Forbidden Planet Is Like Star Trek TOS 10 Years Before Star Trek TOS

I love the hooky special effects. I love the fact that human beings are flying around in what looks like a flying saucer. I love the matte paintings and the late 50s scifi sets that look like they would’ve been perfectly at home in Star Trek TOS if the show had had a bigger budget.

I love the mix of serious ethical debates and zany scifi that makes all of the dialogue such a journey. During a two-minute scene about midway through the movie, the captain punishes three crew members by depriving them of “space pay” and all privileges, yells at one of them who was asleep that he’ll “have less dreaming on this ship!” and then immediately jumps into a buddy-buddy conversation with his engineer, which ends up containing the priceless line, “Alright, so it’s impossible. How long will it take?” It’s a very familiar trope to any scifi fan, and hell, this may very well be patient zero for that trope. Either way, it made me genuinely chuckle in a way that few other instances of that trope ever have.

I do have to ask, the young cook who furtively asked if Robby the Robot was male or female: what’s his deal? Was he willing to fuck that boxy robot thing but only if it identified as female?

I also could’ve done with slightly more characterization for the ship’s crew members. And also for not every single one of them being a white dude, but it’s a 1950s scifi movie so I’m not getting that. The film also shows its age rather starkly when the captain slut shames Alta and blaming her for his crew being horny instead of expecting them to have a modicum of self control and professionalism. Not that there aren’t plenty of dudes who would (and do) exactly that today, mind.

Anyway, for the most part I fucking loved this movie. It has exactly the atmosphere I’ve always expected of 1950s scifi but rarely seen delivered. It’s pretty clear this was a major influence on Roddenberry. Either that, or I’m just easily pleased by media that includes yellow text credits with a starfield backdrop and a mixture of scifi silliness and serious grappling with ethics.

(Or both.)



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