Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 2/27/98
1956 (1997) - MGM / UA
review by Bill Hunt,
editor of The Digital Bits
An outstanding SciFi classic. As innovative in its day as 2001
or Star Wars were years
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A/B/C+
Includes pan & scan, letterbox & 16x9, plus a trailer &
some nifty-looking menus.
Overall Rating: A-
I would have liked additional extras, but the full range of viewing
options makes it a winner.
98 mins, G, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced, pan &
scan, dual-sided, Snapper packaging, theatrical trailer, film-themed
menu screens, scene access (30 chapters), languages: English (DD
2.0) and French (DD 1.0), subtitles: English, French and Spanish,
The year is 2257, and United Planets Cruiser C57D is on a
years-long mission to planet Altair IV, to rescue the survivors of
an expedition that vanished there. When they arrive, Commander Adams
(played by Leslie Nielsen) and his crew discover that only the
mysterious Dr. Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) and his daughter (Anne
Francis) have survived. Yet despite seemingly dire circumstances,
Morbius has built a virtual paradise, with the assistance of his
futuristic servant, Robby the Robot. And when Adams informs Morbius
of his orders to collect them and return to Earth, an invisible
force begins attacking his crew. Morbius resists further, and Adams
and his men discover his shocking secret: alien technology of
unimaginable power, capable of advancing mankind beyond belief... or
destroying them entirely.
A science-fiction version of Shakespeare's The
Tempest, Forbidden Planet
is a landmark classic of the genre. Directed by Fred McLeod Wilcox
and filmed in spectacular CinemaScope, it had a tremendous influence
on nearly every SciFi film that followed. Pigeon is terrific as the
brilliant, but egomaniacal Dr. Morbius. And it's easy to forget,
that long before the Naked Gun
films, Leslie Nielson made quite a name for himself in serious
acting roles. With great special effects, innovative production
design, and an eerie electronic score, Forbidden
Planet is not to be missed.
One of the most exciting (and often overlooked) benefits of DVD, is
the way the format breathes new life into classic films. Most people
have only seen films like this on late-night TV or VHS. If that's
the case, prepare for a treat: the DVD version of Forbidden
Planet really shows its full glory. You have the option
of viewing the film in 2.35:1 letterbox on side A. Or flip the disc
over, and watch the full screen, pan & scan version on side B.
Best of all, the disc is enhanced for 16x9 displays, which is where
the film really stands out. The soundtrack is only in stereo, so
don't expect thrilling surround effects here. But the film's
all-electronic musical score was the first of its kind, and is
interesting in its own right. The disc has 30 chapters, and its
features are accessed via some really spiffy-looking graphic menus.
There's also mono sound in French and Spanish, subtitles in English,
French and Spanish, and a hilarious theatrical trailer as well (just
watch it and you'll see what I mean!). Total running time is 98
This disc is a real treat, and a good deal for about $20. Highly
recommended for fans of science-fiction and classic film alike.