Forbidden planet

I’ve recently watched the classic 1956 American science fiction film Forbidden Planet again. It stars Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis and Leslie Nielsen and is considered one of the greatest science fiction films of the 1950s which ultimatley inspired many modern Science fiction stories. The characters and isolated setting are similar to those in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

It takes place In the 23rd century, where the starship C-57D reaches the distant world Altair IV to determine the fate of an Earth expedition sent there 20 years earlier. Dr. Edward Morbius, one of the expedition’s scientists, unsuccessfully tries to persuade the relief ship not to land, saying he cannot guarantee their safety. Commander John J. Adams, Lieutenant Jerry Farman, and Lieutenant “Doc” Ostrow are met by Robby the Robot, who transports them to Morbius’ residence. Morbius describes how one by one the rest of the expedition was killed by an unknown planetary force that vaporized their starship, the Bellerophon, as the last survivors tried to lift off. Only Morbius, his wife (who later died of natural causes), and their daughter Altaira were somehow immune. Morbius offers to help them prepare for the return journey, but Adams says he must await further instructions from Earth.

However That night, an invisible intruder sabotages equipment aboard the starship. Adams and Ostrow confront Morbius the following morning wanting answers. Later Adams and Altaira are also attacked by a tiger, which had previously been tame in Altaira’s presence, Adams disintegrates the animal. Adams and Ostrow then learn Morbius has been studying the Krell, a highly advanced native race that perished overnight 200,000 years before. In a Krell laboratory Morbius shows them a “plastic educator”, a device capable of measuring and enhancing intellectual capacity. Morbius then takes them on a tour of a vast, 20 miles square, Krell underground machine complex, still functioning and powered by 9,200 thermonuclear reactors.

To prevent further sabotage, Adams orders a force field fence deployed around the starship. However It proves ineffective when the intruder returns and murders Chief Engineer Quinn. Morbius warns Adams that he has had a premonition of further deadly attacks, similar to what happened with the Bellerophon. That night, the invisible creature returns But the ship’s weapons have no effect, and it kills Farman and two others. Morbius, asleep in the Krell lab, is startled awake by screams from Altaira. Later, while Adams tries to persuade Altaira to leave, Ostrow sneaks away to use the Krell educator. Ostrow explains to Adams that the underground machine was built to materialize anything the Krell could imagine. He says that the Krell forgot one thing: “Monsters from the Id”. Adams asserts that Morbius’ subconscious mind created the creature that killed the members of the original expedition and attacked his crew; however Morbius refuses to accept this accusation.

Altaira then tells Morbius that she intends to leave with Adams and the creature reappears so Morbius commands the robot to kill it, however Robby knows the creature is a manifestation of Morbius and is unable to kill it (thanks to Asimov’s first Law of Robotics). So Adams, Altaira, and Morbius take refuge in the Krell Laboratory but the seemingly unstoppable rampaging monster pursues them until Morbius finally accepts the truth and confronts the creature himself….

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