Written By: Peter Casey
Published: Issue 26, Monday, October 2, 2000
I would like to address in this review a movie that was filmed in 1956. This particular motion picture is considered by some, myself included, to be the grand daddy of our own Star Trek. If you have seen this picture, you will understand why I make this claim. If you have not, I strongly urge you to procure a copy, for you will be in for a treat! You can order a copy at any video store. It was originally filmed by the MGM Studios, but now is owned by WB/Turner.
Movie: Forbidden Planet
Starring: Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Leslie Neilsen, Warren Stevens, Jack Kelly, Richard Anderson, Earl Holliman, and Robby the Robot.
Story overview: Our story takes place in 2252 AD. United Planets cruiser C 57 D is on a special mission to search for survivors from an expedition that has not been heard from for over 18 years. The destination is the fourth planet in the Altair system.
When they arrive, there are only two survivors left: Dr. Morbius and his daughter, Alteria (Pidgeon and Francis.) The rest of the expedition's members were literally torn limb from limb by a mysterious force, and the ship vaporized trying to lift off with the last three survivors. Morbius and his daughter decided to remain behind.
The crew, led by Commander John Adams (Neilsen), discovers a planet that was once populated by a race one million years more advanced than 23rd-century humans. These Alterians, called the Krell, disappeared literally overnight 200,000 Earth years ago. The only evidence of this is a single gigantic machine/power plant, if you will, that is 20 square miles in size!! No one has any idea what the purpose of this machine is, but it is still in perfect condition and functioning.
After Commander Adams insists that Morbius and his daughter return to Earth with news of this great find, the crew of his ship begin to be murdered, one by one, in the same fashion as that of the original expedition.
One amazing discovery after another, the movie culminates in a super battle between the crew and the "planetary force" that has been attacking them. What follows is one final amazing discovery and a heart-thumping climax.
Similarities to Star Trek: Though it will be best for you to view this splendid motion picture and draw your own conclusion, I will say there are many similarities. The commander and doctor's relationship. The transporter effect, though used for a different purpose, surely impacted Roddenberry's vision. The weapons systems bear close resemblance, though they are not an exact match. The opening credits and the manner in which the ship emerges from the star field are quite similar. I can go on...
Most importantly, the way the solution is derived at by clever deduction (thank you for that thought, Jason), smacks of Star Trek.
Let me be clear about my feelings regarding the similarities. I am in no way saying Star Trek was a direct result of Forbidden Planet's existence. What I am saying is great works influence great thinkers, just as the masters of classical music or the great artists influence today's musicians and artists.
My rating of this film: 9/10
Rating: Highly Recommended