The 1956 cult classic, Forbidden Planet, slots in at Rotten Tomatoes‘ #98 top-rated film, mostly for genuine fun reasons. By all means, this film is a classic “science fiction B” movie, that I was surprised to find on the list. Usually, one does not find “B movies” in a top rated list, but MGM’s tale of a nearly abandoned planet, a humorous robot, and a father that has inexplicably kept his daughter away from all human contact, makes it on to the tail end of the list.
The film follows an all men space crew (because women did not travel space in the future?), including a very young Leslie Nielsen, come across a colonized planet that needs basic surveillance. Once the crew arrives, they see that the once populated colony is now down to just two people, a Dr. Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) and his very sexy daughter (Anne Francis). Which is just crazy to me, because that means this young 19-year-old girl never knew anyone but her father, and that he hasn’t had any sort of sexual contact since his wife died. That is bull shit, and I do not believe for a second that humans at the cusp of the year 3000 have no more sexual drive. Because god damn if the space crew didn’t just drool over Francis’ character the minute they saw her in her short dresses. So I just feel all sorts of wrong thinking about that Norman/Norma Bates relationship. With one soft breeze, that girl’s special garden would be seen by anybody within a mile distance from her.
Overall, the film certainly holds up, but at the same time, gives you a wonderful time portal back to what filming science fiction was like in the 1950s. There are some excellent bleeds, cut-tos, and transitions that will have any movie buff cracking up at this stone-age filming technique.
When I set out to watch all these films, I didn’t know that I would also be commenting on their cast choices, specifically when it comes to women, or the lack there of women on the screen. Now that I have made it 3 movies in, I begin to ponder how films that are so highly rated have so little to do with women. If I can remember I’ll mention how many women characters and how decent their role is in each one of these films. The character Altaira Morbius is basically there for sex appeal, sex jokes, and the robbing of sexual innocence. Oh and then she’s basically the cause of the invisible monster going completely ape shit during the climax that eventually leads to not only the destruction of her father, but also the entire damn planet. Like the fuck Altaira, stop wearing such tight clothing.
Do you need to see this movie before your life is eradicated by an invisible monster made up of a lonely, yet power driven old man’s ID? No you don’t, but it is one of those movies you could watch on a rainy day with your buddies with a few drinks or blunts. Without some form of inebriation, I am unsure of how much of your attention span would go towards the movie when Altaira is off screen.
Top 100 worthy? No. Did the film make giant strides in the scifi genre of movie making? Probably. I would assume so.