Friday, January 18, 2008

Quiet please. I am analyzing.

Forbidden Planet is a 1956 MGM/Warner Bros. release that features a number of Oscar-nominated special effects, groundbreaking use of an all-electronic music score, and the first screen appearance of both the famous Robby the Robot and the famous C-57D flying saucer starship. Inspired by Shakespeare's The Tempest, although the plot is very different, the film notable is its effective use of well designed sets and matte paintings.

In the early 2200s, the United Planets Cruiser C-57D is sent to the planet Altair IV, sixteen light-years from Earth, to determine what happened to the Bellerophon expedition some twenty years earlier. As they arrive, the crew detects an immense power source scanning the ship.

They are contacted by Dr. Edward Morbius, the Bellerophon's sole survivor (along with his daughter), who warns them to leave without providing any reason. Upon landing, they are met by Robby the Robot, who takes them to Morbius' home. Morbius explains that after the expedition's arrival, an unknown force wiped out everyone in his party and vaporized the Bellerophon. Only he, his wife (who later died of natural causes) and infant daughter survived. Morbius fears that the same fate may await the crew of the C-57D.
Commander Adams and his crew meet Morbius' daughter Altaira, who is now nineteen years old and has grown up bereft of the knowledge of any male except her father. Morbius informs them that he has been reconstructing the history of the Krell, the long-extinct natives of the planet, who had possessed a technology far in advance of that of the humans, but had all died 200,000 years before in one mysterious night of destruction. The crew are shown an intact & self-maintaining underground Krell laboratory, dubbed a "nursery", which includes a "plastic educator" brain-booster machine that resulted in the death of the captain of the Bellerophon. Morbius explains that his attempts to use the educator put him into a coma for almost two days, but also resulted in a significantly increased IQ, enabling him to build Robby the Robot and other inventions.
Following the mysterious murder of the Chief Engineer, and the deployment of perimeter security devices, the invisible intruder (dubbed a “chimera” by Dr. Ostrow) returns to the ship the following night, and is revealed by the energy neutron-particle-beam guns found to be a huge, roaring, leonine biped. The attack kills Lt. Farman, Science Officer Doherty and Gunner's Mate Ellis.
Commander Adams and Doc Ostrow go to confront Morbius, allowing Ostrow to use the Krell educator machine. However, before he dies from its effects, Ostrow gasps out that the machine creates monsters from the id; the true explanation for the extinction of the Krell, the death of the Bellerophon’s crew and now, the attacks which are being caused by Morbius himself.
Although Morbius' conscious mind was not strong enough to control the machine, his subconscious was and did. His deepest desire is simply to be left alone to study the Krell, and his subconscious is using the Machine to fulfill that wish. Ultimately, Altaira chooses to leave the planet with Commander Adams, despite the risks posed by this defiance of her father.In the climactic attack, the monster breaks into the Krell nursery to which they have fled. Morbius, finally accepting the awful truth, throws himself between the monster and his daughter. After he is mortally injured the monster instantaneously disappears. He directs Adams to put the Krell machine into overload to initiate the destruction of the planet, realizing that the machine is too dangerous to be used by any race that cannot fully control its subconscious desires. Altaira, Robbie, and the surviving crew members escape to a safe distance where they witness the destruction of the Altair IV, and then prepare for the trip to Earth.

Trivia: Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry has credited Forbidden Planet as being a major inspiration for his own classic sci-fi series. * The post title is a line said by Robby the Robot in the film.

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