BONES: THE COMPLETE EIGHTH SEAOSN
MOVIE: ***** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
This classic 1956 science fiction film set a new standard for outer space adventures. It follows the crew of a 25th century flying saucer from Earth as it searches for survivors from a previous mission, the doomed Bellerophon. They land on the beautiful planet Altair-4 to discover Dr. Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) as the only remaining crew member from before. Morbius has been living on the planet with his daughter and his robot (the now-famous Robby the Robot) in peace. But the new crew’s appearance threatens their safety when it causes the return of a mysterious and invisible beast that killed the crew of the Bellerophon.
WHAT I LIKED
Having been a science fiction fan from childhood, I have seen “Forbidden Planet” many times, both on home video and projected in the theater. It is a true classic of the genre, and so many films and television shows (including “Star Trek” and “Lost in Space”) have drawn from its influence over the years. Taking a look at the film, which is more than a half-century old, it still looks fantastic, and it still captures a sense of wonder.
So many aspects of the film stand the test of time. The effects, while dated, still look pretty spectacular. The set design and production design capture the era of 1950s science fiction perfectly. And the sense of foreboding that comes with the appearance of the Id Monster still is thrilling today.
And let’s not forget how influential cast member Robby the Robot was in this film. He was easily the most famous robot for two decades before he was trumped by the droids from “Star Wars.” Robby has had such a career, it’s nice to see his not-so-humble origins here.
If you’re a fan of science fiction, you’ll do yourself a favor and pick up this new Blu-ray, which is the best presentation you’re going to get outside of a restored 35mm projected print. “Forbidden Planet” was a widescreen movie when it was made, and it holds up in that need now. There’s a reason this film is called the granddaddy of all science fiction
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
If you want to get picky about “Forbidden Planet,” you can take shots at the overt 1950s artifacts of both plot and characters. Sure, there’s blatant explanation from Dr. Morbius. Sure, there’s a tissue-thin love story between his daughter and the captain of the spaceship. Sure, the message is clear with this not-so-subtle warning about human nature.
But such are the films from that era. Even with these dated elements, “Forbidden Planet” is still an awesome film.
All the features come from a previously released DVD, but they are still there in spades. There’s several deleted scenes accompanied by lost footage as well as excerpts from “The MGM Parade” featuring Walter Pidgeon introducing the film. Other smaller features include trailers for the film and its unofficial sequel.
And speaking of that unofficial sequel, “The Invisible Boy,” it is included in full on the Blu-ray. It’s not a great movie, but it’s neat to see where the legacy of Robby the Robot led. Additional Robby features include an episode of “The Thin Man” with him as a guest star and a documentary “Robby the Robot: Engineering a Sci-Fi Icon.”
Additional documentaries include TCM’s “Watch the Skies!: Science Fiction, the 1950s and Us” and “Amazing! Exploring the Far Reaches of Forbidden Planet.”
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Sci-fi fans the world over.