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Forbidden Planet - Blu-ray Review

5 stars

Forbidden Planet - Blu-ray Review

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Star Wars and Star Trek are arguably the most influential and recognizable science fiction series in the world today. But their creators, like all creators, pulled their influences from other material, usually material they were exposed to in their formative years...

Would it surprise you to know that there is one science film in particular that is credited by nearly all of the most revered science fiction directors of today as their influence in making the classics we all know and love? Perhaps it wouldn’t be, if this film had the instantaneous recognition of those aforementioned hits. But the fact is almost 60 years ago a film, starring an actor that is nowadays better known as the star of incessant spoofs, did inspire all who would eventually give us: Star Wars, Close Encounters, Alien, Aliens, Star Trek and many, many others.

Forbidden Planet tells the story of ship and its crew sent to a distant world to investigate the fate of a prior crew sent to colonize it. When the ‘skipper’ (Leslie Nielson) and his crew land, they discover the entire crew—save a rather unwelcoming scientist, his attractive and socially oblivious daughter, and Robby the Robot—are long dead, with only vague explanations as to how they died. What isn’t vague is the news that the planet was once inhabited by aliens with superior technology and intellect, who have left their powerful wares intact. Also discovered quickly, is that there is another inhabitant; a vicious murderous entity that starts picking off the crew, one by one. It becomes the skipper’s mission to uncover all the truths, piece them together, and save himself and his men.

This is a spectacularly clever piece of writing that, in the best traditions of science fiction writing, uses a world in a far flung future to examine our own existence and flaws as we exist today. The way it is written, and the subtlety and care taken with its explorations, makes it as relevant in the 21st century as it was in the 1950s. The story’s focus is solely on the always compelling theme that despite our technologies, we are still human, with all the limitations that implies. Those expecting an action packed extravaganza might be disheartened. But for those who enjoy a little existential exploration along with their ray guns and aliens, it really doesn’t come any better than this.

While not in the same league as modern effects, the ones employ in this flick are on par with those of Wizard of Oz, another film that’s production was a long time ago but hasn’t lost its ability to immerse you in its design and disappear into its story. Direction, cinematography, sound design (very unique at the time), acting are all of the highest calibre.

This is a film that was played straight down the line, in an era where sensationalism and the preposterous littered genre pictures, usually in the B-Movie arenas. It was afforded an A-list budget at the time, treated seriously, lavishly constructed and executed, and it shows. It is little wonder the likes of Lucas, Spielberg, Roddenberry and others hail it as the forefather to all they strived to make in their own stories. For those who love the genre, and who love the work of the current crop of science fiction masters, this reviewer urges you to watch this masterpiece from a long gone decade, and spread the word: this film deserves to be remembered.

Component Grades
Blu-ray Disc
5 stars
Blu-ray Experience
5 stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - September 7, 2010
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Norwegian
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: Dolby Digital Mono; German: Dolby Digital Mono; Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono; Portuguese: Dolby Digital Mono
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)

Video quality doesn’t come much better than this. Film grain is preserved while detail and dimension are breathtakingly crisp. There are a few minor specks and lines throughout, but never often enough to detract. Colours are amazing and natural, especially the expansive stages and matte paintings­—they are depicted in detail never before seen for this flick on home video.

The DTS lossless soundtrack is an effective immersive piece of work, but don’t expect it to rival modern soundtracks (the original mono soundtrack is included).

Special features are generous to a fault. You even get a second movie (The Invisible Boy) which stars Robby the Robot; couple of great documentaries, one of which has all the aforementioned directors gushing over the flick. Great package.


Feature-length film:

  • The Invisible Boy (B&W, 480p, 1.78:1, Dolby Digital 2.0, 1:29:29)

TV Episodes:

  • Episode of The Thin Man entitled Robot Client (B&W, 480p, 1.78:1, Dolby Digital 2.0, 25:35)
  • Two excerpts from MGM Parade, episodes 27 (B&W, 480p, 1.78:1, Dolby Digital 2.0, 2:17) and 28 (B&W, 480p, 1.78:1, Dolby Digital 2.0, 3:59)


  • Watch the Skies!: Science Fiction, the 1950s, and Us (480p, 55:31)
  • Amazing! Exploring the Far Reaches of 'Forbidden Planet' (480p, 26:35)
  • Robby the Robot: Engineering a Sci-Fi Icon (480p, 13:45)

Deleted Scenes:

  • Deleted scenes (480p, 13:14)
  • Lost footage (480p, 9:22)


  • Forbidden Planet (480p, 3:41)
  • The Invisible Boy (480p, 2:31)


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