A starship crew investigates the disappearance of a deep space planet's colony, only to find a scientist with a dark secret is the only survivor.
Forbidden Planet (1956)
Directed by Fred M. Wilcox
Written by Cyril Hume
Starring Leslie Nielsen, Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis,
Warren Stevens, Jack Kelly, Richard Anderson, Earl Holliman
Based on the stage play The Tempest by William Shakespeare
Oscar Nominations - Best Visual Effects
Forbidden Planet is a 50's sci-fi classic that has aged surprisingly well, but has little to no story attached to it. Like many films of that decade, Forbidden Planet lacks any sort of significant plot or character development. This prevents the film from becoming anything more than a B-movie from a simpler time, when all audiences needed to enjoy a movie was a talking robot and a painted-on landscape.
The performances are not as memorable either, with Leslie Nielsen doing a serviceable job and proving that he is much better at comedic roles. Walter Pidgeon goes over-the-top with his role as the enigmatic Dr. Morbius, but by the end of the film you still know virtually nothing about him apart from his subconscious is causing all the trouble. Anne Francis was just plain annoying as Alta, the doctor's daughter. Her complete lack of human contact made her a consistent source of questions and ridiculous dialogue, as well as creating uncomfortable tension by the spaceship crew who repeatedly kept trying to teach her how to kiss.
This film probably turned heads at the time of its release, but apart from some decent special effects it has almost no substance. With Shakespeare's classic play The Tempest as a template, one would think adapting such an epic story to a sci-fi setting would result in a decent and memorable film. While Forbidden Planet has its moments of excitement, it fails to draw me in and ends up feeling like a patchwork quilt of various sci-fi cliches.