Also, when Cookie, one of the military men, finds out that Robby can brew Bourbon Whiskey, we can recognize Cookie’s amazement as incomprehensible. As Cookie is a young man who enjoys joking around and looking to get drunk, the interaction between Cookie and Robby serves to represent the desire to ignore our subconscious and resort to more basic desires. This element is reinforced when Robby presents Cookie with sixty gallons of bourbon which influences his actions and results in missing the

monster’s attack on the military base. In addition, Robby serves as a helper since he has inherited motherly qualities. These qualities are based on Morbius’ desire of needing a wife, although he is not willing to acknowledge this fact. These examples are representative of society’s struggle to recognize and accept the influences of technology. Morbius’ denial to admit this is a result of his Id, which ultimately reveals the significance of the Krel Machine.

In the film, Morbius describes the Krel Machine as “having no instrumental limit to what the machine can do.” It is reasonable and understandable to interpret this reference to an ideal world and godlike symbol. This creation which Morbius invented has many technological advances which promote godlike figures; however, he has not taken into account his own psychological limits and problems which are not controlled or repressed in his unconscious state. When the military men begin to interact with Alta, Morbius becomes jealous which is not an unusual reaction but the outcome is dangerous as his Id becomes destructive.. In the final analysis, the Krel Machine represents monsters from the Id.. As Morbius creates this higher stage of civilization, the monster is aroused and the machine has raised the stakes to kill his daughter due to his repressed state.

The film, in subtle terms, cleverly suggests that the increased presence and influence of technological advances in society create more problematic situations for the common man. In the final scene, when the Captain tells Alta about the nature of civilization, we can see the obvious tragic consequences of many problems that remain unresolved. As such, the film serves to raise our awareness of the impact of the unconscious technology, allowing the public to examine the negative and destructive elements.. With its shrewd construction and oblique craft, the film carries with it a powerful message. As a result, the film should not be overlooked.

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FORBIDDEN PLANET


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