Today we’ll discuss the classic movie “Forbidden Planet.”
The cast of the movie holds some interesting names. First off is Leslie Neilson if one of his dramatic roles. He plays the captain of the star ship involved. Walter Pidgeon, portrays Dr, Morbius and Anne Francis played Morbius’ daughter.
While this is a science fiction movie, it’s a retelling of ‘The Tempest’ by William Shakespeare. It starts off with Neilson’s ship popping from FTL and starting to approach a planet. Previously, a human expedition had visited the planet and then disappeared, so a second ship was sent to investigate. This is where things get interesting.
Only two people are alive on the planet when the crew disembarks. Morbius and his daughter Altaira. A third character, the robot ‘Robbie’ (one of the most famous robots in science fiction history) rounds out the survivors. Curious as to how Morbius and his daughter survived while the rest of the ship died, the Captain and Medical Officer investigate.
This is when strange things happen. Once night something enters the ship and steals a necessary part for the ship to operate-forcing them to jury rig a replacement. Morbius then warns then that the same pattern that happened before was starting again.
Next something invisible, only it’s footsteps being seen, slips through a security force field and then into the ship. It proceeds to kill Chief Quinn, the engineer, before disappearing.
The Captain proceeds to go to Morbius’ house and finds alien technology in the dear doctor’s office. Morbius has found evidence of a great civilization called the Krill, who inhabited the planet but died in one single night, leaving behind their great machines.
Morbius shows them the massive computer inside the planet and an ‘intelligence tester.’ He stops the Captain from using it by telling him that an officer from the first ship tried it and it was instantly fatal…chastised, Neilson backs off.
That night, a creature attacks the ship. It is invisible, moves on two feet and is terrifying to see. It kills several crew and continues to attack before the scene shifts to Morbius. The Doctor is in the testing room and every power gauge is lit up. Earlier he told the captain and doctor that each gauge was “ten times ten” and that there were fifty gauges. Altaira screams and he wakes up, and at the same time the monster disappears.
The Captain and Doctor pay an unannounced visit, with the intention of one of them making it to the machine to get an intelligence boost (something Morbius said earlier happened to him.) Doc manages to complete the task and before dying tells Neilson what was happening.
The Krill had created their greatest masterpiece: a machine that could create anything a Krill thought of. However, they forgot about the ID (or their subconscious in current terminology) and their base nature created monsters that killed the entire planet’s population in one night.
Armed with the knowledge, Neilson confronts Morbius and the ID monster starts to approach. Morbius orders Robbie to fight it, but the robot can’t because it knows the monster is part of Morbius-thus going against its programming.
The monster continues to come at them, fighting its way through the Krill metals until Morbius rejects it and receives a mortal wound. He tells the Captain how to destroy the planet and then dies.
The movie ends with the destruction of the planet and then the credits roll.
What makes this movie so interesting is the combination of psychology, Shakespeare and science fiction. Now, I could go on about this movie for an hour but I won’t bore you. Don’t let the ancient special effects fool you: behind it all is a very good story. If you have time, sit down and watch it and compare the plot and story with what comes out of Hollywood today. I’m betting you’ll find it to be superior.