Back Catalog Review: Forbidden Planet

Forbidden Planet sets the stage for pretty much every sci-fi movie that followed it and manages to be its own thing in the process. It’s a heck of a historical document, matched by sci-fi greats like 2001 and Planet of the Apes which say as much about their own times as they do about the futuristic story they’re telling. This time its an invisible threat that originates from the depths of humanity with a heavy dose of psychoanalytic mumbo-jumbo to season the broth. This is a fun, pretty, smart-enough, and pretty well-paced movie, and I’m glad I watched it on a big tv so that I could admire the sets and painted elements in all their glory.

forbidden planet

I want to wrap up by comparing this a little to Stalker, the last movie I watched for this project. They’re surprisingly similar for being almost nothing alike. Where Stalker hides its sci-fi musings in some horror trappings, Forbidden Planet takes the opposite path and hides some horror elements inside a sci-fi story. You can see this happening most clearly in the scenes with the invisible monster, but it’s also evident in the “electronic tones” that comprise the score and the shifting disposition of the mad scientist-esque character played by Walter Pidgeon. Although it’s never particularly scary, it is fun to see the seeds of movies like Prometheus and Sphere planted in such colorful soil.

B+

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